What makes a cookout stand out

Posted by Dan Cerruti on

Happy long weekend, my fellow Americans. The 4th of July is the middle holiday of the Summer Cookout Holiday trilogy – Memorial Day being the New Hope, Labor Day being the Return of the Jedi – and we thought it prudent to chat about some cookout essentials to make the most of your Independence Day at the grill and Independence Night under the fireworks.

And hey, we’re not morons here. We know that America is currently, let’s say… going through some stuff, to put it mildly, and you may not exactly be in the mood to celebrate it. But damn it, a day off is a day off and this one has hot dogs and that should please just about everyone. Tofu dogs also available, natch.

The clothes

Let’s start with getting dressed, yeah? After all, showing up to your next cookout naked will probably be frowned upon, and you don’t want to get your wiener too close to the ones on the grill. Summer holidays encourage color, so get yourself up in some pastels or other bright vibes. Bold patterns are great, too. No need to get crazy but do something special, no doubt. Cookouts have this peculiar formality to them. It’s hot out, everyone’s in tank tops and shorts, but you still want to look a little presentable. It’s a party, after all! And every holiday deserves a bit of dressing for occasion. No, not cosplaying as the American flag, don’t wear the band’s shirt to their own concert. If you’re going somewhere with a pool be sure to pack a swimsuit or be at the mercy of your host’s hand-me-down Speedo. If you’re not going somewhere with a pool, bring a baby pool anyway and live like the trash king you wish to be.

The food

Charcoal, propane, wood- let the snobs have their war on fuel choice, I’m just happy to have an open flame and a blank canvas for all sorts of scrumptiousness. Be a pal and bring some offering for the fire. Hot dogs are the standard, burgers are always welcome, and you have the opportunity to be the hero of the day if you bring a bunch of ears of corn. Frankly I think that a good cookout has a showstopper, some sort of inventive or signature dish after the usual fare. Doesn’t need to be too involved, just some marinated chicken could work, but I say get nuts with it. Grill a whole fucking cantaloupe, you absolute mad lad.

But there is one food absolutely necessary, no questions, whether you’re a prince or a pauper, and that is thin, greasy potato chips. The further you get from classic Lay’s the further you stray from God’s light. Corn chips are great for dips and whatnot, but those oily potato discs are the perfect complement to anything you’ll put on a grill.

The drinks

A full day’s worth of celebrating is a marathon, not a sprint, and this marathon features 26.2 fewer miles of running, making it a far superior type of marathon. Start at a slower speed and lower ABV. You know we at WvG gotta throw in a little bit of the Italian flavor, so when it comes to drinks you can’t go wrong with a spritz. Some tasty aperitivo keeps spirits high and spirits flowing. Of course, this is the USA we’re commemorating, so a can of the finest, lightest beer would be keeping with the theme. Just, like, know you don’t have to.

Don’t get piss drunk before the lights go out. The coup de grace on this USA day is fireworks, baby! And bright explosions rule, it’s just science. Keep your drinks mild until you can be sure to make it to your town’s local boomfest. If you’re setting off your own? Yeah, dumb ass, stay sober unless you’ve got a grudge against your fingers.

The oops

And now for the most feared word in the world- stains! Grilling is messy and the food you make even messier, and nothing will ruin your perfect Linen 20cm Shorts (carnie huckster voice: “available now!”) faster than a fat wad of mustard on your lap. So here’s the rundown. Most of the time in cooking you’ll be dealing with oily stains, such as from condiments or grease, and the way you get rid of those is simple but with room for grievous error. First scrape off any residual mess. Then use some mild soap on a wet cloth to dab, for the love of all that is holy DAB, the stain. Never scrub, only dab. Scrubbing will just rub stuff further in, you want to try to lift the stain away. If you act quickly you may just need to do that, but if it’s stubborn then it’ll have to wait for a proper washing. Spilling your drink is way easier, since those will be less greasy and the bigger threat would be any coloring. Most of it will wash off if you pretreat the stain. Also, Tide Pens. Fortune favors the prepared.

We wish you all a merry grilling this weekend, but also, who cares about keeping it on America's schedule? Make your own holiday in the spirit of “why the fuck not?” and join friends and family around the grill any time, all the time. Lord knows we deserve the holiday. 

Back