So, you are planning a backyard BBQ and have a few people in mind. Apparently, you are one of those generous and welcoming people as well as being the equivalent of a T-Rex when it comes to meat eating. That is why you load up on all 2 and 4 legged critters legally available to eat, only to find out some of your friends have converted to veganism! The nerve of them!
What are you to do? Your choices are:
- Banish them for life (serves ‘em right, and maybe they’ll repent and see the wrongness of their way)
- Order some cattle feed to see how they enjoy eating that
- Try to find a compromise so that everyone will have a good time.
Let’s shoot for #3, shall we? Full disclosure: I was an avid BBQ beast for many years then my wife and I converted to strict veganism for about 3 years. While now we do eat some meat, eggs and (gasp) cheese from time to time, majority of our diet is veggie heavy.
With this out of the way you need to understand there are as many types of Vegans/vegetarians as there are individuals. Some will eat animal products sometimes (Flexitarian), some will eat fish (piscatorian) and so on and so forth… Most people equate Veganism with the wild eye hippie tree hugger caricature. However, most vegans are reasonable, and some will even keep it quiet so as not to embarrass their hosts. (You can easily spot them; they will pick the smallest steak then share it between the 2 of them while loading up on potatoes and veggies.)
One thing most vegan can agree on is the ‘fake meat’. They detest it. It’s like a smoker going from cigarettes to nicotine gum. It doesn’t feel right. Plus, it’s not that much healthier than meat. Typically, highly processed, full of salt, sugar, fat and chemicals and it don’t taste great. If you want to turn off someone from becoming a vegan, serve them a vegan wiener! That’ll teach ‘em.
I have been on both the dark and light side of the issue (you decide which is which), and I think I’ve come up with a perfectly reasonable solution. Who doesn’t like pizza or Mexican food? So, you could make it a pizza or Mexican food BBQ themed party.
It’s super easy, for pizza all you need is small pizza bread, or naan or anything that will hold up nicely on a BBQ pizza stone. Now prepare some condiments and place them in small bowls. For carnivores, you want all sort of precooked meat of course: bacon, hot & mild sausages, pepperoni, chicken, steak, shrimps, etc. But your carnivore friends will also enjoy the dozens of veggie options available. Plus a variety of sauces – Red, White, Pink, Green (pesto is a good option for vegan), mushroom, various greens, vegan cheese (typically good), olives etc… Frankly the sky is the limit once you start checking your grocery store. You can be as creative and diverse as you’d like. Then let your guests load up their pizza and bring it to the BBQ stone for cooking.
Word of caution: Some of your guests might be so enthused by this, they will want to load up 3 inches worth of condiments on their pizza. It results in a gooey mess that will not cook through. Tell them it’s like a buffet. They can come back as many times as they want, so take it easy at first. Another tip is to put corn meal on the pizza stone to make it easier to lift the pizza off it. Otherwise it may stick to the stone.
The process for Mexican food is much the same. Get some enchilada / Fajita or tortilla bread with all the garnishes placed into bowls and let your guests make their own. They can make it open-faced on a BBQ pizza stone or use a sandwich press for a wrap. However, the same warning applies. Everyone tends to overload their wrap which makes it difficult to eat and clean.
The best part of doing this is you cannot be blamed if they don’t like it since they made it themselves. You’d be surprised how many experiment with different combinations after their second (or third or fourth) serving. Some carnivores have even been known to try a meat free version to find out it was pretty good!
Now what happens if your BBQ party is more conventional with Burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings etc.? Fret not… You vegan friends are used to it. They are coming to your party because they like you (weird, right?). So, food is just a small part of it.
If you ask them, they will be more than happy to bring a dish, veggie burger patties or whatever they enjoy. Who knows, it is highly likely you will enjoy it too!
So have a good time with all your friends. No matter their background they want to be with you to enjoy your company.
Speaking of friends, please check out your friendly WE LOVE FIRE! Dealer for all BBQ related appliances, accessories like pizza stone, tips and tricks, recipes etc… You’ll be glad you did.