"The Social Network of the South"
I can’t believe I fell for it. Friends, who have transplanted themselves from “another part of the country,” invited us over for “barbecue.” BBQ. Bar-B-Que. However you want to spell it or say it, I was a happy camper. I think over the years, barbecue has tied with fried fish as one of my all time favorite meals.
We are blessed to live in barbecue heaven with many good restaurants ready to do the work for us. Dreamland, in Mobile, is a favorite stop for my car, as well as Sprayberry’s in Newnan Georgia. I’m not even opposed to Big Bob Gibson’s white sauce when I’m in the north part of the state.
So I prepared for the tastiest meal of the week with great seriousness. A dark colored shirt was a must, since barbecue is known to drip, and I’m known to spill. My contribution was potato salad, a good cool counter balance to the spicy sauce.
The only question that remained and I played in my head like a guessing game was what type of meat would it be? Chicken? Pulled pork? Ribs? It was like trying to guess if I were getting rubies, sapphires or emeralds. They’re all fine with me!
We were warmly greeted and ushered to the backyard where the grill was already puffing away, and I inhaled deeply for the first of what was sure to be an aromatic and gastronomic high.
But something wasn’t quite right. The air was thick with a delicious smell, but something was askew. And then, the host lifted the lid off the grill, and in slow motion horror, I realized this was no “barbecue” – it was a “cook-out” with hamburgers!
I didn’t know what to say, so I just sat there a little shocked. My husband knew exactly what I was thinking, and since he was raised by people who are from “another part of the country” he quickly figured out why I had a tear running down my cheek and shot me a look that said, “Don’t say anything, I’ll explain later.”
I ate my burger, which was very good, and tried not to openly sulk.
Apparently, when some people say, “Let’s barbecue,” they really mean, “Why don’t you come over for a COOK-OUT” or “come over and we will GRILL some burgers.” They casually and irreverently toss the word “barbecue” around to mean all sorts of things not even remotely associated with sauce.
Now that I’ve been made aware of this civil war of outdoor cookery, I’ve noticed this misuse of the term in other places. I spotted the headline, “Time for a summer barbecue” in a slick national magazine, and sure enough there were photos of juicy steaks. That’s not barbecue, folks.
I think these anti-barbecue people know exactly what they are doing and are just poking at us southerners.
I’m going to invite these same people over for polenta and give them grits and see how they like it.