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David Letterman’s Top Ten Barbecue Lists

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David Letterman is a very funny man. He hosted the late night talk show Late Night With David Letterman” on NBC for 33 years through May 20, 2015, the longest late night run iun history. One of his most popuar running routines was his Top 10 lists which counted down from 10 to one. These lists are reprinted here with written permission from Worldwide Pants, Inc, the production company founded by David Leterman.

Top Ten Signs You’re at a Bad Barbecue

June 11, 1997

Reprinted with permission of Worldwide Pants.

  1. Everything on the grill has a long, thin tail.
  2. To avoid burning, chicken breasts are covered in Coppertone.
  3. The “cole slaw” is just mayonnaise and lawn trimmings.
  4. The three-legged race is won by a three-legged guy.
  5. Every couple minutes, the cook drops his pants and flips himself with the spatula.
  6. Host tells you the burgers are 20% beef and 80% critter.
  7. The steaks have been sitting in marinade sauce all night, and so has your Uncle Earl.
  8. You have to sign a legal waiver before you eat the potato salad.
  9. Things seem tense between your hosts, Frank and Kathie Lee.
  10. The guests all have grill marks on their foreheads.

Top Ten Things You Don’t Want To Hear at Your Family Barbecue

June 30, 2000

  1. I got the idea for this recipe from watching Survivor.
  2. Which do you want first, kids, ice cream or the name of your real father?
  3. I made the potato salad three weeks ago, so it’s naturally red, white and blue.
  4. Somebody keep the cops busy while Dad buries the knife.
  5. It’s me, Aunt Susan – you remember me from last year as Uncle Jeff.
  6. And now cousin Dave will show us slides of his quintuple bypass.
  7. If you don’t wash your hands, it gives the burgers more flavor.
  8. By the way, your wife is an excellent kisser.
  9. Pick up your pants, Grandpa – that’s not how you put out a barbecue.
  10. Dude, that firecracker really did a number on your eye.

Top Ten Questions Received By The Weber Grill Hotline

June 16, 2011

This list aired during the week that New York Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned after Tweeting risque pictures of himself to women, and after more than 30 people died from eating E. coli contaminated sprouts. During the intro to this list, Dave and his band leader Paul Shaffer engaged in banter about grilling.

Dave: All you need to know about grilling is to light it up, put the meat [on] and you’re in business. It doesn’t make any difference how it comes out. Who cares? You’re drunk!

To Paul: If you’ve got a gas powered grill you’re not really grilling. Do you have a gas grill?

Paul: Yeah.

Dave: No no no, that’s for babies.

Paul: I’m not grilling? What have I been doing?

Dave: You’ve just been cooking outdoors.

The list

  1. “Why does barbecuing in the house make me sleepy?”
  2. “Can one cook giraffe meat on the sum-bitch?”
  3. “Where’s the nearest emergency room?”
  4. “When is the 4th of July this Year?”
  5. “Which sunblock should I put on my burgers to keep them from burning?”
  6. “In an average day, how much charcoal starter should I drink?”
  7. “Do you have any good recipes for German bean sprouts?”
  8. “Is it safe to use my grill while driving?”
  9. “Want to see naked pictures I took of myself at the Congressional Gym?”
  10. “What’s the best way to remove grill marks from my ass?”

Tips for grilling


  1. Test the grill temperature by putting your hand directly on the grate.
  2. Constantly turning burgers and hot dogs is a great way to avoid interaction with others.
  3. Treat guests to a pleasant surprise. Stuff burgers with cheese, bacon, or loose change.
  4. Help meat retain its natural juices by applying a thick coat of antiperspirant.
  5. Cooking shish kebab may result in a visit from the Department of Homeland Security.
  6. While the grill is hot, burn incriminating photos or ducuments.
  7. Entertain guests by making a slide whistle noise when you slip a hot dog into the bun.
  8. Remember, technically you’re not inappropriately touching someone if you use tongs.
  9. To keep unused pickle slices fresh, reassemble them before storing.
  10. Nothing says “The party is over” like urinating on the hot coals.

The BBQ rules

Not from Letterman, but funny just the same, this one has been going around the net for years, but it always bring a chuckle.

When a man volunteers to barbecue the following chain of events are put into motion:

  1. The woman buys the food.
  2. The woman makes the salad, the vegetables, and dessert.
  3. The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill with his buddies, drinks in hand.
  4. The woman remains outside the compulsory 10′ exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the female aura.
  5. Here comes the important part: THE MAN PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL.
  6. Then the woman sets the table.
  7. The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another drink while he flips the meat.
  9. The woman places it on the table and the guests dig in.
  10. Everyone praises the man and thanks him profusely.
  11. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
  12. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed her night off and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there’s just no pleasing some women.

Sign from a Texas restaurant prohibiting unlicensed firearms on premises

Sign in Texas BBQ restaurant window.

Related articles

Published On: 9/11/2016 Last Modified: 2/13/2024

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  • Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", and is a BBQ Hall Of Fame inductee.


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