The Whalebone Guide to BBQ Etiquette

You know what rhymes with etiquette?


Maybe not quite, but it’s close enough that you might take to heart that if you are firing up some sort of gas contraption spitting propane at your food you aren’t really BBQing in the eyes of some people. Not us. You’re the one with the lighter and the knives and it’s your backyard, so go ahead. We asked our friend Miss Manners for some of the other rules of backyard BBQ order you may or may not want to follow depending on how fireproof your home is.

 DO  Invest in a nice charcoal chimney. This is a metal cylinder into which you put your charcoal and under which you put some crumpled-up newspaper (someone has to keep those things printing—may as well be the backyard barbecuers). You light the newspaper, newspaper lights the charcoal. And you aren’t infusing your food with lighter fluid.

 DO  Invite the neighbors. It’s only polite and will keep them from calling the cops.

 DO  Be prepared. Do what you can before guests arrive so you can actually have conversations with them.

 DO NOT  Notice your neighbors have put on a bit of weight and tend to snort when they laugh.

 DO  Put chips and snacks around in bowls for when things inevitably take longer than you thought and the natives get restless and start snorting around for food.

 DO  Grill veggies first. It’s sort of off-putting to your non-carnivorous friends to have burger grease on their portobello or eggplant. Or get plant-based burgers. Worried you’ll miss the blood? Good news: Vegan burgers bleed now.

 DO  Get the awkward moment of who goes for the food first when it’s ready out of the way. Come up with a novel way to accomplish this, such as chick who just finished a juice cleanse goes first, or whomever is on all fours snorting through a bag of chips (and you really should have had that in a bowl) might as well make a plate.

 DO NOT  Go first yourself. Even if you just finished a juice cleanse.

 DO  Use paper plates. They are biodegradable and they wash themselves. Or, whatever, just throw them right in the fire. More fuel, right?

 DO  Keep an extinguisher on hand for when you discover that paper plates soaked in grease are highly flammable and then discover further that water only spreads a grease fire.

 DO NOT  Just try to smother the flames with pieces of watermelon.

 DO  Remember that watermelon when spread liberally around your yard attracts ants.

 DO  You know that wild boars like to drink beer?

 DO  Keep the YETI closed tight, because those things can keep a bear out when they are locked down, but when open, the wild boars can just nuzzle in, spike a beer can on a tusk and turn it upside down, guzzling the whole thing in a single gulp.

 DO NOT  Call animal control thinking that your neighbors are wild boars. They may not be, but they sure can ward off a giant ant or two.

 DO  Move to a neighborhood without hideous man boars and giant ants for the next BBQ.