Now that BBQ season is well underway, it’s time to get back to the basics because sometimes we start slipping when it comes to etiquette! I know how my people behave when you get hot and hungry. All etiquette goes out the door and some of us (ok, we) need a refresher on how to act!
How to act right during BBQ season:
Hosts, please don’t be guilty of this:
1. Food that ain’t ready. Now if you say the cookout starts at 4, I’ll probably slide through around 5. But if your food ain’t ready by at least 5:30, then baby we’ve got a problem! You’ve got to time it just right, so that your guests aren’t waiting around, bingeing on chips and dip and getting irritated that they can’t make their plates yet. Stay on ready!
2. Not enough food. Okay, we all know that it’s hard to know exactly how many people will show up. People that say they are coming don’t show, and people that leave you hanging roll through with 6 extra guests and all their kids. Err on the side of caution! It’s better to have too much food than have nothing left to offer people except hotdogs buns and corn on the cob crumbs. Nobody wants to leave hangry!
3. Food that looks messy. As the host, you gotta keep it clean. Presentation is everything. Wipe up around the dishes, put out some fresh tablecloths. Nothing is a turnoff like messy serving spoons, foil buried in the pan, and spills around the table.
4. Hot food that’s cold. Hot food doesn’t hold the temp very long, invest in some 4-hour burners! What you don’t want to see is a line of 18 guests waiting to use a microwave, heating up cold chicken that has been sitting around for an hour.
5. Cold food that’s hot. Put the garden salads, potato salads, and pasta salads on ice. Warm salad is gross, plus it’s a health risk.
6. Hot drinks. Let your drinks sit on ice for a couple hours before the BBQ begins. Warm bottled water is not good, and hot Sprite is even worse. On a sweltering day, your guests should have access to a plethora of ice-cold beverages.
7. No sensitivity to diet restrictions. These days, some people don’t eat red meat, and others don’t eat meat at all. Tip: make the spaghetti with turkey and make the baked beans Vegetarian. Your BBQ will go much further if you try to have something for everyone!
Now the BBQ guests are in the hot seat because some of your behavior is un-accep-table.
BBQ guests, STOP doing these things:
1. Not bringing anything, ATALL. If you’re invited to a cookout or any sort of get-together at someone’s house, bring something. Anything! If you aren’t a chef, bring dranks, ice, dranks, water, or dranks. Preferably dranks.
2. Showing up late with a staple item. So if you volunteer to bring something important, say the rib-tips, do not bring them when everybody is done eating. Man, we full! Estimate the time slot for your item and show up accordingly. If you’re bringing ice, arrive early. If you’re bringing an entree, come on time. Only people bringing desserts and dranks get a tardy pass.
3. Drinking out of too many drinks. You, grabbing all those water bottles without finishing the old ones. Unh Unh! Drink the one you have first. Water bottles do not grow on trees. Like my grandma used to say, “write your name on that drink, baby, and don’t grab another one ’til it’s finished!” Out here walking around mingling with 8 unfinished Pepsis. SMH.
4. Posted at the front of the line to pour a drank if you didn’t bring a drank. Doesn’t it seem like the first person to help themselves to a drank didn’t contribute nan iota of an adult beverage? Yall need to stop doing this! It doesn’t have to be VSOP or top shelf, but do us all a favor and contribute something to the BBQ bar!
5. Bringing a bottle, then leaving with that same bottle. Okay so if you did contribute a drank, why are you walking to your car with said bottle halfway full? No sir. If you contribute to the bar, leave it at the bar!
6. Asking for food once it’s all been put away. There’s always that one guest that arrives at the tail end of a BBQ when the food has been put away, then asks to make a plate. Man listen. Your host is tired, the kitchen is closed! If you arrive late, just head straight to the dranks. You’re now eligible for the after-hours “Desserts & Spirits” menu.
7. Staying all night. Let me give you a hint. If your host has folded up all the folding chairs, turned off the music, and put all the dranks away, GO HOME. This is not a BBQ sleepover. Mckay?
Yours Truly, Ms. Pettyton