Barbecue has a feminine side that’s just as bold and saucy as its dominating masculine counterpart. For the last few decades, four women have fired up the world of barbecue and earned their peers’ respect and admiration for their contributions and relentless drive to turn up the heat.
Carolyn Wells, Executive Director and Founder of the Kansas City Barbeque Society
Wells started her career with a barbecue sauce company, then joined the competitive circuit in the 1970s, took the top spot in the ribs category of the American Royal competition in 1982 and decided to start her own barbecue society. Today, the Kansas City Barbeque Society sets the rules for nearly 500 barbecue competitions and has over 21,000 members.
Ask about her favorite ‘cue and she’ll say pulled pork, with ribs as a close second.
Karen Adler, Publisher and Author at Pig Out Publications
Karen’s fascination with barbecue began when her father would bring home thin-sliced meat from Benny’s Bar-B-Q in Kansas City. She started Pig Out Publications in 1988 and published her first book called The Passion of BBQ. With over 250 cookbooks published to-date, she is a force to be reckoned with in the world of ‘cue-ing.
Amy Mills Tunnicliffe, Author, Consultant and Barbecue Heiress at 17th Street Barbecue
Like Adler, Mills caught the BBQ bug from her father. As a bar owner, Mike Mills started smoking BBQ in an effort to sell more drinks. However, his newfound interest led to the creation of the best barbecue in Illinois.
Amy studied journalism, worked in marketing, and then dove into the world of ‘cue-ing with cookbooks, in-demand cooking classes, and consulting for brands like Cattleman’s and French’s mustard. Along the way, she developed a killer ribs specialty.
On the day of competition, she starts smoking ribs at 4 a.m. on low heat for nearly six hours. Mills says “Patience and letting the ribs tenderize in the pit is what makes them taste best.”
Lisa Richards, Founder and BBQ Queen at CowgirlQ
No list of female BBQ masters would be complete without Richards. Her favorite memory of BBQ is learning how to grill from her father when she was just nine years old. Since then, she’s picked up flavors from around the world and crafted truly irresistible BBQ recipes, to the delight of CowgirlQ’s wildly-satisfied customers.