Check out these nine women of barbecue who are tearing apart the stereotype that guys are better pitmasters! Let’s give the floor to today’s top female grillers.
Mastering the grill is an art form
Grilling is one of the most exciting cooking skills to master. There’s something special about grilling food over flames to juicy, tender perfection, and the BBQ is incredibly versatile, good for everything from roasting to baking if you have the right tools and knowledge.
Some of the most exciting grill masters on the scene are women. They’ve turned the notion that grilling is a man’s job on its head, serving up delicious food with a deft, skilled touch.
Follow these women online or on social media, and you’ll gain a lot of grilling wisdom, whether you’re an expert or just learning how to grill. Here are some of the top female BBQers you definitely want to follow:
The grande dame of Southern barbecue, Helen Turner has given her heart and soul (and her name) to Helen’s Bar BQ. Turner’s Brownsville, TN restaurant is legendary among BBQ aficionados for her pulled pork, Polish sausage, ribs, and BBQ bologna.
All of those meals are smoked with oak and hickory and can be slathered in her one-of-a-kind sauce. There’s no website for her restaurant—but with its world-famous reputation, it doesn’t need one.
Top female grillers include Christie Vanover
As the brains behind GirlsCanGrill.com puts it, she is “forever hovering over a grill, smoker, or campfire with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.” A BBQ competition veteran, Vanover didn’t start grilling until she was in her 20s, learning Southern-style BBQ from her father-in-law.
Her actions show her desire to help more women to feel comfortable working a grill. Her website and social channels are a lively spot where everyone can learn some new grilling tricks.
Don’t visit Kita Roberts’ food blog, Girl Carnivore, on an empty stomach. That’s because the recipes there include Smoked Chicken Chilaquiles, Short Rib Burgers with Lemongrass and Fennel Slaw, and Bacon-Wrapped Beer Brats, among many, many others.
Between the photos and recipe descriptions, you will likely be salivating and raring to fire up your own grill. When she’s not cooking, Roberts is traveling the world, and those global influences frequently wind up in her recipes.
If you’re looking to learn more about grills, stop by Robyn Lindars’ site, GrillGirl.com. She loves cooking over fire. In fact, she says she usually has about 10 grills in her backyard, so make sure to check out the review section of her site.
Another must for anyone just starting out: her video series of Grill School Classes that will have you moving up the list of top female grillers. She’s also shared her grilling know-how on TV.
You’d be remiss not to check out her cookbook “Healthy Electric Smoker—100 Recipes with All Natural Ingredients and Fewer Carbs.” It’s great to learn how she developed recipes for brands like Land O’Lakes and Walmart.
Yes, grilling can be healthy, as this BBQ list shows!
Deborah and Mary Jones
For these sisters, BBQ is in their blood. Their dad, Leavy B. Jones Sr., taught them to cook as young girls. Now, Deborah “Shorty” and Mary “Little” Jones run the show at their beloved Kansas City, KS restaurant, Jones Bar-B-Q.
Customers flock there to savor their specialty, succulent smoked meats doused in the family’s secret recipe sauce. What is you don’t live in Kansas City? Not a problem: You can order a bottle of their signature BBQ sauce conveniently online.
More top female grillers: Elizabeth Karmel
The “Grill Girl” proves that BBQ isn’t a boys’ club. Elizabeth Karmel’s website, GirlsattheGrill.com, is a fantastic resource for everyone, from beginners to experts.
You’ll find everything from safety basics to the secrets of achieving perfect caramelization. At her website ElizabethKarmel.com, you’ll discover an amazing variety of recipes, from the classic (Bubba’s Bunch Barbecued Baby Back Ribs) to the unique (Fire-Roasted Tomato and Veggie Chili cooked over indirect medium heat on a grill).
And if you love dessert, her Grilled Banana Split Sundae is one to try out. Her inventiveness and expertise make her a worthy BBQ role model.
As a child, Danielle Bennet unknowingly was prepping to become one of the top female grillers when her family would make regular stops for Southern barbecue during road trips to Florida. Now, this Canadian lives in the US, and she still travels frequently. When Bennet travels, she spreads the BBQ gospel through her brand, Diva Q.
When she’s not winning BBQ competitions, she’s judging them. She had her own show on the Travel Channel, “BBQ Crawl,” and wrote a cookbook, “Diva Q’s Barbecue.”
The top female grillers finale is Melissa Cookston
Billed as the “Winningest Woman in Barbecue,” the seven-time world champion shares her talents with appreciative diners at her Memphis Barbecue Co. restaurants, with locations in Georgia and Mississippi. Known for her two cookbooks and numerous TV appearances, Cookston is recognized as one of America’s premier grilling experts.
Are you the griller in the family? What are some of your fave recipes on the grill?