Stupid meteorologist: She said it would be clear skies through Wednesday, but here you are on Saturday night with a house full of guests and a downpour outside. Sure, everybody’s down for a game of Cards Against Humanity, but how are you going to cook?
The solution: DO NOT GRILL INDOORS! Unless you have a fancy rig designed specifically for indoor grilling, this can kill people. Don’t kill people at your cookout. Except for Charles. Kill Charles anytime you want. Just put on a hat or grab an umbrella and grill in the backyard with the cover closed. You should always grill with the cover closed anyway. It will take a little longer, because the rain will cool the barbecue, but mostly just stay the course. Or, you know, just use your oven. But don't throw coals in it.
Your propane runs out, and nobody's in any condition to drive
You should have checked the tank, but you didn’t. Driving is not an option, and walking to the store would take an hour. There aren't enough sides in the world to feed you all, so how do you cook those perfectly marinaded steaks?
The solution: The easiest fix is to always invite somebody old enough to drive, but not old enough to drink. If you didn’t do that, call an Uber or Lyft. Worst case, you can have the driver take you to the store and back. But some, if you call them on their way, will show up with the propane if you promise a good tip.
Margot brings a dozen extra guests... again
First: how much do we all hate Margot? Seriously. She is absolutely off the Christmas-card list this year. But her dozen uninvited friends mean you have twice as many mouths as you planned for right now, and you don't want to be rude (unlike somebody). How does everybody get fed? It’s not like Margot brought anything but a bottle of wine she’ll drink all by herself.
The solution: Cut all your steaks in half. Reform the burgers. Split the brats down the middle. Make lots of small stuff and cook it up, then serve it buffet style. Break into the snack cupboard and lay out some extra bowls of chips, crackers, Twinkies, whatever you have on hand. Worst case, you can open some cans of beans and make chili with the grilled meat in a two-stage cookout that looks like you planned it. Then lose Margot's number.
Yellow jackets are swarming everything and everyone
You saw the occasional stinging insect from time to time when the day started, but now that all the beer and soda cans are hot in one corner the little bastards are everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before somebody gets stung, and you can just bet it will be Jack’s kid, the one who’s allergic to everything.
The solution: Take an empty water bottle. Cut off the top just where it starts to taper. Fill the bottom of the water bottle with about an inch of hard liquor. Set the cut-off top inside, spout downward. Place this homemade yellow jacket trap as close to the nest as you can if you know where it is. If not, place it away from the food so it attracts them. This “redneck yellow jacket trap” will do the rest.
Everything got burned
You got a little too focused on talking with your wife’s hot friend from work, then lost another half hour getting quietly yelled at for it by your wife. By the time you got back to the grill, it was all over. Charred carbon as far as the eye can see.
The solution: This one’s binary. If it’s just a little char, spend some quick quality time with your filet knife and cut it off. The meat inside will be edible. If it’s burnt to hockey puck status, there’s not much for it. Call the pizza guy, or Uber Eats (there's probably a BBQ joint on there, right?). No sense being stubborn when everybody is hungry. Except Margot. She can remain hungry.