It is summertime and the BBQ season is in full swing. Here are some basic rules to live by when enjoying these outdoor events.
[The following assumes all safe Covid measures and adherence to government mandates pertaining to the pandemic, are taken.]
BBQ Rule #1 – “What can I bring?” – These four simple words will insure you are asked again to another event. If you don’t use them, well, expect to be placed on the “Oh, I forgot to tell you” list.
“You did not tell me you had a BBQ”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you”
The side dish – This is pivotal. If this is the first time you are being invited to an event with this host, your status and probability of a second invitation will rest on your side dish. If you show up to a first-time event with beef jerky and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos from 7 Eleven, expect to be one of the main topics of the after party, cleanup, gossip session. Also, your name will be scrubbed from the 4th of July invitation list. The more creative and delicious, the more your status will rise with group. Nothing says “A “lister like grandma’s homemade ambrosia recipe. The only downside to this sudden popularity is that you will be expected to bring that delicious meal from now on, to every event. It could be the only reason you are invited, but hey, free BBQ is free BBQ.
If you cannot cook, a supermarket potato salad or veggie platter will suffice. It will not elevate your status but also will not get you booted from the invitation list. Make sure, however, you throw in a 7 layer dip every once in a while or you will be known as the “Cheap ass, potato salad people”.
The Main Dish – If the BBQ is a bring your own meat, then bring your own meat or don’t eat. Don’t be that person who thinks they will not eat and then starts to grub on everyone’s food because they are suddenly hungry. It is good practice to bring extra. For instance, if everyone is cooking burgers, bring a few more just in case, for others to enjoy. It will help bring you up a few notches on the BBQ status list and help in getting invited to 4th of July.
BBQ Rule #2 – Bring your own drinks. Unless the host explicitly tells you what is offered, in terms of drinks, bring your own libations. Nothing says cheap ass, douche bag than someone bumming beers from every patron at the event. Conversely, if you show up with a Tundra 350 filled with 5 cases of Bud light, offer one to anyone who is thirsty.
Beer – This is the staple of all BBQs. Every beer is equal at a BBQ and celebrated. If you are one of those beer aficionados, enjoy your bottle of peanut, mango IPA brewed from some hipster’s van downtown, but be prepared to be thrown out with your organic, free range, chick pea hummus and Kale chips side dish, you brought, if you start to condescend to the Coors light drinking folk. Also, do not turn your nose up to any beer offered form someone’s Tundra 350.
Wine – It is not uncommon to have the fruit of the vine flowing at a good BBQ. Wine drinkers are a sharing group, much like pot smokers, and they each like to taste other vintages. Be prepared to share a glass from your bottle if questioned about it. Drink from a glass and not straight from the bottle unless you are at a BBQ where the swimwear is cutoff jeans and the décor is that of a Confederate flag.
Champagne – If you bring champagne to a BBQ, you are in the wrong state at the wrong BBQ.
Seltzer waters – This is the biggest fad out now, the alcoholic, flavored seltzer waters. Everyone has their favorites and their allegiances. People like to trade these like baseball cards. “Oh, can I trade a Truly Black Cherry for a White Claw Raspberry?”. It’s all good unless someone is trying to pawn off their collection of Lime White claws they have accumulated over the quarantine. That person is scorned and ridiculed, until towards the end, when he is the only one with alcohol and quickly becomes everyone’s best friend.
BBQ Rule #3 – DON’T EVER TOUCH ANOTHER MAN’S PIT WITHOUT ASKING. The only exception to this rule is when the host is taking a leak and his pit is having a grease fire. It is not only appropriate but expected for the men to jump in and save the meat from burning while the host finishes up and gets a beer. Once he arrives, relinquish control back to him and go back to standing around, drinking.
BBQ Rule #4 – Eat, and compliment the cook. There is no prouder a man or woman who is happy with their smoke ring and they will show it off, gleefully. If you do not know what a smoke ring is, it is ok to ask but be prepared for a 20-minute lesson in the science of smoking meat along with a PowerPoint presentation. If you think their smoke ring is a burn mark compared to the brisket from your KBQ C-60, keep your mouth shut and eat. If you are one of those who do not eat meat for the various reasons one would not partake in such activity and you do not drink either, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING AT A BBQ?
BBQ Rule #5- Any food left at the home of a BBQ event is now the property of the host of the event. This includes all canned beverages, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. The property exempt from this rule is actual reusable kitchen ware, coolers and bottled liquor, 740ml or larger. However, if 60 days have elapsed without recovery of exempt property, the host may exercise the “I have no idea what you are talking about” clause, when queried about said property.
The 4th of July – This is the Superbowl of BBQs. This is the pinnacle of the BBQ season. If you are invited to the 4th of July BBQ, you have been selected to be among the elite of friendships and inclusion. This is the time to bring out that side dish that takes 4 hours of prep. This is the time to bring the good beer. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged to wear head to toe red, white and blue. There will tons of food, drinks and people and when it gets dark there are fireworks. What better a BBQ than on this day? If you are not an American, appreciate the fact that Americans take great pride in living in this country and we go to great lengths to celebrate its existence, as obnoxiously as we can. Enjoy the food, drink and the show that is the 4th!
The BBQ Pool party – If your circle of friends includes those who own pools and like to hold BBQs, you are a very fortunate individual. Not only do you get to eat BBQ, but you also get to cool off during the hot summer day, with friends and drinks. With that said, please adhere to these simple rules.
Don’t pee in the pool! As tempting as it might be and as much of a pain in the ass it is to dry off and walk to the grassy side of the house, don’t do it. You are not fooling anyone, either. No one can drink a 12 pack of beer, while in the pool for 4 hours, without getting out to use the facilities. We know what you are doing and that is why we are on the other side of the pool.
Kids in the pool. If you do not like kids, you need to get a new set of friends. Kids love the pool and will splash and play all day long with their friends. My advice is to stay on one end and avoid eye contact or you will be throwing kids in the air for an hour and half, even the heavy kid. Nothing throws out a back faster than trying to toss a 160Lb, ten-year-old, across the pool.
There you go. Follow these simple rules and advice and you will have an enjoyable summer.