Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 7, 2012

BBQ: It's September – transition time


CNHI

— I hope you aren't upset with me, but this week I don't have a recipe. It's more of a motivational column to all of my outdoor chef buddies -- guys and gals.

Here is the dilemma. Once Labor Day passes, it is traditional for most to put their grill and/or smoker away till next summer.

I typically enter into a mild state of depression this time of the year, knowing that many great BBQ and grilling memories are there for the taking, yet most won't experience them because they follow the proverbial “Memorial Day till Labor Day” outdoor cooking schedule.

As a side story, I have recently been informed that the old rule of “women never wear white shoes after Labor Day” is no longer strictly adhered to. I would like to initiate the same trend with outdoor chefs.

Don't put your grills and/or smokers away! I speak the truth when I state that the best outdoor cooking days in 2012 are still ahead of us. You just need to readjust your thinking.

Let's start now with a few points.

The autumn season: In my opinion, fall is the absolute best time of the year. Changing colors and comfortable temperatures make it a great time to be outside. Why not grill something or fix some world class BBQ?

The holidays: Think about the holidays and the events coming down the bend, and the fantastic outdoor dishes you could create. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and New Years Day, Super Bowl, St. Patrick's Day, Final Four and then Easter. All of these obviously take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Why not eat well during these great family events?

Create culinary traditions.

Pulled pork: There is something about autumn and hickory-smoked pulled pork sandwiches. Mark off a Saturday or Sunday and give it a try. Need some training? Go to my website and learn how to prepare it. You won't regret it.

Commit to trying something new: Variety is the spice of life. Make a commitment to experiment during the “off season” and learn new techniques. Never cooked veggies outdoors? Give it a shot.

Never smoked a turkey? What the heck? Make a run at it. Prime rib for Christmas? Absolutely.

Venture out.

Look to upgrade your equipment: This time of the year is the best time to look at new grills or BBQ units. The retailers have them priced to move. They don't want the units (hence their money) collecting dust over the winter months. Just do me a favor and buy quality. You won't regret it.

As we move into the autumn season, please continue grilling and creating great BBQ. In future columns I would really enjoy answering questions from readers relating to grilling

techniques and BBQ. Think of me as the “Dear Abby” of the BBQ world.

Just email me your questions at davelobeck@gmail.com and we may use your question in a future issue.

Now get out there and keep grilling!

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Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at www.BBQMyWay.com.