A Marriage of Meat

Before we even begin this discourse, let me say this:

“A wife is not a piece of meat”

Now, with that said, let me tell you how making great barbecue is eerily similar to making a great marriage.

A great marriage doesn’t just occur. And neither does mouthwatering barbecue. Most of us understand the effort required to make a marriage flourish, which includes items like planning, hard work, patience, creativity, prayer, and commitment, but you may not realize how the same components are required for mouthwatering barbecue.

Planning
Pulling off a successful cook requires advance planning. There are cook times, ingredients, prep work, equipment, meat, and the serving to consider. You take notes, read books, and ask questions, all in an effort to become a better pittmaster.

Hard Work
Pulling off a successful cook is not easy. And it doesn’t just happen. You can’t just push a button or plug something in and turn out great barbecue. It will make you sweat, wear you out, and drop to you to your knees. But the more you put into making great barbecue, the more you get out. Actually, you get much more out of it.

Patience
“If you’re looking, you ain’t cooking.” The more you look, the longer it takes. And cooking great barbecue takes FOREVER. Upwards of 16 hours, not counting the prep time, rest time, serving time, or pulling time.

And guys, if we’re looking, we ain’t cooking, when it comes to our eyes and our marriage.

Creativity
There are only so many ways you can cook a butt. It has to take 12-16 hours to be good and needs smoke to give it great flavor and bark. So to stand out from the crowd, you need to be creative. Creative in your rubs, spices, sauces, and woods. And if you find the right balance, in conjunction with everything else, you may be the one holding the trophy and the big check at the end of the weekend.

Prayer
While prayer is an essential part to a great marriage, you may not consider it a key component to great barbecue. You’d be wrong – way wrong. So many things can go wrong while cooking for 16 hours, many of which you have no control over.

I’ve seen hot, humid weather, where you had a hard time keeping the temps down, change to a monsoon, causing fires to go out, equipment to get soaked, psyche to get crushed, and schedules to get ruined. And if you’re not praying, you have no prayer…

Commitment
The most important piece of any marriage is commitment and the same is true for barbecue. You have a tried and true plan, one you’ve seen work countless times, but even so, when things begin to go awry, the tendency is to change what you know works and try something else.

You give up your plan and toss it aside and you if you have no chance for success. You can’t change what you’re doing because someone else does it differently. You can’t take your schedule and try to cheat it. You can’t “wing it”. You need to be committed to your plan, no matter what.

Also, there is an unwritten rule in barbecue: “You eat what you cook, no matter what”. It doesn’t matter if you burn the meat or if your chances in the creativity department don’t work or if the schedule wasn’t right. You eat what you cook – no questions asked.

The same is true for marriage. When you say “I do”, you say it for better or worse, no matter what. If things get tough, you stick it out. If things don’t go as planned, you stick it out. No matter what.

So, next time you have a craving for barbecue, think of your spouse. And take the time to enjoy both.

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Barbecue People is Good People

I’ve commented on the adventure of the barbecue contest along with the typical musical fare. The last item to mention are the people themselves…

Barbecue People is Good People…

If you have a fear of meeting new people or public speaking, then barbecue contests, or even festivals, may not be the place for you. These contests offer the chance to meet many interesting, eclectic, helpful, honest, nice, and downright good people…

The interesting thing to me was the fact that you cannot not place barbecue people under any one umbrella. It’s one giant melting pot, which is not what you’d probably think. Your mind is probably picturing Zac Brown look-a-likes, and I think I did see him and ZZ Top, but that’s not the norm. In fact, it’s far from it…

We saw families, retired couples, frat boys and sorority sisters. We saw whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, and every creed in between. We saw Costa del Mars, Blue Blockers, Tom Cruise Aviators, and Dwayne Wayne flip-up shades. We saw Rainbow flops, Sperry Topsiders, high heels, LA Gear, and snake skin boots. We saw jeans, jorts, sweats, chaps, and linens…

Folks were interested in our cooker, rubs, sauces, wood choice, and where we were from. We even had people taking pictures of us and/or our cooker. It made us feel somewhere between a movie star, a train wreck, and a freak show – probably more toward the latter…

At our first contest, we noticed other participant’s decorating their sites with trophies, signs, and other barbecue related paraphernalia. We obviously haven’t won any trophies nor have we nailed down a team name, so we opted for the paraphernalia route. Rather than have a barbecue theme, we went with great achievements of our youth, including a high school diploma, random baseballs and other middle school sports items. We even came across sports medals from our brides, just to spice it up a bit…

One baffling, and somewhat confusing, trend was that if you have a t-shirt from a previous contest, than you must wear it, especially if you competed. It must be written on the back of the tag or something…

Next time a barbecue contest or festival comes to your town, please go. It usually benefits a worthy local cause and presents a Top 10 people watching moment. Even if you don’t eat, go and park yourself on a bench, and have a great time…

We sure did…

Best Advertisement Ever?

I’m sold! I’m hooked! And there is no changing my mind…

I’m going to Denny’s…

And I’m having BACON!

Denny’s just launched a new promotion entitled Baconalia and it gave me goose bumps. I’ve been hearing so much about healthy food and low carbs and few calories that I am ready to rebel. And bacon sounds like the perfect solution…

So – who’s joining me?

Honorable mention for other great advertisements (insert sarcasm here):

Crystal Pepsi – famously spoofed by SNL

New Coke – even though Max Headroom should be remembered as a success

Lifelock – maybe giving out your social security number was not the best idea

Groupon – making fun of Tibet without any backstory – FAIL

Best Uses of Bacon

Bacon – is there anything better?

I don’t think so – here’s proof:

Bacon Nativity Scene

Bacon Turtle Burger

Bacon Lombardi Trophy

Bacon Cabin

Bacon Explosion