How to Win the Labor Day BBQ

Peak outdoor grilling season is upon us, and with a little effort and a little vision, you can tie the proverbial room together by following one of these five game plans.

Andrew Paine Bradbury

We’re nearing summer’s last stand. Hopefully you’re eating outside, amongst friends. And sure, casual cookouts are a hallmark of summer. But with a little effort and a little vision, you can tie the proverbial room together by following one of these five plans…


A Lone Star Night

That old saw about things being bigger in Texas obviously extends to barbecue. This for when you feel like grabbing the bull by the horns.
To Eat: Brisket, beef ribs, burnt ends, jalapeño sausages, German potato salad, baked beans.
To Drink: Jalapeño margaritas, vodka lemonades, Shiner.

To Hear: Willie and Waylon, Lightnin’ Hopkins, early ZZ Top.
To Wear: Denim shirt and swim trunks.
To Avoid: Boots, bolo ties, overzealous law enforcement types.


Your South American Churrasco

Celebrate South America with this highly carnivorous gaucho-style spread. It’s barbecue the cowboy way.
To Eat: Pichana, skirt steak, blood sausage, ensalada rusa, lots of chimichurri.
To Drink: Caipirinhas and Malbec.
To Hear: Sixties bossa nova, ranchero.
To Wear: Vintage Santos FC jersey.
To Avoid: Mosquito-borne diseases.


The Polynesian Excursion

Wherever you are, there’s always that nagging feeling that things might be slightly better on an island in the South Pacific. Turn your backyard into Bali Ha’i and enjoy the breeze.
To Eat: Hawaiian roast pig, Ahi poke, kettle chips, lots and lots of fresh pineapple.
To Drink: Mai Tais and fresh Piña Coladas.

To Hear: Google “vintage Hawaiian music” and prepare to swoon at the moon.
To Wear: Flowered shirt, board shorts, flip-flops.
To Avoid: Spam. (Apologies to authenticity, but…)


Soul of the South

Capture the glory that is Carolina barbecue with plenty of swine and vinegary sauce. Bonus points when eaten under a magnolia tree.
To Eat: Pulled pork, spare ribs, vinegar slaw.
To Drink: Bourbon and Cheerwine.

To Hear: The complete Stax back catalog.
To Wear: Crisp whites soon to be covered in BBQ sauce.
To Avoid: Socks. Controversial flags.


The All-American

Nothing wrong with the classics. That’s why they’re classic.
To Eat: Burgers, dogs, mixed greens, apple pie a la mode.
To Drink: Canned domestic, California chardonnay.
To Hear: Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Springsteen.
To Wear: Bermudas, Polo shirt, Patriotic smile.
To Avoid: Trying to make anything “great again.”