5 Vegan BBQ Tips For Plant-Eaters

May 18, 2012 5:31 pm

How to be a vegan at a backyard barbecue

how to be a vegan at a barbecue
Photo: woodleywonderworks on Flickr
Being vegan may mean the end of burgers and dogs, but isn't it really about hanging out around open flames with your friends?
 

Sniff, sniff… yep it’s barbecue season and you know what that means — time to meet the meat. Barbecues are among the last American rituals where it’s still “OK” to eat red meat — even the nastiest of nasties, like hot dogs — as much you can handle.

Much like Thanksgiving, the meat is the motive. Amateurs and grillmasters alike get their once a year engagement to play into the whole I am MAN, I make fire! thing (beats chest). I get it, it’s a testosterone thing. I am man — I like fire, too. I once set myself on fire while trying to light six lighters at once. Luckily, my sister was there and put me out. The point is that, like many men, I like the earthy taste of fire-broiled food too, but minus all the blood. And I can tell you that you are scrutinized way more than at any other social function when you whip out the vegan card at a barbecue.

“We probably don’t have anything for you,” or “I put a veggie burger on for you, but it fell through the grate.” These and other phrases may sound all too familiar to the plant-eating hipster who finds himself party-hopping this summer. However, I have been able to navigate many barbecues and have a great time. I know in my last post I gave you my recipe for chili-lime corn — next week I'll follow with some others. But first, here are my top tips on how to survive BBQ season this summer.

  1. Keep the functions at friends of friends. There is bound to be another grass eatin’ hippie in the outer friend circle who the host is also thinking about, which means they will probably have some roasted veggies for you (I pray for a good mushroom!).
  2. Always bring something you made for everyone (but really for yourself.) I usually bring a nice pasta salad, and say “Oh this? I just whipped it up.” It makes you look considerate and makes sure you wont go hungry. Win-win!
  3. Bring fruit that can be saturated in booze. This is always a crowd-pleaser when it's hot out. I like a watermelon, because you can soak it with vodka before slicing. Or try berries for muddling.
  4. Forage the host home. In the event you show up with a friend to the friend of a friend's friend's place, and they don't seem to have anything vegan laid out, don't panic and start nibbling on the lawn. If they seem concerned and are trying to accommodate you, ask them if they mind you taking a look about. There is usually hummus or peanut butter and corn chips.
  5. Go for the party. The reality is, if you decide to be vegan at a non-vegan party, you just are going to have a different experience than anyone else and that’s great…if you accept it. Don't be sulking in the corner. Relax, have a cold beer and some of whatever else is being passed around.

Now let’s get this summer started!

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