Analysis: Terry McAuliffe's July 4th Greetings Video Is a Massive Crime Against Grilling

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Terry McAuliffe was probably thinking his July 4th Everyman routine wasn’t terrible, and whatever family member or intern shot it for him was probably just so happy they were able to help him look hip and cool on Twitter. However, while not the worst we’ve seen when it comes to grilling tweets, it was still horrifying.

Cal Cunningham, who ran for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina, famously posted a photo of himself standing next to a grill that backfired tremendously.

The grill isn’t on, he’s got hot dog and hamburger buns on display, and he’s calling this “barbecue” while running for office in North Carolina, one of the most passionate barbecue centers in America. Frankly, I have no idea why the tweet is still up as it probably had a big impact on his race (and I am being 100% serious about that), but it proves that politicians want so badly to fit in they’ll do really stupid things like calling using a gas grill to cook burgers and hot dogs “barbecue” in a state that prides itself on whole hog, pork shoulder, and pork ribs over a wood or charcoal fire.

McAuliffe, who is running for governor of Virginia for the second time, appears to want the people of his state to think he loves America and grilling. The problem is his Fourth of July greetings video is just a sin against grilling.

I’ll give McAuliffe points for the shirt. I want one. However, it’s got a very unused look to it, like he bought it off the rack at Wal-Mart in preparation for shooting this video. Also purchased just for this video is whatever the hell spatula that is he’s holding. I have never seen that before, and I spent hours looking all over the Internet. Maybe I missed it, but it looks like an inefficient spatula regardless.

It’s clearly brand-new. The head is small and round, looking like it can barely pick up one of the burgers he or a campaign staffer has formed. Those burgers will be slick with rendering fat before too long, and it will take him multiple tries on most of those patties to get the spatula underneath and flip each one. That’s assuming he can flip any of them, given how packed they are on the grill.

I mentioned this on Saturday, but for those who don’t grill much, one of the key components of successful grilling is the use of zones to make sure you cook everything evenly without overcooking and drying it out or burning the outside to a crisp and leaving the inside raw. McAuliffe has packed the surface of the grill with burgers and sausages, suggesting he’s using every burner and will therefore be ruining good burgers. If he’s actually grilling in this video, he’s packed the surface so tight that even if he’s using zones it will be impossible to get a good rotation of the meat in time to prevent scorching the hell out of the exterior before he can get them away from the fire. Depending on the type of gas grill and the interior of it, all that rendering fat will cause flare-ups, making the situation even worse.

That’s assuming the grill is even on. None of the meat looks like any part has been in the process of cooking at all, as though they arranged all the meat on the grill before lighting it so they can get their video. There is a faint sound in the background like there is sizzling, but there is no smoke or any sign anything is actually cooking. I’m hesitant to say that he isn’t actually cooking anything on it, but it doesn’t look good.

To top it all off, the perfect way to end the video is with an unopened can of beer, which McAuliffe wildly flings about.

Again, it’s not as bad as the Cal Cunningham fiasco, but this is a really grave sin against grilling. McAuliffe isn’t even trying to get his burgers cooked correctly in the video. He just wants it to look like he is enjoying a classic July 4th tradition with the rest of his state, but it’s just not playing well. If cooked like that, the burgers were going to be awful. It’s clearly all arranged for a photo-op, but come on. At least get a sear on one side and flip before shooting the video so you can pretend you’re actually cooking.