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™️

Uncle Phil Crashing “Family Matters” is the Smile Inducing Clip You Need to Watch

Uncle Phil crashes Family Matters set
(Youtube/ Life was better in the 90s)

For TV and movie lovers alike, few things are more exciting than those rare occasions where our favorite characters come face to face. Whether those meetings come in the form of a crossover episode or something brand new, we can’t get enough of these unexpected encounters. Generally, it’s the viewer that gets to experience the absolute delight of beloved on-screen personalities coming together – but in a recently resurfaced Family Matters clip, it’s the cast who’s in for a shock.

Family Matters was one of those classic ’90s (ok, well it premiered in 1989, but ran through 1998) shows that we loved for being relatable. The Winslow family is full of fun and endearing characters, and the show didn’t try to be anything more than a goofy family sitcom. The creators of Family Matters didn’t shy away from covering very real issues, but they also weren’t preachy about it. Instead, they made you feel like you weren’t alone. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fit into a similarly lovable category, following yet another family that we all dreamed of running away to live with at some point.

Recently, a video resurfaced showing two of our favorite 90s TV dads coming together. One of them, though, had no idea this incredible TV moment was about to happen. In the scene, Richie Crawford runs in with his new friend, Little G, and immediately introduces him to his Uncle Carl. Carl greets his nephew’s new friend, who stares momentarily before handing Richie some cash and conceding that Uncle Carl does in fact look like the dad on Fresh Prince.

Seconds later, Uncle Phil (James Avery, RIP) himself walks in. As soon as Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) processes that James Avery is standing casually in the doorway of his fake living room, his eyes light up and his mouth drops like a kid who was just told he no longer has a bedtime on weekends. VelJohnson, unable to contain himself, covers his enormous grin and shuffles hilariously out of the frame.

We see actors experience a range of emotions while playing their roles, but there’s something so endearing about watching them experience pure and genuine emotion. Whoever is digging through old footage of 90s TV, more content like this, please.

Man Creates Candy-Delivering Robot to Save Neighborhood’s Halloween

Candy Robot
(Courtesy Luke Keyes)

Halloween will be different this year, but it doesn’t have to mean canceling trick-or-treating. It just means trying a little harder sometimes, or being a little more creative. Exhibit A, a man in Austin who has perfected a way to hand out candy and maintain social distance, with the help of his robot.

Halloween is a great holiday for kids, and dads usually go hard to make it special (and take their cut of the candy).

Luke Keyes, a software engineer, said he and his wife really love Halloween. Every year they run a “Haunted Science Lab” in their garage, which has become a neighborhood hit. So much so that kids had already been asking the couple about the 2020 version. But then COVID, so Luke got creative.

“We were torn because we knew someone who died of COVID early on, and I have allergy-induced asthma,” he told The Dad, “but we love Halloween and love seeing how our haunted garage helps bring the neighborhood together.” He said he came up with a “candy cannon” that shot out candy like confetti but didn’t think that would be a practical solution to the holiday (although he did use it as his wedding and to entertain neighborhood kids at other community events).

Then he arrived at a solution. Enter Artie, his robot. Keyes has been working on his robot for several years (as an 80s kid, he said he was inspired by the many robots in movies), and takes him to STEM events around town, so he’s seen how kids will interact with it. He figured out he could adjust his height, make him look friendly, and drive him around to kids’ houses in the neighborhood to deliver candy. The neighborhood is even talking about possibly having a Halloween parade, with Artie as the grand marshall and other neighbors following to throw candy out to kids at their driveways.

Ultimately, Keyes said he hopes people can find creative ways to celebrate in their own community, even if they don’t have an Artie at the ready.

“I just want to make this year memorable for all the kids in a good way, and I’m glad I can use Artie to do that,” he said. “To me, Halloween is even better than Christmas. With Christmas, you give gifts to friends and family. With Halloween, you give gifts to everyone.”

And don’t worry, when it comes to candy, Keyes and Artie are giving out the good stuff.

Boy Tries To Sell Xbox To Buy His Sister a Present, Community Steps up To Help

Boy tries to sell xbox to buy sister birthday present
(Facebook/elkhart online garage sale)

They may fight seemingly non-stop, they may poke fun at each other or play elaborate pranks, but there’s nothing quite as pure as the bond between siblings. Recently, a 13-year-old from Elkhart, Indiana took to Facebook to sell his Xbox. When someone from the Facebook group started asking questions, Ashton Wagoner explained that something (or someone) in his life was more important than his beloved gaming system – his sister.

When Ashton Wagoner logged onto Facebook in mid-September, he posted his Xbox to a community garage sale page for a fair price. The post read, “Works perfectly fine comes with three games all the cords and one wired controller lowest is $130.”

Impressive entrepreneurial spirit for someone who, until this year, needed parental permission to watch the 4th Harry Potter movie. A 13-year-old boy giving up his Xbox of his own free will is unusual, at best. A curious member of the Facebook group realized just how strange it was for a kid to get rid of his gaming system (in the middle of a pandemic, no less), and decided to get some more information.

A Facebook user named Steve commented in response to Ashton’s post, “Hey kid… what you need the money for? I see you’re selling a bike too… What’s up?”

In the best imaginable response, the big-hearted big brother explained, “It’s my baby sis 1 bday sat so I’m trying to get her a present and trying to get a new bike.”

Yes. A 13-year-old boy tried to sell his Xbox, AND HIS OWN BIKE, to surprise his baby sister with a bike of her own. In under a week, Ashton’s post has been shared over 19,000 times. People from all over the world started pitching in to help Ashton make his sister’s first birthday a memorable one. According to Ashton’s dad, the generous teen collected over $4,500.

Ashton Wagoner and I shopping for his baby sister..

Posted by Angee Joyner on Friday, September 18, 2020

Ashton’s lucky little sister isn’t just getting a bike – he also bought her a kid’s electric car, a Mickey Mouse costume, and more. Oh, and he got to keep his Xbox.

Live-Action Lion King Getting a Sequel That’s Also a Prequel

Lion King Live-Action Sequel
(Disney)

Back in the day, Disney was really stingy with sequels, especially when it came to their animated movies. There was no Snow White 2, or Cinderella 2, or Aristocats 2, and when they did make the occasional sequel, to Aladdin or one of their modern classics, they went straight to video.

It was clear the studio didn’t want to sully their impressive track record with cheap cash-ins. Even Pixar, which Disney acquired, seemed reluctant to do sequels at first before they opened the floodgates to multiple Toy Storys and Cars movies. Disney has softened their stance – even Frozen got a sequel! And now they’re apparently going to make sequels to their live-action remakes.

The live-action Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, was a big hit last summer, despite the fact that no one ever talks about it. Maybe the sequel will fare better, as it was just announced that Barry Jenkins, who directed the Best Picture-winning Moonlight, is directing a script from Jeff Nathanson, who also wrote the 2019 version.

Not much is known about the movie, but it will use the same technology as last time to make the talking and singing animals as realistic looking as possible, and apparently, it will tackle Mufasa’s origin story.

Deadline reports that the movie will expand the mythology of the Lion King universe, looking back on Mufasa’s life while also continuing to follow Simba. Shades of Godfather II!

Jenkins seems excited to tackle what is sure to be another Disney blockbuster, after having grown up on them like just about everyone else.

“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”

No word yet on whether or not the cast, which included Donald Glover and Beyonce, will be returning, or when the movie will be released.

Joaquin Phoenix Names Son ‘River’ After Late Brother

Joaquin Names Son River
(Getty/Dianna Whitley)

There are plenty of “what could have been” stories in Hollywood history, many of them focused on casting what-ifs, but some of them are based around a tragedy.

What could have been if Heath Ledger, after his iconic performance as the Joker, hadn’t accidentally overdosed? What could have been if James Dean hadn’t died in a car crash after starring in a mere three movies?

What could have been if River Phoenix, one of the most promising young actors of his generation, hadn’t died at the Viper Room at the age of 23? Maybe his career wouldn’t have been similar to the one his little brother Joaquin has made for himself. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out.

Over the weekend, Joaquin and his partner Rooney Mara welcomed their first child and named him River. Director Victor Kossakovvksy revealed the name after a screening of his documentary Gunda, which Phoenix produced, telling the crowd, “He just got a baby by the way … A beautiful son called River.”

It’s clear Joaquin had much admiration for his older brother, and naming his first-born after him is a touching tribute to a talented young actor who never had the chance to have a full career. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been all that unlike Joaquin’s impressive resume.

Joaquin won an Oscar for his role as the Joker in last year’s Todd Phillips movie, and he’s consistently been one of the most interesting and acclaimed actors of the decade. His older brother died before he had a chance to win an Academy Award, but his performances in Stand By Me, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho suggest it wouldn’t have been long.

He may have never won an Oscar, but his memory lives on.

Chadwick Boseman Donated Salary So Sienna Miller Would Get Equal Pay

Chadwick Donates Salary
(Getty/David Livingston)

Whenever someone dies, it’s customary to say nice things about the person. Even if there aren’t that many nice things to say. When a celebrity dies, many of the stories that get told are a surprise to the public, most of whom have only known the deceased via their public personas, not their private lives.

When Chadwick Boseman died after a private four-year battle with cancer, it seemed that everyone who worked with him had something nice to say, and the sheer number of tributes and positive stories of the man makes it clear that he was truly special, not only as an actor but also as a human being.

The latest story to break only serves to further illustrate his goodness.

In the new issue of Empire Magazine, which was dedicated to Boseman, included a story from Sienna Miller, who costarred with Chadwick in last year’s action movie 21 Bridges. The actress revealed that Boseman, who was a producer on the movie, pursued her for a role.

“He was a fan of my work, which was thrilling, because it was reciprocated from me to him, tenfold. So he approached me to do it, he offered me this film, and it was at a time when I really didn’t want to work anymore. I’d been working non-stop and I was exhausted, but then I wanted to work with him.”

But negotiations stalled on the basis of salary, so Boseman stepped in.

“This was a pretty big-budget film, and I know that everybody understands about the pay disparity in Hollywood, but I asked for a number that the studio wouldn’t get to,” Miller said. “And because I was hesitant to go back to work and my daughter was starting school and it was an inconvenient time, I said, ‘I’ll do it if I’m compensated in the right way.’ And Chadwick ended up donating some of his salary to get me to the number that I had asked for. He said that that was what I deserved to be paid.”

Boseman gave her some of his salary so she could get what she deserves and appear in the movie. That’s not the kind of Hollywood story you hear very often.

“I think it’s a testament to who he was,” Miller said.

It’s becoming clear with every such story that Boseman wasn’t just royalty on screen. He was a true king.

Mario Kart Event Recap: The Dad Gaming League, Sponsored By Planters

(The Dad Gaming League)

Hey gamers. We did it. AGAIN. We’ve completed the second event for The Dad Gaming League, which we couldn’t have done without our sponsor, Planters.

We had 200+ people sign up for the Mario Kart event, which is outstanding!

Thank you to all the racers who showed up to the track, and shout out to our streaming hosts, Joel and Bayesic.

On September 18, we ran private tournaments for three categories. Battle Mode (6 battles), 150cc (12 races at high speed), and 200cc (12 races at ludicrous speed), streamed on The Dad Gaming’s Twitch channel.

We invited the top 12 of both the 150cc and 200cc categories back for the Grand Finals and the results were decisive, to say the least! Your 2020 The Dad Gaming League champion Mario Kart-er is: Mc (Brad McCaffrey).

We gave away prizes for the top three racers in ALL categories. As always, in the spirit of casual dad gaming, we also gave away a handful of random prizes, prizes to the first and last place racer in the first race with Joel (in both 150cc and 200cc), and possibly even some other surprise winners!

Prize winners are getting an epic loot box, with an official The Dad Gaming esports jersey and delicious Planters snacks. (First and second place in the Grand Finals also get $100!)

Congratulations to the champ, Mc, and all of the prize winners!

This was so much fun, everyone brought their A game and we saw some fantastic racers out there on the track.

Our next event is Super Smash Bros on October 9. Sign up now at thedadgaming.com. Then we have Rocket League (November, go here for a great Rocket League primer!), Apex Legends (December), and more!

If you have suggestions or ideas on how we can continue making these events better, we’d love to hear them. Email [email protected]. The Dad Gaming community is the best.

Squad up. Join The Dad Gaming FB group and Discord. Follow The Dad Gaming on Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Mario Kart Results

Battles:

12. 1genxer

11. TootLaRoo

10. M.A.T.

9. Solace

8. TJ

7. Matthew

6. Bayesic

5. MickyWinz

4. ElRey

3. SharkBait

2. Kaokoo333

1. Mc

 

150cc:

12. MickyWinz

11. Snock73

10. Kristie517

9. TootsLaRoo

8. Hunna

7. Josh

6. CampBean

5. SharkBait

4. GmrDad

3. Bayesic

2. MrTeets

1. Mc

 

200cc:

12. TootsLaRoo

11. Hunna

10. ElRey

9. Trey

8. thedadJOEL

7. Rhino

6. Kristie517

5. GmrDad

4. Bayesic

3. SharkBait

2. Mc

1. MickyWinz

 

Grand Finals – 150cc:

12. Ruben

11. CampBean

10. Snock73

9. GmrDad

8. MrTeets

7. TootsLaRoo

6. SharkBait

5. Hunna

4. Kristie517

3. MickyWinz

2. Bayesic

1. Mc

 

Grand Finals – 200cc:

12. Ryan’s Dad

11. GmrDad

10. ElRey

9. thedadJOEL

8. Hunna

7. TootsLaRoo

6. Kristie517

5. Rhino

4. MickyWinz

3. SharkBait

2. Bayesic

1. Mc

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

Father Figures: Died a Hero

“Just want to write to tell you guys about Timothy Ebert. Tim served as a Marine and fought overseas for this country.

When he met Lindsay she had two sons from a previous marriage. Without hesitation Tim stepped up and raised them like they were his own. Lindsay and Tim were able to have a child together, a a beautiful girl named Tinley.

Tim was such a great dad that my kids grew to love him in a very short time. He would go out of his way to make sure everyone was taken care of. It’s just who he was.

Tim was tragically killed on his way to work last month stopping to help a motorist who had just gotten into an accident. This signifies who he was as a person, even in his last moments always trying to take care of someone else. Please share Tim’s story as he truly was and died a hero.”

– Ryan Roberson

Landmine Sniffing “Hero Rat” Wins Gold Medal for Bravery

Hero Rat
(Twitter/PDSA_HQ)

One of Britain’s highest honors has been awarded to a rat. That’s kind of where we’re at in 2020, a rat gets awarded a medal for bravery, but the vermin definitely deserved it. Magawa is a mine-sniffing rat who has been trained to sniff out explosives, and he’s been saving lives in Cambodia.

Magawa, our hero rat, has helped clear more than 1.5 million square feet of land from mines, sniffing out dozens of explosives in the process. The British nonprofit PDSA awarded Magawa the gold medal for his bravery, making it the first time a rat has won the most prestigious honor for animals in Britain.

The relationship with animals usually goes one way, with people going out of their way to care for them in times of need or hang with them as a drinking buddy. Yeah, you see stories about dogs doing something cool, but there aren’t too many medal-winning badass rats out there. Magawa may be a tribe of just one when it comes to that.

In the virtual award ceremony (thanks COVID), the charity director called him a “hero rat”, which are two words that don’t go together much. “Pizza rat”, sure, or even “Pixar Cooking Rat” when you can’t come up with the title of Ratatouille, those make sense. “Hero rat” is a phrase that hasn’t been uttered since Splinter trained mutant turtles in martial arts.

“Magawa’s dedication, skill and bravery are an extraordinary example of this and deserve the highest possible recognition,” the charity said in a press release.


The charity said they use rats to help detect landmines because they are so fast. A rat can screen an area of 200 meters in a half-hour, which would take manual deminers four days.

In this case, it makes sense to give their high honor to Magawa, whose bravery is much bigger than the adorably small gold medal rightfully adorning his neck.