Sue Stoneman

Many of you will know Sue already, always smiling and encouraging. She creates amazing meals and THE best desserts I’ve seen cooked on a BBQ. Sue is a model ambassador to Angus and Oink, Big K and is also a member of the Kamado Joe fire squad. A quick look at her Instagram page and it not hard to see why. With an absolute arsenal of BBQs and grills Sue is one of the most versatile cooks I know, enjoy!

What is your favourite cook or meal?

My favourite cook is a cote de bouef, cooked indirect then given a hot sear on the coals. A few veg. It would have to be followed by something sweet, chocolate brownies or a pavlova.

What is your “go to” quick cook?

Kebabs and flatbreads – chicken thighs marinated in yoghurt, lemon juice and A&O Tandoori tikka gold, with homemade flatbreads. serve with salad & slaw, super quick to prepare, cook and eat – and thrifty too!

What is your favourite BBQ rub?

I have many favourite rubs – will have to be an Angus and Oink rub. I met Scott & Malissa from Angus and Oink many years ago when they just started out and bought a few back then – dirty cow sprinkled into my minced beef made the best burgers. I then sold them in my shop. A few years later – now an ambassador – I have over 40 rubs in my kitchen – all very good. I use them not just for bbq, but for spicing up my hob & oven cooks when I use my indoor oven!

What grills or bbqs do you cook on?

I have a few!

I bought my first kamado joe classic 7 years ago and fell in love with it.

I have had a kamado joe junior now for about 4 years. A recent addition to my #teamred & now member of kamado joe firesquad I have a kettle joe to add to my reds.

Thuros t1 and s1 – tabletop smoker

Kadai firepit

PK original

Gozney roccbox

Alfresco chef ember


Kadai firebowl

Hofats cone and beer box

several others in my shed which are for camping – new and unused which don’t come out very often!

Where is your preferred place to get your meat?

The butchers at Darts farm, topsham, Devon. Excellent quality and I've got to know them very well. Always helpful and I pass it on my way home from work so always popping in for meaty treats


How long have you been cooking and what got you into it?

My dad loved to bbq and I know why he enjoyed it. There is something about cooking and eating outside, sharing food with friends.

I’m a home cook, and a bit of a foodie, love to cook for family and friends, and also like bbqing. I went on a ‘build and bake’ day at river cottage (hugh Fw) and learnt how to build a wood fired oven out of clay and sand and spent the afternoon in the cookery school making bread. I went with my son, came home with the book of words – 2 years later, got a builder in to build the plinth, and I built the oven. Christened it for a big birthday with a pizza and prosecco party. That’s over 7 years old now and in need of much tlc – the ants have invaded it and it’s starting to disintegrate. I would love to replace it with a more permanent WFO – it’s on my list to maybe cover it over and make it into an outside barn/eating area. But I have other bbqs I can cook pizzas in so no hurry for that. I do love cooking in the residual heat of it though.

What is your biggest cooking failure?

I was doing a demonstration at a chefs forum event on the kamado joes and making a chocolate brownie in a junior. I couldn’t understand why the temperature wasn’t climbing, yet was hot. It turns out the probe of the thermometer was poking into the brownie mixture – the tin was a bit higher up on the grill so I had the top vent fully open and the bottom – ended up with a burnt bottom, which I sneakily took into the kitchen, cut off the bottom and no one knew! not really a failure, but a rooky error!

Another time I was using the rotisserie on the Thuros – for the first time. I knew you don’t need a lot of charcoal for this type of cook, but I had my sons home and they were hungry, so I though I would speed up the cook by using a bit more charcoal. I put my meater probe in it and let it spin. Went into the kitchen to prepare the rest of the meal. Came out when my meater said it was nearly cooked to find it quite well done and the butt was actually on fire! it was edible and not too bad.

What would be in your dream outdoor cooking space?

It would have to be a traditional wood fired oven….. with my kjs and other bbqs, a sink with hot & cold running water, fridge – for food and drinks, plenty of storage for accessories and charcoal – and a relaxing area – tables and chairs. Lighting and of course under cover…. so I can be out there all year in all weathers.

What is the best restaurant you’ve been to and what did you eat?

I’ve been to a few as part of my job is a food blogger/food magazine contributor.

We have many here in Devon & Cornwall too.

Nearest to me is Lympstone manor, run by Michelin star chef Michael Caines. He is also a friend of mine – he heads up the south west chef of the year competition of which I was crowned south west home cook of the year in 2016 and 2017.

I cant remember what I ate but attention to detail in the food and the service was excellent. Topped with views of the Exe estuary.

Rick Steins fish restaurant in Padstow also has to be high on my list, along with Lewtrenchard manor, Two Bridges Hotel.

What is the strangest thing or meal you’ve eaten?

I can’t think … one thing was we were on holiday in Croatia at a restaurant and my son had stuffed squid. It was really not very nice, was just stuffed with ham and cheese – a bit like a sandwich with no flavour at all and was really quite unpleasant. Odd textures and flavours. The ham didn’t really have any flavour and the cheese was like plastic cheese, not nice. The rest of the meal was great!

What do you do for your day job?

I work at Bigfire – I used to have a shop where we sold Kadai firebowls, KJs, Thuros, Cobb, Lotus grills etc…. The site where it was lost most of the footfall during lockdown and so it was just online sales really. The other half of the business is summerhouse24 – wooden cabins and summerhouses. We outgrew our site and so moved premises in January this year, and now have a much larger site where we are still building show cabins and I will also be having an outdoor kitchen built in the yard so I will be able to showcase what we sell and hopefully do demonstrations. We currently sell KJs, Masterbuilt, Ozpig, Kadai firebowls, Hofats, wooden chairs and a few other items.

I also write for food magazines, taste buds, the BBQ mag and write for a blog called dining Devon with two friends. I also am a judge for food and drink Devon and taste of the west. I demo at food and drink festivals too – well I did before lockdown and I’ve a few lined up for this year.

Favourite saying or mantra you live by?

It is what it is….

Food is ready when its ready

What do you do when you’re not cooking or working?

I love to get on my bike and cycle along the seafront here in Exmouth, or along the estuary into Topsham and Exeter. I also like to dip into the sea but only when it’s sunny and warm! I like to garden – my garden isn’t very big, but I like to potter in it and tend to that and my bbqs. I like to read a little – mainly cookery books and magazines.

What is your proudest moment?

That has to be when I was on the tv with James Martin and Ainsley Harriott. It was a programme called the box – about 7 years ago – and my mum was alive to see me on the big screen. I was so excited.

What is your favourite film, tv show and band/music?

Film – Fifty First Dates

TV show – Friends

Band – Runrig

What would be your super power?

Strength – like Superman!

What would be the first thing you’d buy if you won the lottery?

A fully fitted out campervan with a KJ built into it, I’d also sort my outside cooking and eating area into something bigger and better.

What is the most impressive dessert you’ve cooked on a bbq?

This has to be a pavlova. For me, it's quite an easy dessert to whip up and bake - in my KJ - and once cooked and cooled, you can decorate it to make it look stunning. Strawberries on top of whipped cream is my usual topping, or raspberries, blueberries, or grilled peaches work very well. The prettiest one was the dessert I did for Turkish week for the first season of the Masked Griller - where I used fresh figs, turkish delight and pomegranate seeds and I made the style of the pavlova slightly different - just so that no one knew it was me who baked it!

How many times do you cook a week on a bbq or over fire?

I try to cook most days - if time allows. Even it it means eating late at night! Fortunately I have a small bbq shelter so I can cook all year round and in all weathers.

What do you hate to cook?

I really can't think of anything I hate to cook! In fact I worry if I have to eat leftovers and if I haven't fired up to cook something from scratch!

How did you get involved with Uk bbq week?

UKBBQWEEK is such a great idea and it was fun to have a go at cooking all the themed cooks. I've been supporting it from the beginning by joining in cooking every day during the week and I even got my family involved to help me cook. I think it was my enthusiasm and dedication to the cause that I was asked to join the awesome bunch of admins - there's about a dozen of us. It gets really crazy busy during the week as the socials get bombarded with pictures over all three platforms - Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It is a super week for UK BBQ - this year we had more than ever people joining in and it's so nice to see everyone get outside, firing up and having a go. For some it's a challenge which they enjoy and push the boundaries. One year we weren't going to put up any themes but the public seemed to want the themes as it helps them plan their week - so they stayed.

When are you releasing a bbq dessert recipe book?

Hmmmmm.... you're not the first person to ask me that question. I need to retire before I have the time to publish one! I'm juggling too many balls in the air I think to devote the time that's needed to write a book. I admire those bbq chefs that have written books alongside what they do. But.... never say never!

As with everyone I’ve interviewed so far, my favourite part is when I first open the email and read through the answers for the first time. From cycling to helping run a BBQ and summer house store to cooking almost every night outside Sue really is a busy women. I honestly enjoy the amount and variation of content Sue posts and long may it continue!