Of yellowjackets and roast beef



Wasps – that’s the buzzword of autumn.

And I hate the little beggars.

They accosted folks downtown during FireFest weekend. They pestered people enjoying a beverage on a licensed patio.

And they are onto me in our backyard.

I love fall, especially in September, when the days can still be warm, and the evenings pleasantly cool.

And as most of you know, I love to barbecue.

Spending time outdoors and barbecuing isn’t quite so enjoyable when you have yellowjackets buzzing about.

They typically come out in force in mid-August or so and hang around into September. This year, they seemed to have had a later surge, and act like they are trying to make up for lost time.

The yellowjackets tend to scavenge. They love sweet stuff and meat (sounds like more than a few people I know, actually).

At this time of year, they’re numbers are at their highest, and typical food sources are starting to die off. That’s why they’re buzzing about.

So at outdoor public events at this time or year, or on a patio, people are often drinking soda and eating meat – perfect for attracting wasps, unfortunately.

My barbecue seems to be a magnet. I had at least four or five buzzing around me Saturday and Sunday as I drained and refilled our hot tub, did some yard work, and cooked both days. Especially when I cooked.

I broke out the fly swatter and killed off a few each day. Then Mary got smart and added a little sugar and water to an empty beer can to lure them to the other side of the patio. The only problem is, it just seemed to attract more.

I thought I’d be smart and nuke the can suckers with Raid. But the aerosol can I yanked out of the shed spent a cold winter out there. It didn’t want to help out much, unless I shook the heck out of it. Plus, it was a very windy day.

I needed a flamethrower. Oh, well.

I must grab a wasp trap, where you put sugar water into the trap, the wasps go it, but can’t seem to remember how to get out. Kind of like a few barflies I know.

Friday, I visited Sensei Jeff’s place and he actually made my wasp issue seem meek in comparison. The nutbar had bombed a nest he found on his shed. Rather than waiting for a cool evening, he hit them with the spray during the day. And were they ticked off!

When I arrived, his one daughter was about 15 feet away from the shed with one of those bug-zapping paddles that look a lot like a tennis racket.

It was quite comical to see her flailing away. Every once in a while, as Jeff and I talked barbecue nearby, we’d hear a “Zap!” and she’d have a big smile.

Yep, never a dull moment at Jeff’s place.  There’s always a spectator sport taking place.

Where’s the beef?

roast1After two nights of trying different sauces on our chicken, and loading up on grilled peppers (one meal was just chicken and peppers, and they were delicious), Mary wanted to raise the bar. We had never done a roast on the Big Green Egg. So off to the store the ladies went, while I prepped the barbecue and watched the Raiders start to lose yet another game.

We wound up cooking an inside round roast on the barbecue, complete with potatoes, asparagus and some Brie cheese for an appetizer.

I got the grill up to about 700 F and plunked that well-seasoned meat down on it for about a minute on each side to sear in the juices.

Next up, we switched to indirect cooking at 350 F or so for about 90 minutes. The potatoes went on towards the end of the cook, and were joined by the Brie and asparagus.

It was all very tasty. The charcoal adds great flavour to the beef. So too did the spices and red wine reduction my wife made.


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