There’s nothing worse than a really horrible mean
charred over-done meat and store bought potato salad.
North East Cook-Out: An Atrocious Excuse For A Barbeque
It’s been a while since I wrote a rant about fine food and drink, and Memorial Day and the tradition of cooking out during the summer is good topic to reignite this flame and what once was a popular feature on The Fedora Chronicles Main Site. My appearance on Tuesday’s Covino & Rich on Sirius XM on this topic was just the tip of iceberg. If you missed it: The Dudebros were talking about a topic that’s dear to my heart: dreadful cook-outs and the sorry excuse for what’s inappropriately called “barbeque” here in The North East, and how we should be stepping up. They described what’s the standard fair at almost every house hold: Some lame hamburger patties and hot dogs on the grill served up with some goop that shouldn’t even be allowed to be called Potato Salad and Cole Slaw that’s obviously store bought.
You can tell it’s store bought and inedible because it has the discoloring on the surface. You eat that, you’re playing a sad game of culinary roulette with the losers getting a bad case of food poisoning.
Other regions through out the country (if not the world) do it better then the North East which includes The New England States, New York, New Jersey and perhaps Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. The jury is still out about the latter three, but I can say with disgusted confidence that the rest of them need a swift kick in the apron covered butt.
When I was put on the air, I said: What we call “cook-out” and Barbeque is a further example of the derogation of modern society, an example of how lazy and complacent we’ve become, and settling for that slop shows us how our constant striving for “convenience” has forced us to settle for food that’s not even fit for prisoners of war.
Food Is An Adventure: Cook Accordingly And Bring A Fedora...
How hard is it to go to the local butcher and get good quality meat? How hard is it to actually shop for your cook-out and actually buy things that are actually worthy of your time and palette? After some experimentation and investigation, eventually it’s easier to find products that are a joy to purchase and you can be proud to serve to family and friends. The usual fair is depressing and makes what should be an excellent experience dull and one has to force himself to get involved. Why bother getting the cheap stuff, just sit on the couch and order in. The usual fair is not worth the effort.
Also, what’s so difficult about buying a few dozen chicken wings and letting them marinade in something as simple as Frank’s Red Hot sauce and cooking the Buffalo Sauce concoction on the grill? The Broiler is fine for the other three seasons out of the year… but if you want to know how it’s really supposed to taste, cook them over some charcoal briquettes or natural gas!
There’s nothing like a good steak that’s cooked over an open flame. Even lesser quality beef slabs can be enhanced and turned into delectable delights for the carnivores in your clan. The way the fat and other juices fall into the heat and sizzle and the smell? There’s a reason why we love cooking meat outdoors, it’s because it reawakens something primal and primitive, and you’re denying or senses with anything less then quality beef or meat.
As for the sides? If you plan your life accordingly, you can make potato salad or cole slaw in the same amount of time it takes you to drive to the store, wait in line at the deli counter for your number to be called, get the goop put into the plastic pail, wait at the check out counter before it paying for it, then drive home. I have no doubt that the vast majority of the people reading this post is disgusted with lame cook-outs with store bought gunk. If someone served you that same stuff in a restaurant, you would send it back to the kitchen before calling the health department.
Experimentation and Ingenuity.
Try new things like roasting vegetables or kebabs. Try cooking anything on the grill besides the same old dreadful slabs of ground chuck and baloney links. This is where your imagination should run wild and throw things over an open flame. The North East invented "The Lobster and Clam Bake," then mastered it - take that same ingenuity to the grill. Maybe soak a lobster in Old Bay Seasoning before throwing it on the grill. Try the same with shrimp.
There is also a whole section of your local supermarket with rubs and seasoning. There are racks with sauces that come in jars. People pour their souls and life's work into glass bottles in the hopes that they can have a chance at making your next cook-out something to remember. Give them a shot and dare...
In The Culinary Arena - Demand More From Your Self
Cooking outdoors is something special. Cooking in general is an experience we take for granted. Every time you eat it should be an experience as an event that should be enjoyed and done with the same kind of passion you desire put into other aspects of your life. You want to live boldly, you should cook and eat boldly. Don’t you deserve better? For my Fedora Chronicles readers… you won’t settle for a Dorfman lid for the rest of your life? Why do you put up with lame food on a holiday like Memorial Day or The Fourth Of July? Or even a Saturday or Sunday?
Don’t you deserve the best? Don’t you deserve better? If you don’t know how to cook, put your talents and zest for a better life to work and learn. For those of you who want to share your favorite cook out ideas or Barbeque receipts - start your own thread on The Forum under “Anything Goes.”
Keep your chin up, and the burners on.