When I was growing up, we went to church with a family that used to put on a community cook/get-together every year. There wasn't any fancy invitations or anything like that, it was simply word of mouth and free to any and everyone that showed up. All you had to do was bring a chair to sit in.
The wife worked with my dad, and they were really good friends, so we were always invited. Her husband had the same name was my first name, so it's no surprise he made some of the greatest BBQ ever. He would do the Que, and his wife, along with a list of her friends, would pitch in on the sides. Unfortunately, just before I got into doing my own BBQ, due to the economy, they've stopped doing the cook outs.
There's no greater way to get to know a person than over some delicious food, and backyard games, so I had the idea to start our own. Now, I don't know that it'll ever turn into the level that they used to have (I'm sure I would be killed if a few hundred people rolled up to our house), but I really hope it can turn into an annual get together over hot food and cold beer.
With it being year one, we weren't sure how many to invite or not invite, or how much food we'd be able to make/have brought. When I first sent the invites we had 70 people (that's not including their spouses or kids). Thankfully, we didn't have that type of a turnout, but did end up with around 20-25 friends, which was perfect.
Dawn and I went to the grocery store a few weeks before the cook, and when she picked up the ad paper we saw that they had their butts on a mega sale (.99 a pound). We bought a chest freezer last year, so I went straight to the back and picked out their 4 largest butts ... hey, I like big butts what can I say ...
Since this was going to be the first time some of these people ever had my BBQ, I had to go with my injection, and my favorite rub (Plowboys, Yardbird).
I have to give credit to Dawn for this one, a few weeks ago I bought a new sauce recipe book, so she asked if I'd want to make a sauce for the cook too. I'd never made a sauce, so I thought why not. It'd be fun to whip a little something up. She found a recipe for a KC style sweet sauce, so we went with it.
While I was doing the Q, Dawn made some baked beans and bacon mac'n'cheese. She diced up some green peppers, an onion, and some sausage for the beans.
The day was so hectic between cleaning and cooking and fixing this and then that, so the pictures are a limited.
Here's how the spread ended up ...
Before any of you Clemson people give me a hard time about the orange stuff. This is her cookware from Rachael Ray's line, and when she got these 1. we weren't together, and 2. this was the only color they came in ... yes, it pains me every time she uses one.
Dawn's Baked Beans
And Bacon Mac'n'Cheese
Friends of mine, Heather and her husband Chris, chipped in with some Slaw. Now, I'm not a big slaw fan, but this was actually pretty good. When I say pretty good ... I ate 2 bites. Everyone else that actually eats slaw loved it, so it must have been good.
The mother in law made some potato salad.
And this is one of the four trays of pulled pork.
For dessert, Brandy made this brownie thing-a-ma-jig.
As if Dawn didn't make enough, she always threw together some home-made strawberry cupcakes.
And, Heather and Chris also made a banana pudding.
Minus the BBQ, the food turned out to be the perfect amount for all of the guest. The beans and mac'n'cheese were down to less than one serving each, and the banana pudding was almost gone immediately.
Everyone had a great time, and all of the food was great. The new comers raved about the BBQ, one of our friends claims she doesn't even eat BBQ, but said it was delicious, and everyone that touched the banana pudding said it was some of the best they've ever had.
We've already decided there will definitely be a 2nd Annual Kickoff To Summer.