5 Reasons Family Barbecues ROCK

Lindsay Mannering
Food & Party

family BBQHappy fourth of July! I hope you're grilling today. Family barbecues are the best, aren't they? The hot dogs, the Popsicles, the uncle that gets inappropriately drunk and takes his shirt off ... ah, memories. There's just nothing like the combination of fire, charcoal, meat and family to really get things going.

I don't want to get all weepy over some family grill time, but I really cherish some moments we've had. I love sitting outside on plastic lawn furniture, watching the lightning bugs light up, listening to the tree frogs wake up, and stuffing my face with rare burgers (just the way I like it!) and a bevvy of mayonnaise-centered sides. The fourth of July is just about the most perfect holiday there is for family BBQs, so without further ado, here are five reasons family barbecues freaking ROCK.

1. The ketchup. I'm sorry, but who doesn't like ketchup? It goes on everything, goes with everything, and I dare say it makes everything better. Family barbecues totally rock because ketchup gets on everything from your tank top to your hot dog to your watermelon to your potato salad and it's awesome. There needs to be more occasions where bottles of our favorite red stuff are just lying around, begging to be squirted on all our food.

2. The sides. There are only so many hamburgers I can eat (three) but the amount of side dishes I can take down is impressive. Family BBQs rock because mom goes overboard with the different salads she makes, dad goes overboard at the deli counter at the grocery store and buys a bagillion carb-centric sides, Aunt Betsey brings enough crab and artichoke dip to feed a small nation, my sister brings taco dip in a platter the size of a kiddie pool, I mean ... the sides are where it's at. (Here are some BBQ side dish recipes if you think your BBQ could use some more.)

3. The dysfunction. Everyone has a differing opinion on each of the following: when the coals are ready, using charcoal over gas, when the burgers are ready to be flipped, how many hot dogs should be on the grill at once, if the corn should be grilled or steamed, when to put the lid on the grill, when to open the little vent on the grill lid, disposing of hot coals, etc etc etc. Family BBQs wouldn't be half as fun if there wasn't a heated discussion or two over grill technique, performance, and outcome. A family that fights over grilling together, stays together.

4. The desserts. Just when you think you couldn't possibly consume another morsel of food, out comes the dessert spread. And on the fourth of July, said dessert spread is particularly impressive. I am dumbfounded every.year. by the creativity behind the delicious red, white, and blue sweets that fill me with patriotism and enough sugar to make my upper lip sweat and my hands shake.

5. The smiles. Aw, that's cute, but I mean it! After all the arguments are over, after all the ketchup-soaked paper plates are in the trash, after Uncle Zack has passed out on the lawn, everyone in the family is left full, smiling, and very, very happy. Family BBQs totally rock because they bring us together over food, under the sun (or the moon), making us indivisible, with glory and justice for all.

Happy July 4th everyone! What do you love about family BBQs?

Photo of said over-served uncle, shirtless, at the grill. Courtesy of me.

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