Look Who’s Coming to the Barbecue
Few activities are so overtly American during the summertime than the backyard barbecue. Granted, what 90% of Americans are actually doing is more properly called grilling – not barbecue – but whichever activity you enjoy, there’s a pretty good chance you spend a good portion of your summer evenings cooking outdoors.
A recent poll on Epicurious.com asked what famous person or persons – living, dead or fictional – would you invite to your backyard barbecue (click here to see the original article). The poll is similar to one that prompted a summer blog post last year, that one involving who would you invite to your next dinner party (see “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner“). As school starts back and the summer barbecue session winds down, I thought it worthwhile to contemplate who would make the cut on my idea barbecue list. The rules, as I saw them, were that I could invite no one I included on my previous Dinner Party list, which left off some obvious fan favorites like Anthony Bourdain. However, I thought it only fair to spread the culinary love and develop a completely new list of invitees.
So, for those who ever wondered what my ultimate barbecue guest list would look like,with tongue planted firmly in cheek, read on!
1) Jose Andres – The Spaniard who took America by storm, Chef Andres is apparently everywhere these days. It doesn’t hurt that he’s docked his flagship restaurant in a trendy Washington, DC neighborhood. A rabid soccer fan and active Twitterer, Chef Andres has carved out a sizable niche in the American culinary scene.
2) Ted Nugent – Barbecue means meat. Meat means, like it or not, something living has to die. Who better to help out all the squeamish Americans who have become so distanced from our the source of our food than to have Ted Nugent take over killing duties. The Motor City Madman, NRA spokesperson and cookbook author (Kill It and Grill It, pick up a copy at a butcher shop near you) has a strong belief that one must eat what they kill. Therefore make sure what you kill is tasty.
3) Bobby Flay – Chef Flay is a regular in Kentucky, lured here both by his love of horses and bourbon. He’s a regular at Churchill Downs races and Keeneland thoroughbred auctions. Chef Flay warrants an invite because he would fit right in with the bourbon drenched cooking duties – around hear it’s sometimes a race to see whether the barbecue or the guests are lit first. Besides, I’d like to see how he handles the outdoor cooking in a non Food Network controlled environment.
4) Genghis Khan – The patriarchal ruler of Mongolia, military leader of the Golden Horde, conqueror of Asia and much of Eastern Europe, the Great King would be a perfect guest, if for no other reason than he would keep Ted Nugent somewhat in check. Besides, I’m dying to ask him what the hell Mongolian Barbecue really is.
5) Anyone from Argentina – The culinary touchstone for meat consumption in South America, Argentinean barbecue mixes the best of Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. Chorizo, Churrasco, Parillada, Asado… whatever you call it and whatever choice you make you can hardly go wrong. Until your next cardiac doctor’s appointment of course. Actually, change the invite to read everyone from Argentina. But they have to bring their own meat.
6) My son Zach, who at the mature age of four announced he was NOT a vegetarian, he was a carnivore. By age six the carnivore had transformed into an omnivore. That was the age he started slurping down oysters on the half shell and learned the pinch the tails / suck the heads routine for putting away a few pounds of crawfish. The kid thinks my Chimichurri Ribeye is the best thing on the planet, and he will eat anything apparently except mussels and my ex-wife’s (his mother’s) chicken broccoli casserole. The kid is smart, what can I say?
So, the guest list is set. The menu is, well, let’s call it what it is – meat centric. Light the fire, grab a drink and get ready to barbecue!