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10 Small Things That Annoy Every Grillmaster

You've been invited to a barbecue—lucky you! Here's what NOT to do while your host is grilling.

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Asian woman are cooking for a group of friends to eat barbecue;Shutterstock / TORWAISTUDIO

Expressing doubt about the grillmaster’s grilling game

You might think this is a no-brainer—until you arrive at the barbecue and discover your grillmaster’s a woman. For some reason, grilling’s presumed to be a man’s domain. Well, I’m a woman, I grill and if I had a pie for every time time a male guest asked if I were sure I didn’t need him to take over, I’d be rolling in dough.

(The exception is if you see your grillmaster making any of these dangerous grilling mistakes. Then take him or her aside and have a word.)

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Happy friends talking to each other while preparing barbecue near pool;Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia

Being a helicopter guest

Please let your grillmaster work her/his magic without hovering. It’s perfectly fine (and actually quite nice!) to ask once if you can help. But when the answer is “no,” it’s okay to take “no” for an answer.

Need to brush up on your party etiquette? Here are 6 tips you’ll actually use.

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Young woman opens gas grill, prepares grill for BBQ, steak, sausages for happy family holiday.Shutterstock / solepsizm

Opening the grill without asking

If you’re cooking in your kitchen, would you want someone waltzing in and opening up the oven or lifting the lids off your pots and pans to take a peek? Well, the grill is your grillmaster’s oven and stove, so hands off.

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A perky wire fox terrier eying two strip loin steaksShutterstock / V J Matthew

Bringing your dog

Your pooch is adorable, but he doesn’t belong at a barbecue. Unless he’s specifically invited (or really well trained!), please leave your furry friend at home because the last thing your grillmaster wants is to guard the food from Fido. That said, there’s nothing wrong with asking your host if you can bring home a doggie bag…and here’s a guide to the people food your dog can safely eat.

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beer and soda bottles in the iceShutterstock / Igor_Koptilin

Asking for a speciality drink

The cooler with soda and beer that your grillmaster set out? That’s the barbecue’s cocktail menu. The reason grillmasters set out the drinks that way is so they can focus on grilling, rather than on bartending. If you’re craving something special, why not bring it to share?

Psst… When I’m the grillmaster, I serve up frozen drinks in pitchers.

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Burning tiki torch in the backyardShutterstock / Alexander Prokopenko

Being the bug police

Bugs don’t bug me. People who are bugged by bugs at my barbecue bug me. And I’m not alone in this! A good grillmaster will have done his or her best to keep the bugs at bay, with something like tiki torches or citronella candles. Do your best to accept the reality of bugs at a barbecue.

Of course, no one will have any issue with these bugs.

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Multiracial young people dancing in forest party in summer time Shutterstock / DisobeyArt

Never bringing a sweater

Come on now! You know that when the sun goes down, it can get a bit chilly. If you’re someone who’s always cold, then come with a sweater. You’ll be so much more comfortable, and your grillmaster can focus on grilling, rather than finding you something warm to cover up with.

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Taste of Home

Leaving before dessert


I’m always sad to see you leave before the final course has been served, but it’s even more heartbreaking when I’m grilling. You see, many a grillmaster has a grilled dessert up their sleeve they’re looking forward to sharing (like any one of these top-notch grilled desserts), and you’ll be missing something special if you head out too early.

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Smiling man holding bottle of wine in supermarketShutterstock / wavebreakmedia

Leaving with the gift you brought


If you brought wine or beer to your grillmaster, then you earn points for being a gracious guest. But your grillmaster might not serve those drinks, because the menu, including the beverages, has been planned with TLC. Think of your wine as a gift—and please don’t take it with you when you leave!

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Clean grill panShutterstock / fotoknips

Staying way too late

When your host starts talking about the party in the past tense (“What a fun evening this was), that’s a pretty good sign it’s getting to be “that time.” But even the savviest of guests can miss their cue, so if your host starts scrubbing down the grill in earnest, you’ll know for sure the time is now!

Party at your place next time? Here are 5-star grilling recipes to inspire your menu

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.

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