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If You Ask Me: BBQ Etiquette


a blogumn by Travis Randall

The question of BBQ etiquette has come up a lot lately and I have some thoughts on the matter.

Specifically the questions are about the BBQ itself and if are you allowed to step in during a BBQ that is being botched. The fast answer is “NO!”

Photo by Luca Vanzella
Photo by Luca Vanzella

If you are at a dudes house DO NOT give unwanted help or advice while they are grilling meat. You should feel comfortable helping to bring them needed materials, removing dirty platters, or washing some dishes. The very best thing you can do is keep the griller’s beer full or help to keep their cocktail nice and fresh.

I will give you some exceptions. I recently started hanging out [and working on a pitch] with a current Food Network host. If he happens to be at my BBQ, he is more than welcome to help me out with a verbal cue or two. Anyone who is actually a “chef” is also welcome to throw their two cents in…a real chef.  Also, if you have a unique culinary background or you BRING something over that I don’t make, you are welcome to throw down on the grill. Don’t upstage the griller in this situation though! Bring small appetizer-type stuff and don’t be a jerk about it. The focus is on the host and make sure it stays there.

Now, what do you do if you are at a bad BBQ? Nothing unless asked! No matter how badly the griller is struggling you don’t step in unless asked. I get asked to take over from time to time, and the best way to keep a friend is to help them out and let them take the credit. For guys BBQ’ing is an extension of their manhood and you jumping on it is never a good thing. Let them wiggle their goods and stay out of it. If you really wanted to rock it, you would have had everybody at your house. If a bad BBQ buddy is planning a shindig ask them ahead of time what you can help with. There is nothing sadder than wasted meat so do what you can without being a tool.

I’ve attended plenty of BBQ’s that I could’ve been put to good use at, but sometimes I just bite my lip and eat a lot of the sides. When at a bad BBQ and someone asks you what you think always say “amazing.” If you find it hard to say you just need to drink more.

If you see me shitfaced at a BBQ, the food either sucks or the company is awesome.