The interns read every piece of fan mail that the post office delivers to The House on the Hill, and they tell me that lately, there has been an outpouring of similar requests. Here’s one such letter:
Austin, you wear a toga, so clearly you are very wise. How about sharing some advice for those of us who are in a relationship and can’t take advantage of your awesome dating tips posts? We want to be a part of the fun, too. Thanks! Happily Married in Texas
First off, no need to rub it in that you’re happily married when I can’t even find a date.
Secondly, you’re right. I should offer more sage advice to all my readers. Since you were kind enough to plug my dating tips posts, I’m going to do you a solid and write a life hacks post just for you.
Instead of a dating tips post this week, I give you: How To Plan A Dangerous, But Delicious Barbecue!
Visualize the perfect barbecue. You cannot throw the perfect barbecue until you can picture the perfect barbecue in your mind. In other words, “Be the ball, Danny”. Take as much time as necessary, even if it is a few months. You can’t rush perfection.
While this might sound like a stall tactic, it’s the real deal. At least that’s how I explained it to my coworkers when they asked why we hadn’t had a barbecue all summer.
Besides, by doing the shopping yourself, you guarantee that you will be serving the kind of food that you want. I made sure we had the hot dogs I preferred, the chips I liked, and a big bottle of Snapple!
You don’t want to be referred to as a foodie snob by your guests, so suck it up and expand the menu. Just make sure to wear sterile gloves and maybe even a mask when handling the veggies burgers.
Get a grill. You wouldn’t believe how many people forget this step. I’d make up fake facts and figures to back up that statement, but I know you’ll believe me simply because I wear a toga and speak with confidence.
You also want to make sure that there is gas in the tank. It’s one thing to have a grill, but an entirely differently thing to have one that can make fire.
Make sure you have assistant chefs. Grilling for a large crowd is not a one person show. If you’re a klutz like I am, you need someone around to smother the flames when your toga catches fire, or to dial 911 when the damage is much worse.
Shaunna and Audrey, aside from being assistant chefs, are Certified Medical Assistants. I highly recommend that you have a trained medical professional with you at all times if you are going to be around gas and an open flame.
They are all going to the same destination, Modern Philosophers, so it is okay if they co-mingle above the sacrificial flame.
You have a hungry crowd waiting, and you don’t want the red hot dog folk whining that you fed the cheeseburger crowd first.
The grill is huge. Cover every available space with meat. And weird pretend meat.
I’m 6’3″, Modern Philosophers, so I want flames no higher than about 5 and a half feet.
If you’re cooking with flames high enough to give you a tan, you’re probably burning your meat, a major barbecue faux pas.
It is, however, what makes this a Dangerous Barbecue, and that’s kinda bad ass.
Cheese is your friend. Use it wisely. You know all those burgers you’ll burn because the flames got high enough that you had to crane your neck upward to see them, or because the smoke is so intense that your eyes are tearing and you can’t see?
Now you don’t have to throw out those burgers. Just cover them in cheese.
Plan it so that the food is all ready at the same time, which should be just before people come out to bitch that the food isn’t ready yet. People might not want to help plan the barbecue, shop for the food, or do the grilling, but they will happily complain that they are starving and the food isn’t ready yet.
So start early, factor in that it will take extra time to cook the various kinds of meat, cover up mistakes, rescue burgers out of the flames, and tend to the chef’s injuries.
Wait until the Pope is in the United States, call him (which should be easy if he is friend and a fan of your blog), and ask him to pop in to surprise the guests and bless the food.
This way, you don’t have to worry about “kissing up to God” those few hot dogs that rolled off the spatula and onto the grass. A Pope’s blessing is far more powerful than both the five second rule and all the germs that were in that grass where people walk everyday.
Serve so much food that people have no option other than to shut up and stuff their faces. They can’t complain when their mouths are full. Once they’re finally done eating, they will drift into a food coma and you will have some peace and quiet to enjoy your meal.
I hope these tips help you to throw a perfect barbecue. Don’t forget to invite me. And if you do, there had better be some Snapple and red hot dogs!