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The BBQ Stain Art Appreciation Test

Materials Needed

  • Barbecue sauce
  • A squeeze bottle(or straw)
  • Card-stock or construction paper
  • Tape
  • Eight 3x5 cards
  • Pens
  • Paper for guessing
  • A bowl
  • A grill master with a sense of humor
  • After years of experience with barbecue sauce stains, a seasoned grill master can glance at a stain and instantly tell you exactly what it looks like. Obviously Rorschach knew his way around a grill.


    Barbecue sauce stains are as much a part of outdoor summer parties as ants. What is too often ignored is that those stains can actually be works of art! Luckily, your grill master is there to help you interpret this under appreciated style of art.

    The Set Up: Lay eight pieces of card-stock or construction paper on a flat surface. One by one, drip barbecue sauce on the paper in a random pattern. You can use a straw to do this but an empty squeeze bottle works best(ketchup or dish soap bottles will work nicely). Fold the paper over along the center line and press down with your palm. Unfold the paper and you should have a strange shape where one side mirrors the other side. It may take a few practice runs to get the results you want, but there is no truly wrong result. Once you are satisfied, number the pages one through eight.

    Since your grill master(the person manning your grill for the party) is the resident BBQ stain expert, ask them what they see in patterns of barbecue sauce for each and record the answers. For example, “two butterflies kissing”. These answers are now the correct answers.

    This a multiple choice game so you need to come up with two/three wrong answers for each stain. Tape the eight numbered stains to a table in order. In front of each tape a 3×5 card with the letters A,B,C, and D written on them. D will always be “None of the above”. For A-C randomly write either the correct answer and two wrong answers you come up with, or three wrong answer you come up with if the correct answer is going to be D, none of the above.

    The Rules: Before you eat, give your party guests pen and paper. Explain to them that the grill master has given the correct answers and that their task is to look at each stain and write down the correct multiple choice answer. Once they are done with all eight they should write their name on their paper and leave it in a bowl you have placed on the table. After the meal have the grill master hold up each stain and explains exactly what is represented in the imagery. Encourage them to come off sounding like a snooty art expect. The guest that got the most answers correct it the winner and gets a prize.

    This sounds like a lot of prep work, but it really does not take that much time. The key to this game working is the grill master. If you have a fun loving person that is not afraid to play the role the results can be hilarious.