Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Basics of Barbecue

Have I ever told you about my kids?
I’ve been blessed with three, each of whom has made me immensely proud as they reached adulthood.

Readers of this newspaper are most likely to know of the one who bears my name, Rod Jr., my oldest son. “RJ”, as he is often called, has followed closely in my footsteps, working with me as both a newspaper editor and political consultant. Despite this obvious error in judgment, I am proud of him. Everyone who works with him in either field – newspaper or politics – comes away impressed with his skills.

My step-daughter, Amy, has spent the last two years as a public school teacher in Charleston and Berkeley counties. She earned her Masters from the College of Charleston in Early Childhood Education, and has a passion for helping to develop young minds that few possess. She, too, has made me very proud.

And then there is my second son, Ross, who some have a hard time believing is my son at all, due to (a) his distinguished stint in the military, and (b) his apparent normal lifestyle. While it’s true that I personally have a hard time wrapping my mind around things like the military or a normal, 9-to-5 job, I am nonetheless both proud of and impressed with his accomplishments. He graduated from Annapolis, served as a U.S. Navy submarine officer, taught Naval Sciences at the University of South Carolina, and is now enrolled in Law School.

A while back, however, I discovered that Ross does have one redeeming departure from normalcy: he writes a very popular blog entitled “Barbecue and Politics” (scbarbecue.blogspot.com).

While his political commentary is insightful and entertaining, his reviews of Barbecue establishments from across the state are critical in answering one of life’s most fundamental questions: “Where can you get the best Barbecue?”

Since, as the old saying goes, “the apple don’t fall too far from the tree”, I’m pretty sure I, too, have some useful BBQ knowledge to impart. And, now that Memorial Day is passed, and we’re well into Barbecue season, I thought I would review some of the Bar-B-Q basics to help you get your summertime off to a good start.

Let me emphasize that it is NOT necessary for everyone to memorize these BBQ basics… only if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, in which case it is a critical and necessary part of surviving.

BBQ Basic #1: There are about ten different ways to spell barbecue, and they are all correct: Barbecue, Barbeque, Bar-B-Cue, Bar-B-Que, Bar-B-Q, BBQ, etc. Fact of the matter is, it’s danged near impossible to MISspell the word.

BBQ Basic #2: It is not always necessary to capitalize the word Barbecue… only when it is written, spoken, or dreamt of.

BBQ Basic #3: There are three officially-recognized kinds of sauce -- Mustard-based, ketchup-based, and vinegar-based – and the vinegar stuff don’t always count.

BBQ Basic #4: Cooking slabs of pork, beef, poultry, etc., over a fire is “Barbecuing”; Cooking hotdogs or hamburgers on a grill is “grilling”… although the term “barbecue” has been Yankeefied to erroneously refer to the latter as the former. (Note: It’s not proper to capitalize the word “barbecue” when you’re erroneously referring to “grilling out”.)

BBQ Basic #5: Barbecue is good.

BBQ Basic #6: Barbecue is also fattening. Get over it.

BBQ Basic #7: The word Barbecue can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adjective. In some counties, also an interjection.

BBQ Basic #8: Summertime is Barbecue time. If you’re in the South, and you do NOT eat Barbecue on Memorial Day, July Fourth, or Labor Day… hope you enjoyed your stay, now you can go back up North.

BBQ Basic #9: There are only a few acceptable foods to eat along with Barbecue: Hash and rice, baked beans, sliced bread, coleslaw, and hush puppies. If anyone tries to pawn off anything else on you (i.e. – French fries, salad, baked potato, etc.), tell’em to take it back and bring you some HASH!

BBQ Basic #10: Barbecuing is a skill… a lot like rocket science. Don’t try it at home. Leave it to the professionals. (If you have any trouble finding a place to eat Barbecue, feel free to send me an email: RodShealy@aol.com. I’ll consult with my young’uns and let you know the best place for you.)

Have a good summer.


Rodney said...


Shouldn't #5 be: Barbecue ARE good", since one never eats it in the singular?

Anonymous said...

Rod, you have raised a fine family. Although many people take politics very personal and we have competed I think you are a good guy. I do not know your sons but Rod, Jr must be good, and Ross well, there are tremendous hurdles that go into selection of USMA grads and he obviously is top notch. I do know Amy and she is a gem, I was glad to hear of her career taking off after all that school.

I always admire your out of the box style, but must caution you that your BBQ skills are in question, as are any South Carolinians. LOL

Take care, and good job with the family leadership. It is a side of you we have rarely seen but I am impressed.....again.