Today, on International Women’s Day, we want to recognize the amazing women of the BBQ and grilling world. Many of them are wives, mothers and career women, but most importantly, they are trailblazers, innovators and deliciously inspiring to all who know them.
AMY MILLS TUNNICLIFFE
Amy is the daughter of BBQ legend and champion pitmaster, the late Mike Mills.
In addition to co-authoring award-winning cookbooks (Peace, Love and Barbecue and Praise the Lard), Amy is a television personality, marketing pro and runs her own barbecue consulting company, OnCue Consulting.
The BBQ heiress spends her time at barbecue destinations across the country, sharing her knowledge and experience with restaurants and barbecuers.
To learn more about Amy Mills, visit 17th Street Barbecue.
Brooke is the Co-owner of Mississippi’s The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint, which she opened with her brother Brad at the age of 19. For her savvy business acumen, Brooke was named one of the Top 50 Business Women in Mississippi and one of the Top 10 Business Leaders Under 40.
But beyond a successful restaurant, Brooke and the rest of The Shed team have earned their bragging rights on the BBQ circuit as 2018 and 2015 Memphis in May World Grand Champions, as well as the 2014 and 2015 World Food Championship 1st place Brisket winners, and five time winners of the Kingsford Tour of Champions.
To learn more about Brooke and The Shed, click here.
Christie is editor and publisher of GirlsCanGrill.com, launched in 2015 and dedicated to “sharing grilling tips and recipes to encourage more people get outside and grill”.
She is a certified KCBS judge and pitmaster of the KCBS Team, Girls Can Grill.
Christie shares that her early attempts at BBQ were awful. But thanks to some celebrity inspiration, as well as a patient father-in-law who took her under his wing, she was able to develop her own style and quickly realized grilling had become her life. And it shows – she is now an award winning pitmaster teaching others her passion.
To learn more about Christie, visit GirlsCanGrill.com.
aka DIVA Q
Canadian born Diva Q was first exposed to BBQ when traveling on vacation with her parents on I-75 from Canada to Florida. She explains that they would often make pit stops in the southern states at various BBQ joints.
Her first experience judging a BBQ contest was in 2006 and just a few days later she purchased her first “smoker-thingy”. Thus started her love affair with all things BBQ. She started traveling all over the US to learn BBQ, and ironically enough, these days she’s traveling all over the US to teach people all about BBQ. And it’s no secret why she’s in such high demand….
With over 400 awards under her belt, including 20 grand championships and 29 perfect scores, Diva Q is clearly doing something right.
She partners with several companies including Traeger and has been featured on Food Network, TLC, A&E and the Travel Channel. Her love of BBQ and grilling is contagious, and as Diva says, “BBQ isn’t just about nourishing your body. It’s nourishing your soul.”
To learn more about Diva Q, visit DivaQ.ca.
North Carolina native, Elizabeth Karmel (aka Grill Girl) has 25+ years of experience with all things grilling, BBQ and southern food. She shares that wealth of knowledge with others via her company, Karmel Culinary Consultants, the columns that she writes for the AP and her various appearances on shows like Good Morning America, the Today Show and more.
Additionally, she has been a guest judge on Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay and Iron Chef.
Elizabeth has been named a Top 100 Chef in Saveur Magazine and is the Founding Executive Chef of Hill Country BBQ Market, in NYC, Brooklyn and Washington, DC, and NYC and Brooklyn’s Hill Country Chicken. The restaurant even received 2 Stars and a glowing review from the NY times back in 2012.
To learn more about Elizabeth, visit ElizabethKarmel.com.
Now known as the “Hardcore Carnivore” – Jess admits her career didn’t start out that way. Once intimidated by the selection at the meat counter, she set out to change that, spending years learning all about meat, specifically beef. She now prides herself on teaching others about meat science, live fire cooking and how to cook the perfect steak.
She took her love for live-fire cooking one step further and co-founded the Australasian Barbecue Alliance. She’s also made several appearances on TV, has judged numerous BBQ competitions and has been a guest speaker at SXSW, Texas A&M and the American Meat Science Association conference.
Jess has also developed her own line of spices, released a cookbook and designed a smoker!
To learn more about Jess, visit JessPryles.com.
LEE ANN WHIPPEN
Her Facebook profile simply states:
“Food Network’s Master of ‘Cue, World Champion Pitmaster, Pig Powder Connoisseur & Queen of BBQ”
Lee Ann Whippen is a 23-year barbecue competitor, and the managing partner and pitmaster at Deviled Pig in Tampa. She is a judge in the Kansas City Barbecue Society, a past world and national barbecue champion. She’s also won multiple state championships. Lee Ann has been on BBQ Pitmasters and Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Chopped.
To learn more about Lee Ann, follow her on Facebook.
Lisa is a mother of 4, self-taught home chef and former FedEx executive who turned her passion into a paycheck…and a big one. In 2018 Lisa cooked the winning steak recipe at the 2018 World Food Championships and took home the $100,000 grand prize.
She and her husband Russell travel together, cooking and competing all over the country, as well as at their very own home studios where they have incredible indoor and outdoor kitchens. You can see some of the couple’s creations by visiting LisasFamilyTable.com for their recipes, videos, and blogs – all shared for the purpose of making cooking more approachable for the masses.
If you’re interested in taking a piece of that $100K-winning-steak-magic home, you can purchase her spices and rubs gift set from GrillGrate.com.
After spending 10 years in the legal field, Lu put her efforts behind Croix Valley Foods to manufacture and market the award-winning product line full time. Together with Damon, Lu formed the Croix Valley Sauces Competition Cooking Team, where her mastery of the art of barbecue thrust her into the arena of competition cooking.
As an avid food sport competitor, Lu has won numerous awards nation-wide in professional cooking competitions, including Kansas City Barbeque Society competitions, Steak Cookoff Association contests, Culinary Fight Club events and the World Food Championships. Lu has been found competing on television programs such as Food Network’s “Family Food Showdown”, “BBQ Brawl” and “Guy’s Grocery Games”.
To learn more about Lu, visit CroixValleyFoods.com.
Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Melissa Cookston is a trailblazing female food entrepreneur.
Cookston is a 7-time world barbecue champion; owner of Memphis BBQ Company, a barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi and Dunwoody, Georgia; an author of two cookbooks, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South;” and a celebrated southern Delta chef.
Recognized nationally from many appearances on national news and talk shows as well as cooking shows and Food Network, Cookston served as a judge on season 4 of Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters,” and was named one of America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and personalities by Fox News. Cookston is sponsored by Prairie Fresh and is a frequent contributor to Prairie Fresh communications and marketing efforts.
To learn more about Melissa, visit MelissaCookston.com.
Robyn Lindars is the “Grill Girl” behind GrillGirl.com, newly launched “Grill Girl” Magazine, and the cookbook “Healthy Electric Smoker – 100 recipes with all natural ingredients and fewer carbs”.
Robyn is a Certified Steak Judge and dabbles in Competition BBQ with her Dad on the Award-Winning Shed Competition BBQ Team.
She’s been featured on Chopped, The Today Show and the Cooking Channel. Robyn’s goal is to inspire more Women to learn the fun of cooking outdoors which is why she is hosting her next Women’s Grilling clinic on her ranch this October 22nd.
RYLEE WRIGHT, aka STEAK PRINCESS
Even though Riley might be the youngest griller featured on our list, she certainly holds her own in a world of grilling GREATS.
At just 14 years old she competes in the Steak Cookoff Association where she won the first ever ladies steak cookoff and is the first female to ever win two steak cookoffs in the same day.
She also competes in the backyard division of the KCBS.
Susie started her journey in 2005 when she began her own education in grilling. 15+ years later, she still keeps that earlier version of herself in mind when she sits down to write a recipe for the Hey Grill Hey website, that now boasts over 2 million views a month.
The passion project turned full-time-family-business aims to “make delicious food on the grill accessible to everyone”. In addition to HUNDREDS of recipes, now offers a full line of rubs, sauces and grilling gadgets.
Susie has appeared on the Food Network in a handful of shows, taught BBQ classes, judged BBQ competitions and even set TWO separate world records.
To learn more about Susie and her amazing team, visit HeyGrillHey.com.
Tina is one of GrillGrate’s own Guest Chefs who we have had the pleasure of cooking with on several occasions, both at her home and here in the GrillGrate test kitchen.
As classically trained chef, a day with Tina comes with a wealth of culinary tips and tricks (and many laughs) that make cooking with her even more fun and enjoyable.
She’s been featured on the Travel Channel, Destination America and even Netflix. She is a World Food Champion, American BBQ Showdown Champion and Georgia State Champion.
Tina has spent countless hours giving back to her local community cooking for her local Meals on Wheels program.
She’s recently launched one of the most unique and flavorful spice blends we’ve ever had, inspired by the aromatics of the spice shops she visited in Paris. You can get it here on GrillGrate.com.
To learn more about Tina, and check out some of her delicious recipes, visit TinaCannonCooks.com.
Do you know an amazing woman at the grill that we should be working with? Send me an email at Meagan@grillgrate.com and tell me about her!
GrillGrate. Eat Well. Get More Women Grilling!