Memorial Day Weekend is finally here! While Monday serves as the time we set aside to honor the men and women of the armed forces, the weekend serves as the unofficial kick-off to backyard barbecue season.
You don’t want to kick off the season with a lame cookout, right?
The No Coast Bias crew likes to think of themselves as the epitome of chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool, so we wanted to make sure you could be sure to do the same while the sun is shining this weekend. These are the things that are absolute must-haves to have a successful barbecue this summer.
I’m not typically one for small talk, especially at a bbq and especially especially if I don’t know a good portion of the people there. As much fun as it is to repeat what I do for a living and who I work for over and over, I’d much rather eat and drink while maybe chatting with the few people I know, or at possibly talking with one person I don’t know in an effort to get to know them better, as opposed to a group of people.
This is why a game, whether it be something like Corn Hole, Ladder Golf, Polish Horseshoes, etc. is essential to any bbq. When I’m at a cookout (or really any gathering) I want to do three things: drink, eat good food, and talk shit. A yard game as the ones mentioned above, allow me to do all three in equal measure. You can play most while drinking, can eat in between when you’re playing and when someone else is playing, and can either talk trash to your partner (if you know them) or partner with someone you don’t know all that well and get to know them during the game.
This also provides watchers with entertainment as well. It’s easier to converse when you have something in the background to pay attention to during those lulls in conversation, and can act as a conversation restarter if things are falling flat.
Some people will tell you they don’t like such games at cookouts and parties. Those people are probably just bad at them, and don’t like to get embarrassed in front of people. That’s fine – you can stand over by the food table and talk about your latest work endeavor that nobody really cares about no matter how much they pretend to. I’ll be over at the Corn Hole boards knocking down triples.
The one, fully indispensable item you need to have, in order to fully maximize the Memorial Day turn up: a cooler.
It doesn’t matter what kind of cooler.
It can be one of those $350 joints that has a GPS-enables, solar power blender attached, blue tooth speaker, and can literally turn into a defibrilator in an emergency situation. Or it can be that dented green rust box that your parents used to force you and your brother to load into the family canoe before slow-cooking your teenage ass on a 6-hour trip down a crawling river.
But whatever the type, you’ve got to have one if you’re trying to . They’re the five tool players of any summer event. The jack off all trades, holding Jack of all flavors.
There are few better feelings than the one you get when the May sky unfurls up above you — panoramic, azure runway ready to take you anywhere you want to go this summer — and you reach down into a cooler and wrap your hands around 2 almost painfully cold drinks, one for you and one to share. That’s all the cooler. Bottoms up.
There are only two things you need to ensure you have a good barbecue (or party in general): some drinks and some good music.
If the food is bad, if the weather isn’t perfect, if your crew never came through, if you got worked by that dude no one really wanted to show up in bean bag toss; none of it matters if you’ve got some drinks and a good playlist working for you.
Think about any good party or cookout you’ve been to in the past few years. Chances are someone who knows what they are doing was running the music and they had your brand of brew. The type of music played is crucial to having a good time.
If y’all came to my house for a cookout I can’t promise the burgers wouldn’t be overcooked and I couldn’t promise you the mosquitoes wouldn’t bite, but you better believe I’m coming with a 30 rack of ice-cold Rolling Rock and a playlist filled with the best hip hop and R&B from the 90’s and mid-2000’s.
I’m sure the rest of the crew will have the basics covered, from the perfect playlist to the greatest of side dishes, but my pick for most invaluable “thing” at a BBQ is seasoning. Too often I’ve been to a BBQ and the host is preparing the food with little to no seasoning on their food.
A sprinkle of salt and a shake of pepper is not seasoning your meats. When I bite down into my burger I want to be smacked in the face with flavor, not the taste of a dried out Bubba Burger. So if you invite me over for your cook out I better have a one way bus ticket to Flavortown, otherwise our friendship is in serious jeopardy.
Pump up the nostalgia to 11 and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Come correct with a handful of stories you and your boys can wax poetic about, and you’re bound to have the cold ones flowing and the time flying by.
Sure, that girl you were seeing that one time gets a little crazier and hotter each time out, and “that one night” isn’t nearly as wild as you make it out to be, but who cares.
Since nobody huddles around a water cooler anymore and most socializing happens on the interwebz now days, this is your chance to tell a few tall tales like the days of yore.