A few months ago I was researching female pitmasters for a blog post I was writing (“Barbecue Pitmavens”). My primary focus for that piece was women who have been significant participants on the competitive BBQ circuit and have been caterers, restaurateurs or moved into the world of media and tv—essentially highlighting women who have been excelling in the male-dominated pits.
I came across a young woman who didn’t necessarily fit my criteria for that piece, but has made an impact on women in barbecue and grilling nonetheless.
Her name is Robyn Lindars, and while her professional background had focused on social analytics and sales, she got onto the grilling scene about six years ago and hasn’t looked back. Lindars, aka “Grill Girl,” describes herself as a “fire-obsessed foodie” who embraces her south Florida locale—something that’s evident in many of her recipes. She competes with her dad at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Contest (team Too Sauced to Pork), and she created and runs the Grill Girl: Adventures of a Girl on the Grill blog. Lindars also teaches Women’s Grilling Clinics in south Florida, supporting her mission to “encourage women to learn to grill, as it’s a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen.”
Additional accomplishments for Lindars include: cookbook author (Meal on the Grill); trained Florida BBQ Association judge; appearances on television such as the Today Show, judge on Travel Channel’s American Grilled, and competitor on Food Channel’s Chopped Grill Masters. As for publications, she has had recipes featured in The Huffington Post, Esquire, Women’s Health, Fine Cooking, and USA Today (to name a few) and is a regular contributor to BBQ America, Grilled Magazine and Kingsford’s grilling.com. She balances all of this along with a husband, an infant son, and two dogs. And speaking of dogs, Lindars is an ardent advocate for animal rescue and the well-being of animals.
With everything this over-achiever has done thus far (I mean that playfully, of course…and a little enviously), she is also a really nice person. I can say that because when I approached her for this interview, she quickly agreed to do it—despite juggling a newborn and other obligations she had going on at that time.
The Girl on the Grill
Robin Lindars has an enthusiasm for all things cooked with fire, from meat and fish to salads and desserts…as well as cocktails. She has a keen knack for creating recipes that incorporate her nine (yes, nine) grills, resulting in healthy and satisfying food.
Grate Bites: With a background in digital media and social analytics, how did you get into barbecue and recipe development?
Robyn Lindars: I have a journalism degree and have always loved to write. But my other passion is cooking. While I was working for a newswire in 2008, Social Media was this new thing that came on the scene. One night after a few glasses of wine, I decided to start a blog and try out all of these SEO concepts on myself that I had learned at my job. In essence my blog was a way for me to document different recipes I tried that had turned out well…so I could remember what I did. Not much later I bought my then-boyfriend (he is now my husband) a Weber Genesis and essentially I pretty much took over his grill when I discovered how much fun grilling was….
GB: What was your big break into national media (such as becoming a blogger for Kingsford’s grilling.com, appearances on television, writing for major publications)?
RL: My first big break into national media was for the Cooking Channel, a show called Food(ography), where they document the history of a certain type of food. They filmed me and my women’s grilling clinic as the current state of grilling—ie, women embracing the grill.
GB: What type of training or experiences with barbecue and cooking have you had? (I understand you are a trained FBA BBQ judge and that you are part of your dad’s team at the Memphis in May BBQ Championship)
RL: I am not formally trained, I am just a Southerner from a family of foodies. In essence, in my family we love to cook and eat. I have taken a ton of cooking classes—and read cookbooks instead of novels for pleasure—so I consider myself a perpetual student of food and cooking. I do compete on a team at Memphis in May (Superbowl of Swine) but consider myself a food journalist; I try to embrace new trends and push the envelope with techniques and flavor profiles and if they turn out, you will read about them on my blog. Really I’m a food adventurist.
GB: I recently posted a piece on the women in BBQ, particularly those in the competitive circuit for a while, who have somewhat broken the glass ceiling. Can you explain your conception of “Grill Girl’s Women’s Grilling Clinics,” which encourage (and empower) women to grill?
RL: When I got into grilling, I was surprised at how easy it was and why more females weren’t embracing grilling—which is why I started doing clinics: to show other women that grilling is a great way to add a ton of flavor, eat healthy and it creates a LOT less dishes! I found that a lot of women were intimidated about starting a grill [so they] usually left the grilling to their boyfriends or husbands. In my classes we cover the basics, such as how to start a gas or charcoal grill, and then we cook all kinds of things on the grill, including salads and desserts. I’ve found that most women who embrace grilling are a lot more creative than the guys when they get into it. Once the intimidation factor is out of the way, the creativity soars!
GB: What do you envision for the future? Another cookbook? Nationwide women’s grilling clinics?
RL: I’m working on some tv stuff right now (can’t disclose with who yet but fingers crossed it pans out) and I’m about to do some digital work for the Youtube Channel My Country Nation in partnership with Kingsford Charcoal. My biggest goal is to continue to grow and learn in my career. Lately my biggest project is my son Hunter, who is almost 3 months old today! He has already smoked his first brisket and pork belly. If he grows up to be a vegetarian or picky eater I will be devastated. 🙂
I asked her to recommend a few of her favorites. She loves chicken wings as well as cocktails (with some component grilled), and states these are all super easy to make. Links to the recipes are in the title. Many more recipes can be found on her site as well as in her e-book, Meal on the Grill.
A little bit of heat (Caribbean hot sauce), a little bit of sweet (coconut milk)
The grilled fruit caramelizes and gets a flavorful char; as they are heated, they become more juicy
Perfect for all those ripe summer tomatoes you’ve been picking
Women’s Grilling Clinic