Hey, tough guy: how’s that Fourth of July barbecue planning coming? You’ve got your fireworks aimed away from the face, your best American flag Hawaiian shirt on, and you’ve been eating broccoli all week to clear your arteries for the impending onslaught of grease and high-fructose corn syrup. Yessir, looks like you’re on top of things. Except you probably didn’t think of everything. Keep these five tips in mind before you strike a match.
1- Normal Potato Chips Are Fine
Just because something says “BBQ” on it doesn’t mean it can only be used at barbecues. It also doesn’t mean that everything you have at your barbecue should have “BBQ” printed on it. Basically, get a healthy mix of styles of potato chips, not 15 bags that marketing teams have led you to believe go better with the food whose flavor they’re trying to imitate.
2- Cartoons Are Not Accurate Depictions of Proper Grill Operation
This is mostly in reference to cartoon characters’ love affair with lighter fluid and their insistence on flipping burgers 3 feet in the air. Do not attempt to recreate either of these, especially if you are a grilling beginner. A little lighter fluid can go a long way, and trying to flip burgers too high has a very high risk to a low impressiveness ratio. Also, premium unleaded gasoline is not a suitable substitute for lighter fluid, not to mention it is in no way cost-effective.
3- Slip-N-Slides Are Intended For Only A Certain Age Group
This rule also applies to Moon Bounces and Cotton Candy machines. If you’re entertaining children at this shindig, some summertime entertainment wouldn’t be amiss. If everyone in attendance is old enough to be enjoying some chilled brews from the cooler, well that should be all the summertime entertainment they require. However, this rule is subject to change given the proper girl-to-guy ratio. The best would be if you could dive straight off the bouncy house onto a water slide with a giant puff of cotton candy at the end to cushion your stop.
4- Novelty Aprons Should Be Appropriate for the Audience
Before expressing your uniqueness and creativity by donning a mass-produced cooking apron featuring some witty comment about handling sausages or enjoying gas (like a gas grill… we agree, it’s a stretch), remember to keep it relevant to the folks reading it. Celebrating a softball victory with all the guys from the construction crew you work with? Anything goes. Toasting the 4th of July with some families from the neighborhood? Practice a little more discretion. Having the Bible study group over to celebrate your daughter’s confirmation? Maybe just wear the plain white apron. Or turn an obscene one inside out and enjoy your secret sin.
5- Keep the Bug Spray Away From the Grill
Yes, bug spray is good for keeping bugs away. Yes, you should try to keep bugs from getting near the food. But don’t be hasty, there are a lot of other things to consider, such as the fact that most bug spray is very, very flammable. And poisonous. And it tastes terrible.
We’ve got lots more BBQ tips, including what beers to buy, and the Five Key Elements of a Great Fourth of July Cookout. –>
Matt’s other tip for a great summer? Lots of Joss Whedon.