It’s BBQ and party season [NOT 29/5/22]

Hi, friends!

Happy Sunday, I hope your weekend is going well.

Theme of tonight is what do you like to bring to summer parties? Is there something you enjoy that you typically only eat at summer parties despite no reason you couldn’t make it other times?

A word on etymology. In my chunk of the Midwest, we just say BBQ to mean anything you cook on a grill. You’re making hotdogs and burgers? BBQ. Pork steaks? BBQ. Pulled pork or chicken? BBQ. Does it matter if charcoal pit or gas grill? Nope. Does it have to have BBQ sauce even on it? Nope, but needs to be available and sweet. Fuck off with those vinegar-based sauces.

I learned when I lived in Alabama that people in other regions are very invested on what exactly a BBQ is and other things are just cookouts or grilling. I mean no offense, but the people from Alabama and Mississippi and North Carolina were arguing about what is a BBQ vs a cookout and those folks couldn’t even agree to it, so I’m not bothering to change my Midwestern ways for the wording here.

Anyways, I like to bring things that are easy to serve or nibble on. One of my fave are these mini corn pudding muffins. I don’t get why the recipe only has 3 stars, I have to fight not to eat them all. Also you can just toss them on a plate for people to grab.

Another thing I love is a three bean salad, but often locally you add sliced sweet pepper and celery. Also you’d be totally okay just using the salad dressing sold from local Italian restaurants instead of your own vinaigrette.

In true Midwestern fashion, it’s always good to have a mayonnaise-based salad, too. Wouldn’t be a party without it. This one is a great way to eat some veggies between mainlining the chops and ranch dip.



  1. Well, a Bundt cake is always appropriate (ducks and covers). I bring caprese skewers, wraps filled with whatever and sliced bite-sized, something vegan, and the fixings for yummy cocktails. Probably flowers for the host.

  2. I have never brought a Bundt cake to a summer gathering but this is genius. I have brought ice cream cakes but I could make them in a Bundt pan…I usually bring cold pasta salads (two versions, one with meat and one without) and lots of wine.

    • You bring a bundt cake to my summer gathering, which consists of me.  Set it down on the table over there and then back away slowly.  Now you can let yourself out.  You’re not gonna want to see what happens next.

    • I’ve learned this weekend that people crack a bunch of eggs into a tube pan and then cook it in their Insta-Pot into a ring o’ hard boiled egg. You could easily do this and then slice it into slabs for egg sandwiches, etc.

      You could maybe do this with a bundt pan and have the dual benefit of great risk of food poisoning from cooked eggs sitting out at room temp aaaannnnnddd the horror of bundt pan usage for some folks!

  3. Beer.Wine.

    Forgot to prepare? Bunch of pickles. Had time to prepare? German potato salad in honor of my fractional bit of German heritage — cubed red potatoes skin on, diced onion, chopped pickles with a pickle juice and oil dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Vegan, no mayo, high acid so low food poisoning risk, boom, done.

  4. Northern Midwest, backing you up on that Barbecue thing, Brighter!

    It’s ALL Barbecue, just a variation on type–making Ribs, Brisket, smoking something, or grilling the ubiquitous burgers, brats, corn, & hot dogs!😉


    My personal fave?

    Bicolor sweet corn–you soak the corn (husk ON!), in some salted water for at least an hour or so, pull off any bits of dangling husk or corn silk (so they don’t catch fire), then grill the corn–IN the husk!–until it’s done, peel back the husk, slather the cob with butter & salt–OR Elote fixins’, and eat it while it’s warm & fresh off the grill😍😁🤤

  5. And the BEST summer party food I’ve had was always the hog roast.

    Where I grew up, my uncle was one of thd guys who had a “hog roaster”… actually a steel fuel-oil drum cut in half horizontally, then hinged, with a spit-mechanism large enough to hold a whole hog placed inside.

    The roaster typically also has a flap torch-cut out of the lower 1/4, with some heat-capable metal mesh put down there, so that a bed of coals can be laid in the bottom to cook the hog for the necessary 18-36 hours (depending on the size of the hog).

    Because my uncle used to be one of the guys around town who owned a roaster, and he was OFTEN one of the guys hired to cook for folks who wanted to celebrate with a community hog roast, it was just something I grew up around as a “normal” way to celebrate something big…

    I realized exactly how *atypical* my childhood had been–having hog roasts at least once a summer, where 100-200+ folks got together at someone’s farm, had a party in one of the barns/outbuildings, with the hog roast, a couple 6′ livestock water tanks loaded up with ice–one for beer/alcohol for the adults & one for soda & hug juices for the kids, a couple kegs of beer set in round stock tanks & surrounded with trash-bags full of ice, & tables full of potluck dishes to fill every one up…

    I only realized how *odd* my childhood had been, with all those hog roasts, when we had one in my old exurban neighborhood… a bunch of neighbors pitched in, when one of the guys (a caterer) decided to make a hog roaster to use in a new catering venture. None of the other neighbors *except* the caterer had ever to been to more than one hog roast, except for me…apparently they weren’t  quite as widespread across the rest of the midwest in the 70’s & 80’s, as they’d been in West-Central Minnesota–where you celebrated Weddings, Graduations, the end of Stock-Car racing season, and darn-near any other occasion where you needed to feed 100+ people, with a whole slow-roasted hog😉

    • That is amazing. Have you ever been to a luau? It’s very different, lauas (the commercial ones that tourists to Hawaii pay big bucks to attend) usually include some explanation of Hawaiians and their beliefs, the food you are about to eat, hula demonstrations, natch, and other entertainment, often some acts not actually found in traditional Hawaiian culture but vaguely Polynesian. But where they are crucially similar is that a whole roasted hog is prepared and consumed in a celebratory way.

      • Never been outside the continental US yet, and MN doesn’t yet have much of a Hawaiian population (or many AAPI folks of any type-we have large groups of folks from *continental* Asia, though!😉😁🤗💖), so sadly no Luaus.

        Otoh, though?

        Since we DO have so many awesome folks who’ve come from Laos, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, etc, we *do* have an EXCEPTIONAL bunch of restaurants, markets, & grocery stores which sell SUCH GOOD foods from all over that part of the world😉😁


        Our Banh-mi, Boba, Pastries, and broken-rice (Com Tam) are ALL top-tier😉


        And ^that’s^ just a TINY sample of the wonderful things we can get from South EAST Asia, here in the MSP-metro–to say nothing about the central, southern, & southwestern Asian foods we can get here!! (Annnnd then, there are the Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean, African, Central-American & South-American restaurants, stores, specialty shops, & markets!😁😍🤤🤗💖

        The food culture & the truly WONDERFUL amount of folks who’ve shared their food traditions over the decades around here, is one of the very BEST parts of living in the MSP area💖💫💝

      • I guess that was just part of what I meant by the “potluck” segment of the part I mentioned😉😁💖


        Desserts & bars by the  1/2-sheet pan (because who *doesn’t* have at least 4 half-sheets in their cupboard as their basic cookie-baking pans?!?…

        Bundts may be the coffee-cake pan of choice, but the good ‘ol 1/2-sheet pan is an absolute necessity in any *adequate* kitchen–it takes ya from baking a cake or decent brownie, to those cookies… roasting some pieces of chicken, holding your waffles & pancakes nice & warm in the oven, *AND* roasting ALL the veggies you could ever wanna roast & caramelize in your oven.

        literally the jack (or jill!)-of-all-trades, for any well-equipped kitchen!😉

        And just for funsies–a great “cakey” brownie recipe tailored to work *perfectly* in that ‘ol 1/2-sheet;


        That one is my Grandma’s recipe–the one that the guys in the family will eat frosting-less, with a slice of Bongard’s American cheese, instead💖

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