It is the southern United States, it’s almost always backyard BBQ time. The weather is a little milder in the winter, and we’re just plain dedicated. But for the folks up north – where I’m originally from – the BBQ and grilling season doesn’t really take off until the Memorial Day weekend.
I can tell you that’s a big weekend because the number of people online checking out grills and recipes drives my traffic through the roof that weekend.
Since this is the beginning of the season, I thought I’d do a quick rundown of everything you need to do to get ready for it. Personally, I’m a year rounder, so I take care of this sort of thing continually, but you can definitely forget a few things when your body and mind are frozen for 7 months in the great white north.
Make sure there are no Wasp, Bee or Hornet Nests in your BBQ Grill Cover!
I just got an email a few months ago about a guy who heard buzzing when he got near his grill. Whether it was from past experience, I’m not sure. But, he decided to rig an automated Hornet sprayer on the end of a rake.
I slid the rake under the grill and cover and it let loose until it was empty – while he ran the other direction. When he came back, there was a 12-inch pile of dead hornets below his grill. Yea. Be very careful!
Give Your Charcoal BBQ or Gas BBQ a good cleaning
You should probably do this at the end of the season so all that gunk isn’t sitting there getting harder over the winter. If you have a gas grill, make sure you check your burners and igniters to make sure they aren’t beginning to rust or fall apart.
This will happen eventually, but following the care suggestions in your manual can extend life. Also, make sure you clean the grate well. If you clean it too well, you may have to re-season it, though.
Pick a Date For Your Next Backyard BBQ Party And Invite Your Friends
Don’t wait until everyone has already committed to favorite dates like Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July or Labor Day. Bastille Day really isn’t that big of a deal in the States so plan early and lock your friends in.
Dude, Cook Some Real BBQ – Not That Fake Stuff Like Grilled Chicken With BBQ Sauce.
I’m sorry, but if you’re going to have a BBQ party in your backyard, be different. Do it the right way. BBQ is all about low temperature cooking for long periods – and almost always with some smoke. If you have a gas grill, well it’s going to be more difficult, but doable.
If you really want something special, add a decent Smoker to your arsenal like a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker Cooker. The reason is simple, a gas grill is nearly impossible to run at a low temperature like 225-250 F – especially for long periods.
I’ve tried and I just eat through propane like nobody’s business. That’s expensive! You can even find very inexpensive smokers (even electric ones) that do a decent job. The Brinkmann Gourmet Charcoal Smoker is pretty inexpensive and can get the job done
Remember that BBQ is not Sauced
This is fairly important. You can’t cover grilled meat in BBQ sauce and call it a Backyard BBQ party. All you need is one wise-cracking expert (like me) in the crowd to ruin all your fun. First, the food won’t be as good, and second, this is supposed to be your moment to shine. To learn how to do it right! You’ll have more fun and you’ll become addicted to smoke at the same time.
Dig Out Your Pork Shoulder and Pork Rib Recipes
Make sure you introduce your friends to a well-smoked pork butt. When you start pulling that apart, you will see that beautiful smoke ring. And when you dig in to taste it, your eyes will bug right out of your head.
Same thing for properly done baby back ribs. If you do a backyard BBQ and do these right, your friends will honestly be flabbergasted. You just don’t see this kind of cooking up north.
The bottom line is to have fun with your backyard BBQ. But, you’ll have more fun if you do the real BBQ. Do it right, you’ll be glad you did.