The Dad’s BBQ Breakdown

Barbecue Sauce Dripping

What is Barbecue?

BBQ, if speaking literally, is a method of cooking meat “low and slow,” as the saying goes, usually in a pit or a smoker. But BBQ is also the best dipping sauce for chicken fingers and the third-best flavor of potato chip (Salt ‘n Vinegar is where it’s at). To some folks, a BBQ is even just a gathering of friends and family, with food cooked on a grill, and no actual barbecue involved.  

People have different ideas about what makes BBQ. There are four main regional varieties, from which most BBQ flavors derive, but what makes each unique? We wanted to know more about what defines the definitive American meal, so Kroger hooked us up with the details that went into making their Private Selection Regional BBQ Sauces. While regional BBQ is about more than sauce, the Kroger team did extensive research in bringing to life the handcrafted flavors that put the BBQ Belt on the map. Grab your bib; we’re digging in. 

The Beginning

Before we get into a big internet brawl over where “real BBQ” comes from, let’s get on the same page as to how it all began.  “Barbacoa” is the word Spanish settlers used for the indigenous cooking method of roasting meat with indirect heat in a pit in the ground. The Spanish took the idea North to the European colonies where this whole USA thing kicked off. You didn’t need expensive cuts of meat to make a lot of delicious food this way. So, as the colonies expanded, BBQ became an affordable crowd-pleaser for church picnics, political rallies, and other community events. 

The Carolinas

A purist will tell you BBQ belongs to the Carolinas. That’s where the real beginnings of what we call BBQ today took place. The Carolinas insist that hog is the only animal worthy of the name “BBQ” and pride themselves on chopped pork sandwiches and whole-hog roasts. Back then pigs were abundant in the south, but they were much leaner than the porkers of today, so slow-roasting them over a pit was the best way to tenderize the meat.

Even more unique is the Carolina BBQ flavor, which comes not just from the meat…but the mustard. In the 1700s, the government gave German immigrants land grants in hopes of boosting South Carolina’s agriculture economy, and they all brought mustard with them. A lot of BBQ is rich and sweet, but the original BBQ sauces out of this region were mustard and vinegar-based. To this day, an excellent Carolina-inspired sauce will be bright, and tangy, with just a hint of sweetness.

Texas

Smoked meats over a BBQ Pit

As people set out for the West to claim their fortune, they brought the BBQ fad with them. However, cowboys aren’t called pigboys for a reason, and brisket became the go-to meat for Texas-style BBQ. Even though beef is tender without a long cooking process, smoking would help it keep longer. No “pard’ners” complained about this development.

Sauce is more of a finishing touch in the Lone Star State, so Texans adapted theirs to be thicker and richer. The vinegar base is rounded with Worchestershire and roasted tomatoes, but the real kicker in a Texas-Inspired BBQ sauce is the black pepper flavor that hits your tongue right away. Pour this over sliced brisket, ribs, and sausages smoked for up to 16 hours for BBQ that punches you in the jaw, and melts in your mouth. 

Memphis

Memphis is most famous for dry-rubbed pork ribs, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on the sauce. Ribs are rubbed in a (dry, obviously) mixture of seasonings that give it a hickory flavor, but once those bad boys come out of the smoker, dipping is fair game. 

Bluff City is a port town, so when BBQ aficionados set up shop, they had access to a lot of new ingredients. The Mississippi River’s favorite cargo was molasses, which is where the sweet, sticky style of BBQ sauce many Americans love comes from. The best Memphis-Inspired sauces feature a tangy flavor as rich as the blues, paired with the sweet touch of molasses. We may not use Old Man River like we used to, but the region’s history as a shipping hub allowed their distinctive style of sauce to spread far and wide.  

Kansas City

The last stop on our BBQ tour is Kansas City, a town with just two men to thank for putting them on the meat map of America. In 1908 Henry Perry began to marry East and West traditions by selling racks of ribs, sliced brisket and fatty pork-ends on sheets of newsprint for a quarter. When his friend Arthur Bryant took over the restaurant, he added a peppery flavor to the signature sauce that went on to become legendary.

Kansas City Ribs

You may not be able to find Bryant’s recipe, but a good Kansas City Inspired BBQ Sauce is made in the same tradition. The sauce from this region is thicker than most, with the same sweet molasses flavor from Memphis, but subtle peppercorn notes that give it a unique spin.

What’s Next? 

The thing about BBQ is permeation. It is not one method or flavor but a slowly evolving tradition. BBQ takes its time. Back in prohibition days, when BBQ restaurants first started popping up in Memphis and Kansas City, the idea of alcohol-infused sauces would have gotten some strange looks. If you managed to get your hands on booze, why would you douse a pork shoulder with it? These days -thank the maker- alcohol isn’t as frowned upon, and chefs are finding exciting ways to incorporate it into unique regional flavors. Small batch sauces like a Pale Ale & Mustard Craft BBQ Sauce add a hoppy kick to the traditional Carolina flavors, while a Kentucky Bourbon sauce adds oaky texture to the sweeter side of BBQ. Bourbon and Balsamic Steak Sauce, while not technically BBQ, brings the spirit of the cuisine full circle by creating gourmet flavors at an affordable price point.

Kroger PS Bourbon BBQ Sauce

So at the end of the day, there is no single BBQ experience. There are four regional varieties, with an ever-growing list of sub-categories, but my dad will still call throwing some chicken wings on the grill “having a BBQ.”  The truth is, real BBQ isn’t tied to one meat, flavor, or even method of cooking. What BBQ is really about, is taking the time to appreciate what you’ve got, and getting to try something that could be new, but is always familiar. 

This article was sponsored by Kroger’s Private Selection Brand, who provided us with each of their regional BBQ sauces. Kroger believes that summertime should be simple, and from gourmet ingredients to inspired shortcuts, every Private Selection product is designed to elevate any occasion.

This post was sponsored by:
Kroger’s Private Selection™️

Rumored: Marvel Developing Wolverine Series For Disney+

Wolverine Series Disney+
(Marvel Comics)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been put on hold, at least until this summer, but the Marvel Televised Universe – or should it be the Marvel Streaming Universe? – is going strong on Disney+.

So far we’ve gotten WandaVision, are smack dab in the middle of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and have Loki on deck – with a whole slew of other shows in development. Much of the excitement about these shows revolves around their connections to the MCU, especially in terms of introducing new characters into the firmament.

Among the most speculated about characters are the X-Men, and WandaVision fueled that fire in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, Magneto didn’t materialize, and Quicksilver’s appearance was proven to be a tease. But that doesn’t mean the X-Men aren’t coming soon.

A new rumor from That Hashtag Show suggests they may be coming very soon, in the guise of the most famous mutant of all: Wolverine.

According to THS, Marvel is currently developing a new series based around the hirsute, adamantium-clawed, borderline immortal mutant. The show is purported to be an anthology series that tackles a different storyline each season, with the first season tackling Project X. Future seasons could potentially tackle the acclaimed Japan storyline, and perhaps Old Man Logan, both of which have been touched upon one way or another in the Fox film series.

The big question any time a new Wolverine project is discussed is the question of casting, and unfortunately, these rumors have no such tidbits. This hasn’t stopped the internet from throwing names into the mix, like The Boys’ Anthony Starr and Karl Urban, Rocketman’s Taran Egerton, and more.

Obviously, Marvel is the standard for superhero stories, and everyone is dying for their takes on Wolverine and the other X-Men. The first few Fox movies were good, and Logan was great, but the MCU has a shot to Trump them all. But would they start on TV?

Frankly, the idea of Marvel introducing one of the marquee characters on Disney+ instead of on the big screen seems a bit unlikely to me, but the dominance of streaming, especially over the past year, has changed the game. Anything is possible.

Except Danny DeVito getting the role. Unfortunately.

Kevin James To Play Saints Coach Sean Payton in Netflix Movie

The King of Beating Altanta
(Twitter/Saints)

We are currently in the middle of the NFL’s off-season, and most of the conversations around the league are about the upcoming draft. But in his latest Football Morning In America column, well-known NFL writer Peter King dropped a bomb: they’re making a movie about Saints coach Sean Payton.

Payton has been the head coach of New Orleans since 2006, and his team is undergoing some major changes this off-season after longtime QB Drew Brees announced his retirement. Together, Brees and Payton won the city’s first and only Super Bowl back in the 2009 season, which you’d think might be the subject of the movie. But no. It’s actually about Payton’s job coaching… his son’s 6th-grade team?

The movie is called “Home Team” and will focus on the 2012 season when Payton was suspended for Bountygate and spent his off-time coaching his son’s team. The movie will air on Netflix and is being produced by Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison. The kicker? Payton will be portrayed by Sandler crony and former King of Queens Kevin James.

James is best known for his starring role on the aforementioned King of Queens sitcom and is most mocked for his role as Paul Blart: Mall Cop, in which he plays an overweight, Segway riding mall security guard. Legendary NFL journalist Peter King pointed out that he’ll need to “drop a few pounds” to play Sean Payton, but let’s be serious here: Payton isn’t about to return kicks or make any tackles. He stands on the sideline with a headset and a clipboard, I’m sure James will be fine.

He should also fit in quite well with kids, being that he has plenty of experience starring with Sandler in the Grown-Ups movies and other less-than-Oscar friendly fare that is perfect for juvenile sensibilities. It probably won’t be too goofy, though, since king reported that payton was able to read the script and suggest some changes.

Filming hasn’t started yet, but the trash talking has, as evidenced by tweets from the Saints and Falcons official team accounts.

The Falcons mocked the casting using a familiar poster:

And the Saints fired back:

Hopefully, the movie is as entertaining as the Saints/Falcons rivalry!

New York State Trooper Finds Missing Toddler on Mountain, “She Wouldn’t Let Go”

New York state trooper finds missing toddler on mountain
(YouTube/CBS New York)

When a child goes missing, time is of the utmost importance. With each passing minute, kids are exposed to more potential danger as they stray father away from safety. No parent should have to find themselves in a situation like this – but if they do, hopefully, they have a brave and experienced team like the New York State Troopers on their side.

On a Saturday in late March, the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office received a chilling call. A 2-year-old girl had gone missing, and in all likelihood, she had slipped out of her house and wandered off. The girl’s home was just half a mile from a nearby mountain, and streams and ponds punctuated the space in between.

“These missing kids, it can go really bad. It’s time-sensitive depending on the time of year, so although it was a nice day the temperature was dropping,” New York State Trooper Brian Hotchkiss told Rochester First.

At first, Hotchkiss and the other law enforcement agents knocked on doors in the girl’s neighborhood hoping that somebody had seen the toddler in her bright pink shirt. But as the minutes ticked by, Hotchkiss and two fellow troopers made a decision – they were going to climb the nearby mountain.

In reality, it was a long shot. An entire mountain to search with only three people was a huge undertaking, and it seemed unlikely a 2-year-old could climb a mountain that took three adults an hour to climb – but the troopers were determined to leave no rock unturned.

After reaching the top, the troopers’ search continued. They scanned the tree-filled mountain top, a dense green and brown collage. Suddenly, a small splash of pink caught Hotchkiss’s eye.

“I followed the stream and I located the child,” Hotchkiss recalled. “She was lying on her stomach on a rock, and I ran over as quick as possible and I saw her arm move and I knew she was alive and my heart just dropped. I was so excited, I ran up she hugged me immediately, she wouldn’t let go.”

One of the heroic troopers wrapped the shivering girl in his uniform, and before long, the 2-year-old was safe under the care of a local hospital.

“I still can’t get that out of my head, her turning over and looking at me and throwing her hands up in the air. I’ll never forget that.”

LeVar Burton: ‘No One Is Better Suited Than Me To Be Next Jeopardy Host’

Van Dyke Backs LeVar Burton
(Change.org)

“Jeopardy” continues to move through its interim hosts as the search continues for a permanent replacement for legend Alex Trebek. We’ve seen the favorite, Ken Jennings, we’ve seen a producer who wants the big job, and we’ve even seen an NFL quarterback. There’s one person the internet has been DEMANDING gets a shot, and it’s astonishing Jeopardy hasn’t yet listened: LeVar Burton.

It started as a petition to get the “Reading Rainbow” star a chance as an interim host, and it’s started to gain traction after Burton shared the petition himself. Then Hollywood royalty and all-around good guy Dick Van Dyke shared it. Now, Burton is actively campaigning for the spot, telling Entertainment Weekly he knows he’s the best choice.

“I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is better suited for this job than me, and I will go to my grave believing that,” he said. “I think my whole career is an advertisement for being the host of Jeopardy.”

Burton is emboldened by the overwhelming support from fans online, as more than 200,000 have signed the petition. And he rattled off his credentials to EW and honestly, it’s hard to argue against him. He cited his lifelong fandom of the show, as he started watching even before Alex Trebek was even the host. He watched the show almost every night of his life, he dominated celebrity Jeopardy when he got his shot in the 90s.

Not only is he a huge Jeopardy fan, but he is a tremendous advocate for learning and curiosity. And he brings fans from multiple demographics, from Gen X to millennials. Burton is getting more vocal about wanting a shot, saying he believes producers have to be paying attention.

“And I hope they weigh this campaign as a factor in my favor.”

Even the New York Public Library endorsed him in his bid.

With a groundswell of support behind him, there’s only one question for the Jeopardy powers that be that is unaccompanied by the traditional answer-first: What are they waiting for?

Looking For a Great Co-Op Game? ‘It Takes Two’ Is the Best Of the Best

(Electronic Arts/Hazelight Studios)

The only video game my wife and I play together is World of Warcraft.  I’ll play pretty much anything, but she’s very particular.  Trying to convince her to play something different has always been a challenge… that is until a little game called ‘It Takes Two‘ graced us with its presence.

If you haven’t heard of it, It Takes Two is a breath of fresh air and one of the best co-op games you’ll ever play.  The story features some heavy themes, but it’s also really funny, heartwarming, and feels real… even when you’re being chased by giant microphones that act like snakes.

It Takes Two begins with Cody and May in the process of getting a divorce.  They can’t get along like they used to and unfortunately, they have to break the news to their daughter Rose.  Rose acts like it’s fine, but sneaks off to the tool shed.  There, she brings out this “Book of Love” she found, written by Dr. Hakim, the “world-wide bestseller and famous expert on love”.  She pleads and cries on hand-made dolls that look like her parents, asking for them to stay together.  Her tears fall onto the dolls and something magical happens.  Cody and May fall asleep, only to reawaken as the dolls.  Terrified, confused, and just wanting to get back into their real bodies, The Book of Love (which is now very much alive) explains that they have to fix their relationship to break the spell.  This is where the fun begins.

As Cody and May, you make your way through different areas around your home.  You’ll climb the massive tree in the yard and even go through a giant toy castle that Cody built with his daughter.  Working together is everything in this game, and trust me when I say that you’ll be working together.  It Takes Two is literally built from the ground up for co-op.  Everything you do requires two players, making it impossible to beat this game by yourself.  Each puzzle is cleverly designed and you’ll be talking things out with your partner, constantly trying to figure things out.

Yep, I’m flying the underpants plane and that’s my wife fighting a squirrel (Electronic Arts/Hazelight Studios)

The variety of different gameplay and genres you’ll come across is also pretty staggering.  It Takes Two features platforming, fighting, flying, swimming, Diablo-style gameplay, and there’s even a nod to Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road. One minute you’re riding on top of frogs across a pond, next, you’ll be flying a plane made out of Cody’s underpants while May has to battle a squirrel on top in a full-blown Mortal Kombat fight.  Seriously, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever had to do in a video game.  My wife and I couldn’t stop laughing and I was so zoned out watching her fight the squirrel, I crashed the plane the first time it happened.

If you do happen to crash the plane as I did, the nice thing about It Takes Two is there are no “lives”.  If you happen to lose all your health, you just come back right away.  If both of you fall at once though, you’ll have to start from the previous checkpoint.  The checkpoints are pretty frequent and this really helps take away some of the stress and frustration, allowing you to enjoy the gameplay and story.

The writing is fantastic throughout and the story isn’t as cut and dry as you’d expect.  It Takes Two deals with real situations and feelings, like losing interest in your favorite hobbies or the stress of raising a family and being happy.  Even though Cody and May are working together, they still mention that once it’s all over they’ll be able to get divorced.  You’re rooting for them to stay together, but at the same time, maybe it’s better if they separate?  The game asks questions like this throughout, and even though you are traveling from one magical and crazy set piece to the next, it keeps you engaged with these characters.  Trust me when I say you won’t want to stop playing until you find out if they really do live happily ever after.

If you’re looking for a new game and a fun co-op experience to play with your spouse or whoever you play games with, It Takes Two is the very best of the best.

It Takes Two is now available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, & PC

Adoption Ad for Chihuahua Described as a ‘Chucky Doll in a Dog’s Body’ Goes Viral

Adopt Dog that is chuckie
(Twitter/HLMongoose)

My kids are desperate for a dog.

Like anyone with a heart, they’ve always loved man’s best friend, but over the course of the pandemic, their desire for a furry friend has reached a fever pitch. I am reluctant, not because I dont want a dog – I’d love a dog! – but because I know the dog will become my sole responsibility.

And because we could end up with a dog like Prancer, a chihuahua that his owner is desperately attempting to get someone to adopt. After a fruitless search for a new owner, the dude decided to get brutally honest about Prancer, and the resulting post has gone viral, for good reason.

Prancer is “literally the Chihuahua meme that describes them as being 50% hate and 50% tremble.” Apparently, he was “raised” wrong by his original owner and is now a neurotic mess who has his family in the grips of a “demonic Chihuahua hellscape.”

The owner goes on to describe Pancer in the best/worst way:

“I was excited to see him come out of his shell and become a real dog. I am now convinced at this point he is not a real dog, but more like a vessel for a traumatized Victorian child that now haunts our home.”

It seems Prancer prefers women to an extreme extent: “He hates men more than women do, which is saying something.” She even uses The Office to describe the dog’s feelings towards him, “But you know that episode of The Office where Michael silently whispers ‘I’ll kill you’ to Toby? That’s Prancer having to begrudgingly coexist with everyone when I’m around.”

Oh, and don’t even ask about children. “Prancer wants to be your only child.”

The last portion of the post lists some of Prancer’s traits, but admits that “finding someone who wants a chucky doll in a dog’s body is hard, but I have to try.”

I might read this post to my kids just to scare them off getting a dog.

Check out the full posting on Twitter, and swing by New Jersey’s Second Chance Pet Adoption League if you want to take a chance on Prancer!

Playstation Exclusive ‘Days Gone’ Announced For PC With New Trailer

Days Gone Trailer
(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

While fans of the open-world zombie game are still wishing and waiting for Days Gone 2, Sony has announced the next best thing.

Days Gone, which was only available on PS4, will be making its way to PC on May 18th, 2021.  You can pre-order it now on Steam and Epic Games Store for $49.99 USD.

New features to the PC version include 21:9 ultra-wide monitor support, unlocked framerate, 1st, and 3rd party controller support, mouse and keyboard and much, much more.  You can check it all out in the new trailer down below.

If you haven’t played Days Gone, it’s a pretty great zombie game… now.  When Days Gone launched back in 2019, it had some major technical and gameplay issues.  Developer Bend Studio would put time and effort into updates to really polish it since then, turning it into something that you should definitely try out.  Days Gone drew comparisons to The Last of Us but it is very much its own beast.  Days Gone features an open-world where you can pick and choose your missions.  You can travel by motorcycle, and you actually need to worry about putting gas in it too.  Also, the zombies are called “Freakers” and dozens of them can appear on screen and attack you in a massive horde, making for a pretty intense experience.

I think it’s great that we’re continuing to see Sony release their exclusives to PC.  Horizon Zero Dawn was the first and Days Gone means they’re not stopping anytime soon.  Xbox has committed themselves to delivering their games across multiple platforms, so if Sony wants to keep up, this is definitely the best way.

Tom Brady Was Paid ’20 Cents’ to Autograph Rookie Card That Sold For 2+ Million

Brady Rookie Card .20 cents
(Instagram/Tom Brady Twiter/WCVB)

Tom Brady is an athletic anomaly. He’s nearing his mid-40s and is coming off a Super Bowl MVP season, despite moving to a new team. The GOAT is also breaking records in the offseason, as one of his autographed rookie cards sold for a record $2.25 million, shattering a previous record held by Patrick Mahomes (whose card sold for one-third that amount). And it’s tough for Brady to even enjoy it because he was paid ’20 cents’ to put his name on that card.

He was giving a long-ranging interview to Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan (a former NFL star in his own right) about his career, motivation, family, and more. But one of the most interesting parts was when Strahan asked about the rookie card selling for more than 2 million.

“It’s surreal and it makes me want to go check all my cards that I have stored again; there’s got to be one [more] in there somewhere,” Brady jokes. “I kept all these cards for all these years.”

Brady said when he was starting out (long before he was a starter and Super Bowl champion) his agent got him a trading card deal to sign 1000 cards for like ’20 cents a card.’ Brady said he was elated at the time.

“I definitely should have kept some of them,” he said, “but I think it all worked out pretty good.”

Brady has been in full dad mode in the offseason, as they took a family vacation to Costa Rica, the Middle East, and…of course, to Disney (every dad has gotta take his kids at least once, it’s a Dad law).

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady)

He also said he hopes his kids learn from his work ethic and can stay grounded.

“They’re gonna have to work hard and I don’t want them to take things for granted,” he said. “I want them to make the impact in the world they’re gonna make, but they’re gonna make it in their way.”

It’s gotta be weird to be the kid of the greatest football player ever, but as you can tell from his Instagram, Brady loves being a dad just as much as he does being a championship-caliber quarterback.

And if I was one of his kids, I’d be looking through the attic to track down one of those rookie cards.

Toddler Standing on Dad’s Head Sparks Thread of Parents Mourning Personal Space

Parents share videos toddlers standing on faces
(Twitter/9bills,_BraceYaself)

Until you have kids, it’s impossible to know how wrong you were about what it’s like to actually be a parent. The boundaries you imagined setting for your future kids are laughable, naive dreams of someone who’s never had to calm a 2-year-old scream-crying because they aren’t a dinosaur. You used to whisper about the toddler having a nuclear meltdown in the middle of an Olive Garden, fully believing that your child would never. It’d be funny now, it would definitely be funny if you weren’t so exhausted.

Another fun surprise that comes with parenting is the complete lack of personal space, something you probably anticipated to a degree – but not like this. Twitter user 9bills recently shared a video that captured the adorably stifling phenomenon perfectly, so much so that it led to parents all over the world sharing their own experiences. In the video that’s been viewed over 1.2 million times in just two weeks, a clearly exhausted dad lays down with his toddler. And by “lays down with his toddler,” we mean dad is laying down, the toddler is standing directly on dad’s face. Obviously.

Before long, parents were sharing their very own hilarious videos featuring their own kids’ complete disregard for personal space.

You know what they say, when you fall off dad’s face, just gotta get right back on

It’s so easy to laugh when there’s no toddler standing on your face

Have kids, they said

That balance is honestly impressive

I’m so tired

Fortunately, other parents are always there to reassure you that everything is going to be ok.