Chafing at the bit to BBQ

Continuing on with our very last birthday BBQ week, it’s time to talk hosting. Specifically, serving the food. It’s ironic that, in my last birthday BBQ I’m chafing at the bit to BBQ.

Warming up to the idea

Even way back when, as I started my BBQ parties, I always battled with timing the food to be hot when the guests had all arrived.

Of course, anyone who has hosted parties (or even just attended) knows that people never show up around the time stated on the invite. That’s why I always plan the food for about an hour after the actual start time.

That still leaves me with an awful lot of food to keep warm and only my single, normal-sized oven. Thus, I realized quite quickly, I needed external heating.

Where you gonna go?

When you need supplies for a party, where else but Party City.

For years, I used the thin frame and simple chafing setups from Party City. It’s functionally straightforward, with a spot for the sterno can and using foil pans and trays for holding the water (for heating) and food.

There are no tops, so it’s foil until ready and then, no tops for the remainder of the BBQ. No real way to keep heat in after that, even with the sterno cans burning below.

They tend to rust pretty quickly, too, and they’re ultimately not environmentally friendly. Because, recycling places don’t accept foil trays with food leftovers on them. Still, there was enough functionality to keep me chafing at the bit to BBQ for many years.

I knew this tray would come

After my last BBQ, I finally put the whole set of rusty and dinged chafing frames to rest. Left outside for the clean up crew (those roving pickup drivers who gather reusable or resalable items off our driveways).

I then took to the world wide web in search of a new solution. Hmm. Amazon has some stuff, but, gosh, it sure seems pricey. Lemme look elsewhere.

Hmm. Well, I guess it just is pricey. Plus, do I even know if they’re what I want? If only I had some way to give it a trial run.

Friend in need, friend indeed

Just like that, my friend from Texas drops in with his wife and friends for a BBQ. Great! I’ll pop out to Walmart and pick up two of those new chafing dishes and test them out. I mean, you can return anything to Walmart!

So, I wash ’em, set ’em up and, yeah, they are terrific! There’s a minor issue in that some of the edges are a little sharper than they should be, but that’s only an issue for me (the host) and not a factor for anyone else. (My Dad helpfully suggests I can probably just sand them down a little, even with an emery board – yeah, that’s gonna happen.)

So, I popped back out to Walmart and picked up two more, for the full set of four I need (totaling eight food holders).

Chafing at the bit to BBQ

And now I’m set. I mean, this setup has everything (take a look), including sterno can holders that can swing shut to cut off the flame (as opposed to trying to blow it out by breathing really hard).

I’m super excited to use them. Chafing at the bit to BBQ is not just a turn of a phrase. This will make my hosting so much easier. Even if this is the last time I’ll be doing it for my birthday.

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