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The Hardest Day of my Life

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
Sorry to hear your guests were Jerks. Had a similar situation. Our first Christmas Married, I volunteered to host my Wife's Families Annual Christmas Dinner. I went all out. Ham, Turkey, Polish Food, Italian Food, with Appetizers, Sides and Dessert. I spent most of the day before prepping and day of Cooking. All went off perfectly and the food was great, per word coming back to the kitchen. About 9pm, I grabbed a Beer and came out to what I thought would be Accolades and a night of indulgence. Instead, I found my BIL passed out on the couch, my Wife cleaning up and...Everyone left, never saying a word to me.
33 Years I have been married to that same woman...I NEVER HOSTED CHRISTMAS DINNER AGAIN!!!...JJ


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 25, 2015
I think it all boils down to 3 issues with people today:
1. Lack of basic manners...no thank you's, no smiles or handshakes, nothing.
2. People have a weird sense of entitlement, like everyone else's purpose in life is to serve them, whether they're paying handsomely or getting a freebie.
3. Lack of humility...everyone thinks they know everything, and the corollary to this: people are slow to recognize expertise, or to realize there are fields of endeavor they don't even know exist.

I hope I don't sound callous. That's not my intent and it's obvious that this was painful to you, even days later. But face it, this is not your livelihood. You have another way to support your family than by BBQ. You can get over this.

You almost certainly have considerable latent culinary talent, on top of which you've invested money in your rig and tools, and put countless hours into the hard work of turning good into great. Same with a lot of musicians. They may be incredibly talented, but they quickly size up their audience and bring themselves down to their level, with the hope that with time, maybe they can raise the overall average. The problem with suggesting you serve raw hotdogs and stale beer the next time is that's just revenge. That doesn't help you, nor them, and it doesn't help advance the art (or craft or hobby) that we all share on this blog.

Friends exist on many levels. With time, hopefully you'll find a group of kindred spirits both you and your wife enjoy that truly share your love and appreciation of good food. They won't need to say thank you...you'll see it in their faces. They get it. I call these my hobby friends. I also have work friends. We may totally differ on hobbies, politics, religion, etc but we all share the goals of our organization or firm...we are colleagues. (It's rare when a spouse likes these friends.) Lastly there are family friends. These are your relatives, or in-laws, or the friends of your wife. They have a place at your table JUST because of their relational status. Don't expect them to be what they're not.

Christ said don't cast your pearls before swine. Save the pearls of your considerable talents for your hobby friends.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 27, 2017
Bill, that is a very well thought out and delivered post. Thank you for taking the time to post it. I know it is something I needed to read. I appreciate your perspective and sharing it. I know in the past I have been excited about something new in the culinary world and rushed to share it with people that just do not care about food all that much.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 25, 2015
It's lonely at the top. The further out front you get from the pack the less likely you are to be running with true equals. And the less likely it is the crowd will pat you on the back. This is not a bad thing; this is a good thing. The better you are, the harder it is to find peers. We should strive for excellence, not complements.
Unless you're trying to make a living at it. Money changes everything. You have to do what sells, not necessarily what's the best for you or best for your craft.

pi guy

Meat Mopper
Joined Dec 28, 2013
I have to say your original post hits home a bit. I absolutely LOVE cooking for other people, even though we seem to do less and less entertaining. Even so, I want my guests to be satisfied, as if I were the chef at a restaurant they were paying good money to go to. I can't say I've had responses such as yours that I can remember, but what does hit home, is how much you obviously care about providing your friends with a great experience. I totally get that! Sometimes I think I care too much, and need to remind myself that I'm not a chef, and these fools aren't paying me to cook for them. Some are even drinking my beer! So as I've gotten older I find myself caring less and less about their reactions (although I still want to wow them with great food), and start caring more and more about what I (and my wife and kids) think about the food. I think in time you'll start to feel the same way too.

Don't let cooking stress you out; you obviously love to do it. Keep it enjoyable by keeping it fun. Keep the pressure down and learn to shake off comments or attitudes. Have a couple of drinks with them, you're not going to screw up the experience.

Have fun doing it, love the hell out of that new baby, and cook for you.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined May 12, 2018
I totally agree. This weekend we hosted our Son's wedding rehearsal dinner, which meant I cooked for 23 people. I love to do it, haven't had a group this big in 5+ years, when I was much younger and much more sprigh lol. But I dusted off my old bones, took some Extra Strength Tylenol and manned up. Pictures will be posted later or tomorrow as I'm finishing another 2 week cooking project today to be posted as well. But everything came out great, pulled pork, pork loin, and homemade BBQ sauce, which I haven't made in 7 years, my Wife made her excellent homemade Mac and Cheese. Got a lot of compliments, and almost all of it was eaten with very little leftover. To me that's the best compliment. One of the Grandparents who does a lot of smoking himself, asked me for the recipe for the sauce, which was flattering. We were very happy with the outcome, weren't expecting any happy results going in, knowing it would most likely be the last time we'd host a group with more than 5-6 folks. So it was bittersweet and gratifying at the same time. The next day, I had the nerve to suggest that we should host large groups again sometime at which point my better half asked me how I'd like to start sleeping in the backyard on a regular basis, lmao. Stay the course and keep doing what you love.



Fire Starter
Joined Sep 15, 2019
I, for one, enjoyed your story (except for the ungracious guests). The food you prepared sounded wonderful, and I'm sure it tasted great. Unfortunately, not a lot of people know or understand how much work and money go into great bbq (and great food in general). I promise you that your smoking meats buds (the people on this forum) understand what it takes and would have fully appreciated what you did. Continue to cook or bbq what you like because you and your family are the only critics that really matter.

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