The Art of The BBQ Pick-Up

A Summer BBQ Is a Great Way to Get Things Cooking
with That Hottie with the Body
By Jim DeBellis, Photo credit: fotolia / Monkey Business

Spring is for falling in love and winter is for making love. But summer is the time to party, have fun, and impress the girls with your masculine talents and abilities. Tender gazes in a breezy meadow of wildflowers are great, and so are those long passionate hours between the sheets on those cold winter nights – but nothing beats summer fun – playing volleyball on the beach, cruising in a vintage convertible, or getting the gang together in the backyard for a game of horseshoe and some ice cold beers.

And, of course, all that vigorous activity brings on those ravenous appetites for some great summer BBQ. That’s where a man can shine. You might not be Betty Crocker in the kitchen, but every man needs to be a king of outdoor cooking. It’s long been said that the way to a man’s heart is though his stomach, but it’s equally true that the way to a woman’s heart (and some of her other prime real estate) is through cooking meat over a real fire in the great outdoors.

Whether it’s your own party, a group get-together at a park or beach, or someone else’s bash, a cookout always gives you an opportunity to be a take-charge man who will capture the attention of all the sweet young ladies.  And a lot of guys and girls will be happy to let you light the coals or flip the meat if you’re just visiting too.

You’ll need to focus on two things: great food and skillful but natural pick-up techniques.

The Food

Let’s start with the food. Even if you’ve never thrown a hotdog on a grill before, from this day forward you are a BBQ expert. You must have at least one specialty in outdoor cooking (and, no, it can’t be hotdogs) and a secret recipe, technique, or a sauce with a secret ingredient.

Starting the fire

If starting a fire were as easy as twisting a knob or pushing a button, with no soot or ashes involved, women would just do it themselves – and plenty of them do it all the time anyway. But a BBQ gives her a chance to be a “girl” and you a chance to be a caveman. The ladies can bring the potato salad and the beans, and you can buy, bring, and cook the meat.

If you’re cooking with propane, no problem. It’s still a mechanical device and a real flame, so a real man is needed. Just make sure you have plenty of gas, a clean grill, and know how to light it.

Hardwood charcoal is always better than briquettes, but the main thing is to get a nice hot bed of coals going. Five pounds of charcoal is enough for only about three pounds of meat so don’t be stingy with the coals or the meat won’t cook. If you don’t have a starter chimney, pile the coals into a pyramid in an ash-free grill, soak them well with lighter fluid, then (and this is important) wait for three to five minutes, and then light them with a long match or fireplace lighter. If the flames don’t singe your eyelashes, then you waited long enough. After about 30 minutes, spread them out and start cooking. Never add lighter fluid along the way, or the meat will taste like chemicals, but you can add several fresh coals before you start a second round of meat. Don’t stir the coals unless you want ashes on your meat.

Cooking the meat

Steaks, chicken, chops, ribs, and burgers are always popular. Marinated meat is always a good idea for grilling to ensure you have a moist and properly seasoned entrée. If you are not an expert, ask someone who is or look on the Internet for cooking instructions for your selected meat, because it is important that you have the confidence to look like a Zen master at the grill. Using a meat thermometer is not only a good idea, it will make you look even more professional and ensure that you don’t serve raw meat to your friends.

BBQ ribs, pulled pork, and other sauced delicacies are also popular. To save time at the grill, it is a good idea to bake ribs in the oven in a foil-covered baking pan at a low temperature (about 250 F) for a couple of hours before the party, or even in the morning. This will get rid of a lot of the fat and allow them to cook to nicely in the same time it takes to cook raw chicken. Once they are done, you can sauce them and put them back in a covered baking pan with the grill closed (but top and bottom vents open) to soak in the sauce.

There are a lot of good jar sauces, but you always need to at least “doctor” it up to make it taste homemade. Caramelized onions, the juice of an orange, a drop or two of liquid smoke, and maybe a dash of hot sauce can make all the difference. BBQ is a sweet and sour sauce, so you can always add a splash of vinegar and/or brown sugar or honey to suit the local taste. Ketchup with brown sugar, vinegar, granulated garlic, sautéed onions or onion soup mix, a couple of large dollops of apricot preserves, and a small bottle of Russian dressing can also be used to create or dress up an ordinary BBQ sauce. Just don’t tell them everything that’s in it, because it’s very mysterious and cool to have your own secret recipe.

Get the Girl

Okay…let’s not forget about the reason for all of this preparation and hard work – getting the girl!

The chef is like a deejay or the drummer in the band, especially if he is the one doling out the burgers or chicken legs or other delicious meat. You will get comments from curious ladies all throughout the cooking process when they hear the sizzle and smell the aroma – so take advantage of every big-eyed smile and every question about what’s cooking and when it will be done. Find out about her, what she likes to cook, and if she can save you a seat at her table.

A lot of ladies are very interested in grilling but intimidated by the fire and the outdoor cooking environment – so invite one to help you out. Give her the tongs or spatula and let her turn each item over while you run to get two beers. Or maybe she can get a serving plate from the house so you can load it up with cooked food. Helping an outdoor chef with dangerous manly tasks is the next best thing to getting on the back of a Harley for her – but it will fascinate and excite her just as much. Just don’t ruin it by asking her to do any of the cleanup – just let her watch how the expert does it.

If you aren’t the chef, a BBQ is still a great way to meet girls. If you see her pumping the keg without the tap open, you can explain to her that it will make the beer foamy if she does that. Then open the tap, let the foam run off, and fill her glass perfectly with just the right amount of head by pumping only when it’s open. Or kick her beer over and then offer to get her a new one (and one for yourself too).

Jump on her side in a volleyball game, challenge her to badminton, or teach her how to throw horseshoes. Even if she knows, she will be happy for the tips and the company and a good challenge.

Then when things are cooling down, get the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars out of your car. Melt a couple marshmallows on a stick over the dying coals in the grill, and bring her an ooey-gooey s’more to eat with you while the others look on in envy.

Sometimes the best dating tips have nothing to do with your sexy moves and clever comments and everything to do with just letting her observe you being a guy. The summer BBQ is one of those great opportunities. And those outdoor cooking skills will serve you well right into the fall when you invite your new summer love to go tailgating with you before the big football game.