What Makes The Perfect BBQ?

by Team Scary Mommy

The Parents of Scary Mommy, The Dad and Fatherly Weigh In

A family BBQ is instantly recognizable, but no two are quite the same. Everyone has their own hard-earned and iron-clad opinions about everything from marinades to grill architecture. It’s the little details, the flourishes of technique, and the secret recipes that make each family’s BBQ both traditional and unique. We cornered the editorial staff of Scary Mommy, Fatherly, and The Dad to find out what makes their family BBQ the perfect BBQ.

Joel, Editor-In-Chief of The Dad

This is a pretty major dad-confession, but I’d rather cook on a cast iron than a grill or BBQ. Please don’t publish that!” (Sorry Joel)

“But even when I do man the grill, the cast iron’s still great for veggies. I’ll cook asparagus in bacon grease with it directly on the grill. Also, this is 100% fact: ever since we did that Kroger story last year, I swear by their BBQ rubs for steak and chicken. I even use the Memphis Rub on salmon to give it a little sweet tang. So good.”

Brooke, Top Chef Winner & Scary Mommy Contributor

“For me, the perfect BBQ includes a very balanced plate of food. But not like four separate meals on one plate – I want a sweet and a sour, a rich, and an acidic. I like to hit all the notes. If it’s a rich marbled piece of meat, then I like to have a bright, acidic slaw.”

You can see Chef Brooke’s favorite BBQ staples here, and some fresh take on sides here.

Rob, writer for The Dad

“The defining factor is the type of meat you’re going for. It’s important to know your cuts – If it’s tenderness you seek, choose a cut from low-activity muscles like the loin – tenderloin, sirloin, T-bone – or ribs. Leaner, tougher cuts are great for flavor and texture – flank steak is perfect for fajitas. And for slow cooking and braising, look for tough, heavily exercised regions – the shoulder, leg, and rump – or places where there is a lot of connective tissue, like the shank, or oxtail.”

Rachel, writer for Scary Mommy

“We celebrate my brother’s birthday every year as a kick-off to the summer season. We make these amazing ribs by turning the normal charcoal grill into a DIY smoker. You lay the charcoal bricks with pre-soaked woodchips on one half of the grill, and a tin pan half-filled with a really good apple juice on the other. Light the grill under the wood chips, and cook the meat on the opposite end of the grill so you’re smoke circulates.”

Jared, writer for The Dad

“For me, it’s about the sauce. I grew up in Florida, so BBQ was super sweet and syrupy when I was a kid. That rib-sticking stuff is still amazing, but I wrote a piece last year about the history and background for all the regional styles of BBQ, and it changed my whole game. I’m an honorary Carolina guy now – it’s all about that sharp vinegar base. I swiped all the Private Selection® Carolina rubs and sauces from The Dad studio, and now those are the only thing I use to grill chicken wings.”

Dave, Creative Director for The Dad / Scary Mommy

I love a classic steak as much as the next guy, but I’ve been really into trying different marinades lately. It’s fun to change up the flavor profile rather than cooking the same thing every weekend. I really love Chinese BBQ, so I’ll marinate a pork shoulder with char-sui cooking sauce. Also, chicken can go a lot further than you think when you spice it up with something like a Peruvian Aji Amarillo Marinade.”

Joanna, writer for Scary Mommy

“I love a turkey burger, but turkey is can be tricky to get right on the grill. Since it’s less fatty than beef, I’ll keep mine moist and juicy by placing an ice cube on the patty while it cooks. While it melts, the moisture gets absorbed by the meat! Or, if you want to be a little decadent, you could do the same thing with a tab of butter that you let sit in the freezer for a few minutes.”

Matt, writer & host for The Dad

Pizza stone on the grill, or even just pizza straight on the dang grill! I’ve been saying it for years! Simple Truth® has a gluten-free pizza crust mix that’s organic and non-GMO and all that good stuff. Or to turn boring ole’ weeknight frozen pizza into a *chef’s kiss* meal, there are a bunch of primo Private Selection™ pies that take just a couple minutes on the grill. Grilled mushrooms & truffle oil over a thin crust? Can’t beat it. It might not “BBQ” per se, but it’s cooking outside, and that’s what counts.”

Whether you’re throwing pizzas on the grill for a quick dinner or digging an honest BBQ pit to slow smoke something unforgettable, the heart of “the perfect BBQ” is really the joy it brings you and your family.

Kroger’s® Private Selection® is a collection of select ingredients that elevate any dish into an experience to savor. Kroger’s® Simple Truth® provides all-natural ingredients for fresh creations suitable for any diet. We gave a lot of love for these brands in this article, and while it is sponsored content, we are honest fans.