Barbecue Season Can Only Mean One Thing: Summer Has Arrived.

OK, I know what you might be thinking: Summer doesn't start for another month. If you're the type who lives strictly by such things as, um, calendars then, yes, that's correct. But for me, summer--at least the spirit of summer--began this past Sunday when some friends and I gathered for the first afternoon barbecue of the year.

The forecast called for rain, but we refused to let the "chance" of thunderstorms rumble our plans. We all met at my friends' rooftop patio and settled in around the huge table they'd set up. We had a baseball game on the radio. We drank cold beer. We grilled shrimp, franks, Italian sausage, and wild turkey. We devoured a peach cobbler for dessert. We told stories, laughed, and relaxed. We didn't have a care in the world.

The best part of the day for me was when we served the wild turkey. This was the first of the turkey meat I'd eaten since my hunt earlier in the spring, but it was the first wild turkey my friends had ever eaten. I didn't attempt anything too fancy with the meat: I opted for the recipe David DiBenedetto recommended awhile back in Man's Best Friend--a very simple dish that calls for nothing more than olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic. My buddy Tanveer, who manned the grill, suggested we serve them on hamburger buns, and after I apologized for any stray shot pellets that I might've missed, we all dug in. One by one, my friends raved. The turkey was delicious. If there is one thing that's more rewarding that enjoying a meal from an animal that you hunted, it's sharing that harvest with your friends.

For the rest of the afternoon we continued to eat, laugh, and lean back in our chairs. And then eat some more. We promised not to let much time pass before the next barbecue.

The rain never did fall. But then, how could it on such a perfect summer day?

Photo courtesy of Tanveer Badal Photography