BBQ Takes Time

I was recently invited to someone’s house for a party. Now while their company would have been enough to receive their invitation, I happily (and hungrily) accepted when they told me “We’re having BBQ.” If you’re from Memphis like me, you know BBQ—Memphis is BBQ. Where you go to eat BBQ is as tribal (and sacred) as where you go to church. Thus, you can imagine how disappointed I was when I showed up to the house and they were cooking hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. While I love all things grilled, that’s not BBQ. See, BBQ is a slow process where you might brine your pork—yes, pork—for several hours, season it with sweet and savory spices, and then let it smoke for several more hours or even overnight (without going to sleep). You savor every moment of the process knowing exactly what you’re going to get on the backend: a foretaste of heaven. BBQ takes time.

In Memphis, if you want good BBQ you won’t find it in the nice parts of town. The higher classes of society don’t know how to make good BBQ because they often don’t appreciate the slowness of it all. Memphis has a couple of the poorest zip codes in the United States, and guess where you find the best BBQ? Yep, you guessed it! Life often moves slower for those less fortunate. More simply, life moves slower for those whose lives aren’t cluttered with busyness of trying to stay with the times, keep up appearances, or climb ladders. But it’s not just the poor folk, it’s people like the photographer who waits all day for just the right light to take one frame. It’s the painter who waits for one slight turn of the muse’s cheek to project that glimpse of sheer beauty onto canvas. What good comes to those who wait, for those whose lives are slower? Foretastes of heaven—God’s goodness and glory captured in brief moments of time otherwise maybe unrecognizable or, at least, unappreciated when life whizzes by.

In this new year, you will have countless things to do and people to see and can get lost in the hustle and bustle of it all, imitating the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland never having any time to stop and appreciate what’s before you. You will be tempted to try to cram it all in while life speeds past you without realizing much of what just happened to you and your family or who you encountered. Will life be slower for you this year? If it is, you’ll have to make it slow—like BBQ. Good BBQ takes time and seldom goes unappreciated. So does life.

Leave a Comment

Comments for this post have been disabled.