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BBQ Etiquette

Is it considered rude to invite to a BBQ, say you (the host) will provide all sides, but that guests should bring the meat/vegetarian entree they choose and grill it themselves?
I have invited a crowd all of whom seem to have various hangups/dietary restrictions: one is a vegetarian; another loathes chicken; another is not allowed to eat pork; a third is allergic to seafood; yet another one refuses to eat sausages or beef. I'm pulling my hair out with these finicky guests. Is my solution (bring your own meat) rude?

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  1. Whether or not it's considered rude, have you considered how you're going to do this? Do you have more than one grill? Or do you plan on cleaning the grill between meats? Many vegetarian won't eat their vegetables after meat has been on the grill. If somebody is allergic to seafood, you need to cook all seafood after that person has been served. If somebody is not allowed to eat pork, they need to have their meat grilled before pork's been on the grill.

    1. I don't know if it's rude, since you're setting the rules in the invite, and people can choose whether to participate or not... it is, I think, very unusual and awkward, since many folks may be unaccustomed to buying, prepping, and then properly packing their stuff to travel raw... then, what, everyone has to cook their own stuff on a limited amount of grill space? My preference would be to go ahead and plan a "mixed grill" that will meet most folks preferences... I would tell them I'm preparing chicken, ribs, burgers, and veggies (or whatever combo) on the grill, and invite them to supplement if they have the need.

      1. I agree with woodburner. I wouldn't ask them to bring their own meats. I'd just go with 2 or 3 mixed options on the grill, and leave it at that. That is a very accommodating way to handle the issue without killing yourself while also being a perfectly good hostess.

        I can understand how it can be frustrating for you. I eat neither beef nor pork (dietary reasons), and am allergic to shellfish. However, I am very content with eating the salads and sides in the absence of suitable grill options at these sorts of events (as well as at any events I go to), since I don't feel that the host should have to bend over backwards for me just b/c my digestive system is a bit chaotic. I think few people with serious dietary restrictions would expect you to provide the item specific to their diet. If they want to bring something along to throw on the grill for themselves, good for them.

        Just put together a nice party, put a smile on your face, and have fun!

        1. Your group dynamics really stink, don't they? Maybe you should have 2 BBQ's and invite the ones that are most compatible, diet wise, to one and then the other a following date. As far as chicken goes, then (considering this picky group) you may have to have only dark meat or only white. LOL! I personally do not like dark meat, but usually there is something else I can have, like sausage of ribs, but if there isn't, I eat a thigh. The only people that I insist they serve me some white meat, are my daughters. That's fair because I had to cater to them as kids, right? Others, I just shut my mouth.

          5 Replies
          1. re: danhole

            I agree with everyone here, that asking people to bring their own "main" would be, well, difficult. If this were my gathering, I would probably provide the standard fare (chicken legs and breasts, burgers and hot dogs) and not worry about having two grills or cleaning the one I had. The vegetarians can nosh on the salads and sides (Im sure they know how to do this) and if anyone really feels the need to bring soy burgers or something special for themselves, it could always be cooked inside. If anyone stood around one of my BBQs and whined that there was nothing there they could eat, I would hand them their car keys and thank them for coming, and tell them (as my late husband was so fond of saying) "come back when you can't stay so long."

            1. re: Cheflambo

              "If anyone stood around one of my BBQs and whined that there was nothing there they could eat..." I would beat them with a heavy chain. But that's just me.

              1. re: Cheflambo

                "come back when you can't stay so long." Love that saying. So appropriate in many situations!

                1. re: danhole

                  I had an uncle whom we all dearly loved who was never at a loss when it came to guests who had outstayed their welcome. He would turn to his wife and say "Well, Mother, let's go to bed so these nice people can go home".

                  1. re: GaryR

                    My husband beats your uncle, in the fact that he doesn't say it, he just states "I'm going to bed. Good night." and leaves the room. A bit awkward for me, but if I am enjoying myself, I tell them to stay. If I am tired as well, and they start heading for the door, I just smile and say Good night!

            2. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/285686

              This thread gives lots of vegetarian grilling ideas. If you do something vegetarian, some chicken and beef you should be covered. Skewered things might be a way to satisfy all. Just be sure to dedicate a corner of the grill to the vegetarian entrees.