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View Full Version : What makes an "American Style Backyard Barbecue" ?



HandsomeRyan
June 16th, 2014, 10:21 AM
Hopefully both our state-side and non-US members can chime in on this...

My wife has a business colleague who has lived and worked all over Europe coming to visit next weekend and she mentioned she had never been to "a real American Barbecue/Cookout". We hope to fix that by hosting one in our backyard while she is here but I need to know what makes a backyard barbecue "American"?

• We'll do hamburgers and hot dogs (I know technically this is just grilling and not "barbecue" but the terms are colloquially interchangeable)
• We'll have lawn games (cornhole, badminton/volleyball, croquet)
• We'll have beer in a cooler full of ice.
•We'll have a fire in our fire pit and marshmallows for roasting.

What else makes for an "American" barbecue/cookout?

Sylvia H
June 16th, 2014, 10:24 AM
Potato salad, macaroni salad, and cook corn on the cob still in the husks.

Midge
June 16th, 2014, 10:31 AM
Barbecue ribs, watermelon or a mixed fruit salad in a carved watermelon boat, homemade baked beans. Fresh lemonade.

MayinJerset
June 16th, 2014, 10:34 AM
A big watermelon sitting in the beer/soda cooler just chillin' until after the meal.

sassygranny
June 16th, 2014, 10:51 AM
Absolutely a watermelon. Even more fun if the kids have a seed-spitting contest.

Judy, USMC
June 16th, 2014, 10:53 AM
Paper plates with woven straw holders, plastic utensils and red Solo cups! lol

SallyO'Sews
June 16th, 2014, 10:55 AM
Family and friends. Lots of them.

Also, my sister-in-love's taco salad.

Miss Sheri
June 16th, 2014, 10:55 AM
Any and all of the above, but most important in my opinion: Good Friends, and family, with an easy going, laid back attitude.

Momofmonsters5
June 16th, 2014, 11:03 AM
I live in Germany so here's my thoughts. Bar b Que is mostly done by Americans here due to the cost of grills. Our $50 grill is like 100€ here and up. Which is about $140 dollars. I would include steaks. Hamburgers are definitely American and s'mores! Is very hard to find marshmallows on the economy, these are all ways American made products! Should be fun!! Our German neighbors love when we fire up our grill!! What kind of beer are you serving?

Sandy Navas
June 16th, 2014, 11:25 AM
79479

What else?

TheYarnmaiden
June 16th, 2014, 11:27 AM
I vote super relaxed. You're grilling in your own back yard, not firing up a smoker 12 hrs before people will be showing up. =^.^=
Throw a melon in a cooler, find someone who wants to "try out their new bean recipe" (because that's always fun), think about a dutch ovened cobbler then remember you're at home and opt for pies made ahead of time instead (berry pie is lovely cold with cream), wait until later in the day to start the potato vs pasta salad factions at each other (keep track of who argues for boiled eggs in both regardless), and don't forget that skewered veggies sprayed down with a little oil grill up wonderfully but super fast. (tandem skewer things that go soft like peppers and onions)

WendyI
June 16th, 2014, 11:29 AM
to me a good BBQ is ONLY a 100% pure AA Grade,hormone free, Rib eye steak with Montreal Steak spice cooked medium well and a twice baked potato with Whiskey soaked BBQ smoked Ribs, and steamed Fiddle Heads, corn on the cob soaked in the husk overnight then bbq'd on the top rack of the BBQ while the ribs are almost done smokin. Really good music playing all day...preferably a life band

THEN all of your family and friends, a kiddie pool filled with ice, vodka coolers and beer and lots of fun lawn games for the kids ....sack races, egg and spoon races, one leg races, volleyball and badminton. Oh and later a bonfire with guitars and lots of singing of great country and blue grass!!

THAT would be my dream BBQ...Canadian or otherwise!

Oh and Watermelon goes without saying.

Joan@DebtofGratitude
June 16th, 2014, 11:48 AM
In my parts, you need homemade ice cream. And sweet tea!

SuzyQue
June 16th, 2014, 11:51 AM
I am surprised that no one mentioned your beautiful red, white, and blue picnic cloth that you just finished!

EmmaB
June 16th, 2014, 11:58 AM
Your menu sounds great!

IMO, no bar b que is complete without corn on the cob and even though I don't like them...baked beans. And for where I'm at....lots of bug repellant.

Familyjournals
June 16th, 2014, 11:59 AM
Our BBQ:
* Steaks or Chicken Skewers
* Grilled Pineapple
* Grilled Corn on the Cob….Ours is in foil with butter, salt and pepper
* Potato Salad …..my little Mom's specialty….
* Watermelon scooped out and filled with all kinds of cubed melons, berries and more pineapple
* Potato Chips and tons of dips
* Fresh squeezed lemonade
* Home churned ice cream

We have a little miniature golf course around our yard for the pint sized people. A table set up with Mexican train dominos, sons and their guitars trying to out do each other, a puzzle on a table for my little folks that find a wild game of dominos a little too stimulating. A frisbee golf competition, bad mitten and a dance off at the piano.

Genny
June 16th, 2014, 12:04 PM
Home made ice cream and horse shoes!

Carefull though...too much Heineken and someone could get whacked :lol:

New York Sue
June 16th, 2014, 12:27 PM
I'm not sure how elaborate you want to get, but...
We did a 'southern picnic' theme for my daughters bridal shower, and it came together beautifully. We covered the picnic tables in red and white checked table clothes, decorated with a hydrangeas in mason jars (added a raffia bow around the neck of the jar).
I had purchased three, two gallon sized beverage containers with spigots on the bottom, and filled with sweet tea, lemonade, and sangria. We drank our beverages in pint size mason jars (which I have a ton of).
We didn't cook on site, (rented pavilion) but opted for pulled pork sliders and fried chicken and several salads, which was a nice change-up from the normal barbeque fare.
It was a huge success.
Best of luck with your event, Ryan!

Sylvia H
June 16th, 2014, 01:31 PM
.......and.......deviled eggs! (Now, I know that the barbeque, or cookout, is changing with the addition of different foods and more health consciousness. But, the original, all American barbeque, was high calorie, high carb foods.)

IBake
June 16th, 2014, 01:38 PM
I agree with Sylvia...you have to have deviled eggs....and plenty of them. You should get my daughter-in-love to make them.....she puts the devil in the eggs.

Sandy Navas
June 16th, 2014, 01:42 PM
Oh, and Ryan, what time do we show up??

EmmaB
June 16th, 2014, 01:48 PM
DEVILED EGGS!!! I forgot about them. Definitely a must!!

And, I'm with Sandy....what time do we show up?

asta
June 16th, 2014, 01:54 PM
I see no here mentioned brats-in beer and onions, oh this may be a Wisconsin thing.

WendyI
June 16th, 2014, 02:00 PM
.......and.......deviled eggs! (Now, I know that the barbeque, or cookout, is changing with the addition of different foods and more health consciousness. But, the original, all American barbeque, was high calorie, high carb foods.)

OH YES!! How did I forge those!! And macaroni or potato salad...YUM!! Ok...thanks guys...I'm starving now...I think I'll go chew my arm for a while!!

MayinJerset
June 16th, 2014, 02:47 PM
I am surprised that no one mentioned your beautiful red, white, and blue picnic cloth that you just finished!

Yes indeed nothing could say American BBQ than that quilt.

Carol336
June 16th, 2014, 02:53 PM
I was getting worried about the deviled eggs, but thank goodness they cropped up a few posts back.

Oh, and I'm in Millersville Maryland (just outside of Annapolis) not very far from you at all.....just saying.

MillieS
June 16th, 2014, 03:04 PM
Always Johnsonville Brats and burgers..

WendyI
June 16th, 2014, 03:41 PM
.......and.......deviled eggs! (Now, I know that the barbeque, or cookout, is changing with the addition of different foods and more health consciousness. But, the original, all American barbeque, was high calorie, high carb foods.)


I was getting worried about the deviled eggs, but thank goodness they cropped up a few posts back.

Oh, and I'm in Millersville Maryland (just outside of Annapolis) not very far from you at all.....just saying.

:icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::D:D HA!!

BobW
June 16th, 2014, 05:28 PM
Hopefully both our state-side and non-US members can chime in on this...

My wife has a business colleague who has lived and worked all over Europe coming to visit next weekend and she mentioned she had never been to "a real American Barbecue/Cookout". We hope to fix that by hosting one in our backyard while she is here but I need to know what makes a backyard barbecue "American"?

• We'll do hamburgers and hot dogs (I know technically this is just grilling and not "barbecue" but the terms are colloquially interchangeable)
• We'll have lawn games (cornhole, badminton/volleyball, croquet)
• We'll have beer in a cooler full of ice.
•We'll have a fire in our fire pit and marshmallows for roasting.

What else makes for an "American" barbecue/cookout?

Deviled Eggs, Iced Tea, Lemonade, Homemade Ice Cream and add in lots of friends.

Sandy Navas
June 16th, 2014, 05:41 PM
I was getting worried about the deviled eggs, but thank goodness they cropped up a few posts back.

Oh, and I'm in Millersville Maryland (just outside of Annapolis) not very far from you at all.....just saying.\

You probably should hand deliver her invitation, Ryan!

K. McEuen
June 16th, 2014, 05:51 PM
Marshmallows roasting over the slowly fading coals. Notice I said coals? Backyard BBQs just aren't the same with the propane and gas grills people use now. I do it old school and still use charcoal.

Iris Girl
June 16th, 2014, 06:13 PM
Marshmallows roasting over the slowly fading coals. Notice I said coals? Backyard BBQs just aren't the same with the propane and gas grills people use now. I do it old school and still use charcoal.

This about covers it all. As a young girl my mom grilled on a hibachi. Then I got older and gas grills were all the fad we had a few in our time. My son decided he wanted to take over the grilling in the summer and his choice is charcoal. no other way he says, propane is like bringing your oven outside , not grilling!

PICKLES...don't forget the pickles!!

MayinJerset
June 16th, 2014, 07:05 PM
This about covers it all. As a young girl my mom grilled on a hibachi. Then I got older and gas grills were all the fad we had a few in our time. My son decided he wanted to take over the grilling in the summer and his choice is charcoal. no other way he says, propane is like bringing your oven outside , not grilling!

PICKLES...don't forget the pickles!!

Your mom must be my age because my first BBQ was a hibachi that I had on an empty wooden wire reel table from the local power company. The hibachi was small, easy to get a fire going and didn't give off so much heat like bigger charcoal grills did. I didn't make much more than hot dogs and burgers but they tasted wonderful. .

Iris Girl
June 16th, 2014, 07:31 PM
Your mom must be my age because my first BBQ was a hibachi that I had on an empty wooden wire reel table from the local power company. The hibachi was small, easy to get a fire going and didn't give off so much heat like bigger charcoal grills did. I didn't make much more than hot dogs and burgers but they tasted wonderful. .
If my mom were still with us she would have been 81 at the end of this month... How I miss her.

MayinJerset
June 16th, 2014, 09:16 PM
If my mom were still with us she would have been 81 at the end of this month... How I miss her.

Close enough in age, I'm on my way to 79.

Familyjournals
June 16th, 2014, 09:39 PM
This about covers it all. As a young girl my mom grilled on a hibachi. Then I got older and gas grills were all the fad we had a few in our time. My son decided he wanted to take over the grilling in the summer and his choice is charcoal. no other way he says, propane is like bringing your oven outside , not grilling!

PICKLES...don't forget the pickles!!

We grilled on Hibachi's in college! We thought we were sooooo stylin! We would break the bank and buy mesquite chips and the flavor was so inviting. It's how my roommates and I met guys....they just followed their noses right to our balcony.

We have a transplanted Texas BBQ up here in the mountains and they have the most amazing smoked brisket. A couple of nights ago we went there for a concert and BBQ buffet. When they fire up their smoker it just wafts through the trees for days.... We just follow our noses. YUMMY! I buy the whole brisket with their wonderful seasoning smoked right in from them that I just roast up in my oven when company comes. It gives our home an aroma for a quite a while! We have twice baked potatoes with it, a cabbage/jimaca lime salad and corn on the cob. Homemade Cherry Pie Ala Mode too. LOVE IT!

MRoy
June 16th, 2014, 09:53 PM
I'd keep it simple so you can spend more time enjoying your company than cooking. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, corn on the cob, potato salad (or baked potatoes), baked beans, deviled eggs, chips, drinks, watermelon and dessert...and some good Bluegrass music!

BobW
June 16th, 2014, 11:40 PM
The first barbeque that I remember my dad having was an old 55 gallon barrel that he had cut a place for a lid out and put on hinges and mad a grate of heavy duty grating. He lined the bottom with fire bricks. He made a stand for it with pipe legs. My father grilled many things on this. Mutton, goat, buffalo, moose, elk, wild boar, bear, rattlesnake, and of course ribs and chicken. My favorite was the goat, it isn't as greasy as mutton.

My dad had friends that did "Big Game" hunting and they always ended up at our house for the grilling. I never ate the rattlesnake. I was always careful to know what was being cooked before I ate. LOL

Kerry Bo Berry
June 17th, 2014, 01:10 AM
Ryan, sounds like your backyard barbecue is turning into a nice potluck picnic!! Do you have room on the grill for beer can chicken?

I'd also have plenty of lawn chairs and sun screen on hand. And what about a game of whiffle ball?

Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 17th, 2014, 01:27 AM
Hey, folks, the guy may be superman but he isn't Martha Stewart! And he has a small child! He doesn't have time to put on a spread you would find in Good Housekeeping. Ryan, I'd add some mustard, ketchup, and hot dog buns from the grocery store to your original list, add some ice cream or watermelon, & call it good! The best cookouts are ones where it's low stress & everyone has fun. Paper napkins too.

Leah53
June 17th, 2014, 01:28 AM
In South Carolina our bbq's consists of pulled pork, hamburgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, baked beans and coleslaw and I always make my special potato salad, it's not really special I just put cucumbers in it and use mayo instead of mustard as southerners do.

It might be nice to have some wine coolers on hand for those that don't drink beer.

If you really want American, hamburgers, hotdogs and blueberry pie. Don't forget lettuce, tomato and onions for the hamburgers.

If it's just a small gathering, keep it simple so everyone is more relaxed and can mingle more, make it more about the friendship than the food.

Kgrammiecaz
June 17th, 2014, 01:38 AM
I'd keep it simple so you can spend more time enjoying your company than cooking. Hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, corn on the cob, potato salad (or baked potatoes), baked beans, deviled eggs, chips, drinks, watermelon and dessert...and some good Bluegrass music!

Totally agree. I have such great memories of all the games with the kids. And when I was younger games with our aunts and uncles and to be able to laugh at them while we played crazy games, many mentioned on this thread.

Food you can recreate any day. Time and fun create memories and keep is young.

Have fun at your barbque. I know it will be a blast.

stationarymom
June 17th, 2014, 01:58 AM
chicken is always a favorite. yes don't forget the chocolate bars and graham crackers.

HandsomeRyan
June 17th, 2014, 10:23 AM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions and sharing memories.

I use a gas grill because it is fast and easy which allows more time for me to enjoy the party (and as someone pointed out, help take care of my 4 month old son). I do have a wood-burning fire pit though so guests can do marshmallows and hot dogs over the real fire. I even used my metal fabricating stuff to make a hot dog cooker which looks like a stick figure with a large... well, you can imagine. Very popular with the kids.

While I love the suggestion of things like a bluegrass band, I think that is a little outside the scope of what we can put together by this weekend. I own two fiddles and a fretless banjo that once belonged to John McCutcheon but I can't play any of them well enough to put on a concert. I can probably hook my ipod up to a small boom box and play some bluegrass though. Not exactly the same thing as having the Dry Branch Fire Squad live with Alison Krauss in my backyard but it'll have to do.

I'm going to swing by joanns and pick up some of that red/white gingham plastic to put on the picnic table(s) and we probably will drink out of mason jars. My wife and I do a lot of canning when the garden comes in so we have plenty of them hanging around.

I had not really thought about corn but we will certainly put that on the list. Watermelon too.

Mrs. HandsomeRyan is in charge of the potato/pasta/etc. salads but I sent her a link to this thread (Hi Tabatha! :icon_wave:) so she can get some ideas. I think I know where I can get some eggs for deviling, although fresh eggs actually don't peel very well so I'll have to see if we have some old ones sitting around somewhere.

I'll get some cheap american beer (Coors Light or similar) and some not quite as cheap american beer (Sam Adams) and we told people to BYOB if you want something specific. (One of the attendees is from Louisiana and only wants Abita beer).

MayinJerset
June 17th, 2014, 11:07 AM
Oh Ryan, Your menu and activities sound wonderful.

You know I could arrange to swing by for a bit on our way to visit SIL in Leesburg, VA - just saying.....

Claire OneStitchAtATime
June 17th, 2014, 11:08 AM
Ryan, it sounds perfect.

Sheena
June 17th, 2014, 02:18 PM
to me a good BBQ is ONLY a 100% pure AA Grade,hormone free, Rib eye steak with Montreal Steak spice cooked medium well and a twice baked potato with Whiskey soaked BBQ smoked Ribs, and steamed Fiddle Heads, corn on the cob soaked in the husk overnight then bbq'd on the top rack of the BBQ while the ribs are almost done smokin. Really good music playing all day...preferably a life band

THEN all of your family and friends, a kiddie pool filled with ice, vodka coolers and beer and lots of fun lawn games for the kids ....sack races, egg and spoon races, one leg races, volleyball and badminton. Oh and later a bonfire with guitars and lots of singing of great country and blue grass!!

THAT would be my dream BBQ...Canadian or otherwise!

Oh and Watermelon goes without saying.

Righty ho then Wendy. I'm coming round to yours. I'll bring elderflower cordial, quince jelly and damson wine.

MRoy
June 17th, 2014, 02:28 PM
Ryan, your plan sounds like a winner to me! Do as much as you can ahead of time and enjoy your time with friends and family!!

bakermom
June 17th, 2014, 02:38 PM
good start! Maybe add baked beans, roasted sweet corn. Our picnics always include homemade ice cream!

maxwellthecat
June 18th, 2014, 01:26 AM
Friends and family
chicken on the grill, corn on the cob, tri color pasta, macaroni, potato salad and cole slaw.
My favorite is seedless watermelon

auntiemern
June 18th, 2014, 03:11 AM
Your plans sound wonderful. Although now that Tab has a broken leg, some of her duties may be put on someone else. Love the menu you have. Ours generally consists, burgers, brats, and hot dogs. We do like to do chicken and pork steaks too (those are a St.Louis thing. Outside of St. Louis no one has heard of them.) They are pork butts that are cut about 1/2" thick. Wonderful bbqed. Corn on the cob, baked beans and my potato salad. Those are the staples...we add other things depending on the number of people, and who likes what. Most of all, have fun and just go with the flow.

Madeforyouinma11
June 18th, 2014, 08:34 AM
We are having a backyard BBQ for my daughters 30th birthday party this weekend. Our menus is going to be hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken wings, pasta salad, potato salad, cole slaw, and watermelon. We will have the fixings for s'mores for later over the fire. We are also going to use mason jars for everyone's drinks. We added a tag to each one so people can put their names on them and those will be for them to keep. We will play horseshoes and corn hole, and have some country music playing in the background. I think she'll enjoy it...at least I hope she does.
Whatever you do, I'm sure it'll be wonderful. Having friends and food of any kind will make a wonderful day for all who attend.

Mpyles
June 18th, 2014, 08:52 AM
Hershey bars and graham crackers!