I love a good barbecue. And it’s not because – as a Black dude – I’m supposed to. Seriously; who doesn’t enjoy the inviting aroma of sizzling animal flesh moonwalking across warm sunshine on a nice day? And don’t get me started on the God-given greatness that is barbecue sauce. No, I don’t enjoy barbecues simply because I’m Black, but because I’m an American. With that said, show me a man who dislikes barbecues and all they entail and I’ll report him to Homeland Security because he’s obviously a terrorist. Or at the very least, he’s a guy with bad taste. He’s the type of fellow that doesn’t eat at McDonald’s because he has to, but because he’s lovin’ it. But that’s neither here nor there.
Unlike the picnic – which can happen virtually anywhere as long as you have food and a place to sit – the barbecue is more of a family gathering than anything else. Throw some meat on the grill, gather up your loved ones and give birth to some life-long memories. But before you dash to the local bodega corner market for briskets and beer, bear in mind that creating the perfect barbecue is much like creating the perfect storm: all the elements must be aligned correctly for maximum performance.
Allow me to assure you that barbecuing isn’t something that men take lightly. Over the years, plenty of guys have had their masculinity passes revoked over not knowing how to grill up a burger or seer a flank steak. All you have to do is watch TV to see the high regard that barbecues are held at, no matter the race, religion, or culture of the participants. And if you weren’t designed with natural BBQ prowess, step aside and let a more experienced captain helm the ship. Not many things worse than a grown man being teased for not being able to cook. There are a few things, but not many. I’ve hosted a few barbecues in my day, and after years of denial, I can admit I had no idea what I was doing. God bless my wife and kids for eating all that burnt meat in loving silence. Or fear. Either way, sorry guys.
Equally as important as who does the cooking is who you invite. The perfect barbecue should have the perfect mix of people. Poor planning may result in a gathering full of nothing but leeches and moochers — you know, the homies. That’s a waste of an impromptu reunion. There should be family as well as close friends, children, and most importantly, old people. Old people are the social glue that holds our immature civilization together, and not enough folks hold this to be true. talking to old people about stuff is one of the best ways to gain wisdom about this crazy life we live. So, take this barbecue-tastic opportunity to fill your favorite senior citizen with slightly burnt chicken and learn a thing or two. In hindsight, they kept the elements balanced. I know this because the ‘cues I attended that didn’t have any old people usually ended early with gunfire or fistfights. But as I move toward wise older age and away from being dumb and young, I’m beginning to appreciate being old. And if the youth are any indication of the future, we – as senior citizens – will have no chance at survival…so turn up now while you still can.
Once the food and the guest list is adequately taken care of, the last element is the ambience. The background noise that pulls everything together. When it comes to a barbecue, that proverbial adhesive could only be music. Loud and pulsating. Music plays an important role in people’s lives and it only makes sense that the cherry atop your creation be the sonic inspiration that seems to fuel the very things we do, be them positive or negative. Keep in mind that the temperature of the party will likely now dictated by the playlist. Avoid gangsta rap and R.Kelly and all things should work out as expected. And don’t forget a ball to keep the children occupied.
A good friend once told me that music is the most powerful force in the universe. After I thought about it, I believe he is absolutely right. Music can make you laugh, cry, cheer up, wind down; the gamut is endless. Take a look around and see how music changes things. And people. So, it only makes total sense that a barbecue needs music – played loudly – in order to reach its full potential. Ever been to a quiet bbq? If so, that wasn’t a bbq, it was a repast.
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