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How to Survive (and Enjoy) a Nonvegan BBQ!

The following is a guest post by PETA Foundation staffer Amy Skylark Elizabeth.

A barbecue featuring meat on the grill can make any vegan feel downright ill. But don’t worry—the following helpful hints and recipes will make attending a less-than-vegan-friendly barbecue as easy as vegan apple pie. When it comes to what food to bring, ready-made veggie burgers and “meats” available at most grocery stores taste marvelous straight off the grill.

Favorites among PETA staffers are the Boca Original Vegan Burger and Tofurky Beer Brauts. When it comes to sides, corn on the cob, mushrooms, bell peppers, and sweet onions taste great when slathered in BBQ sauce and grilled over glowing coals. To really inspire a collective “yum” from everyone, whip up some easy-to-make (but hard-to-resist!) fried “chicken,” coleslaw, and macaroni salad.

And remember, try to keep it positive. Believe me: The delicious vegan food that you take to the party will speak volumes about why people should go vegan. But if someone gets up in your grill about what you’re putting on the grill, you have our permission to get as sassy as those cute leather-free sandals that you’re wearing.

They say: “Mmm … hamburgers!”
You say: “Mmm … heart disease, cancer, strokes, obesity, and impotence!”

They say: “Animals aren’t as smart as humans.”
You say: “If finding someone to be smart was a requirement for not hurting them, some people would be in a lot of trouble.” (Pointing to the person who said, “Mmm … hamburgers!” is optional.)

They say: “Animals were put here to be eaten.”
You say: “Just because we can eat animals doesn’t mean we should. Animals are made of flesh and blood, just like us. They love their babies and their companions, and they feel pain just as intensely as we do. They value their lives, too, and don’t want to die.”

They say: “People have always eaten meat.”
You say: “Yeah, and before we won our independence, we were ruled by England. Things change. What doesn’t change is the fact that vegan foods are cholesterol-free and low in fat, and they don’t form the harmful carcinogens found in barbecued beef.”

Now that you’ve wowed the crowd with your cruelty-free culinary skills and talked down the naysayers, kick back and enjoy the delicious vegan barbecue fare and the company of family and friends!

Commenting is closed.
  • EdwardHisTopazEyes says:


    hey guys well today I’ve decided I want 2 b a Vegetarian. The thing though is I’m mexican n every1 knows all we really eat r fajitia n stuff. N my mum is rlly freadked out by my choice. We keep arguing over it. I have no idea what 2 do. Any help please. She even thinks I cant eat cookies only vegetables n fruit, as if. my first step is 2 b a vegetarian mayb later on a vegan but still. If any1 knows Spanish can u please write me a note in Spanish explaining vegetarism to her please. Im begging here.

  • future_vet2011 says:

    I’ve always wanted to be a vegetarian, but I was scared of going to someone’s house and then there’s that awkward moment when you go a BBQ and can’t eat anything. Thanks so much!

  • RealMenEatSoyProtein says:

    As far as the “They say” section goes, that stuff never seems to work. I simply say “I’m not judging you, why are you judging me”. Of course, in reality, I am judging them, but they don’t need to know that.

  • Jimmy says:

    Yammy… i like meat stuff! delicious! And i don’t mind to die earlier as far as I enjoy the life like i do. Better than living like a powerless vegetable, hahha

  • Simon says:

    I’m a meat eater, and an animal lover. Some may accuse me of being contradictory but that’s another debate.

    As a meat eater who holds semi-regular BBQs, I’m all for vegans showing up and bringing their own food. If I know a vegan is showing up, I will accommodate them happily and come up with some amazing recipes to satisfy their tastes. But IF they start saying the things you mention above, if they start alienating themselves by talking about how less prone to heart attacks, obesity etc they are compared to the other guests and insult their intelligence as you suggest. They will not be allowed to enjoy, nor survive a nonvegan BBQ.

    Vegans and non vegans can get along just fine at any food related event but I feel the advice above will annoy the majority and alienate the minority.

  • kyndwitch says:

    I love being the one who brings a vegan dish to the bbq and having all the carnivores go nuts over how tasty it is….the look on their faces when I tell them it’s vegan is PRICELESS!!!

  • Musicmode says:

    I like PETA as an organization but this is just narrow minded and stuck up. I’m a meat eater and proud of it. I don’t car as long as the animal was brought up naturally and killed humanely.

  • DavidH says:

    Why restrict mushrooms to side dishes? I like to bring portabello mushrooms with a tasty marinade. There are many good marinades available, but I like a lemon basil marinade available at Whole Foods. Just grill them up and put them on a bun with some lettuce and perhaps some grilled onions. I tend to buy extra, because they’re always a hit, even with the omnivores.

  • kathy says:

    @mcmullin72, I understand if you don’t want to wear fake leather since people may think it’s real. I just want to let you know that PETA sells buttons that say, “Fake, not leather.” I put them on my non-leather purses/bags. I like using these because then someone may ask me why I want to show that the leather is fake. I carry a fliers that describe what happens to cows that are used for leather – in case anyone asks.

  • Drew says:

    I am 11 and have been a vegetarian for a year, and i TOATALY agree with christy. I tell my uncle that ALL the time. “Animals are not just killed for food, they are tortured their entire lives on factory farms before they are killed, often in an incredibly cruel way.” Almost my EXACT words.

  • Leanne says:

    I seen a video to ban live export, I caould not believe me eyes what i was seeing i just started crying it is so sad to see whatthey go through just so people can have a rib or a steak. Very sad if you ask me….

  • mcmullin72 says:

    I don’t know if I even want to wear pleather or fake anything. I don’t want anyone to even think I would be associated with that stuff. Thankfully all my clothes were already made of cotton or man made materials, but I’m having to get rid of tons of shoes. I have 2 pairs left a pair of crocs sandals and canvas keds with rubber soles. I’m probably wrong about those companies too!

  • Instruments HI 98129 says:

    Well, that is a pretty good post on how to survive a non-vegan BBQ… although I would recommend instead of discussing and saying arguments against eating meat, just nod gently or say something like “yeah, you are right”, even when you know they are not.

    Thanks for sharing! 😀

  • Gina says:

    I always get this problem, and people automatically think that I think I’m better than them.
    They get automatically offended and try to catch me out asking me about shoes, handbags, and all the rest. People are ignorant the animals don’t deserve it and I don’t understand how people are not affected about what is going on. 🙁

  • antoinette says:

    i’m having a vegan cook-out with a bon-fire and vegan smores! i’m so excited! hopefully i don’t have to use any of these comments though, and hopefully my friends will like my vegan food

  • Carol Monteverde says:

    Thanks so much for posting these questions and answers! They are very helpful and I am definately going to use them….

  • Clenbuterol says:

    That-s a tough cookie to swallow. With all the awesome smells and everything. Thanks for sharing, much appreciated.

  • Lyle McDaniel says:

    I had a similar run in last year. Most of my neighbors support my family as vegetarians; except for one. Was grilling my kids Garden Burger and the neysayer commented that it must taste like cardboard. I replied, “ever notice that we’re the same age but people always comment that you look 20 years older than me”. He simply sulked away with nothing to say…and we’re both Marines.

  • MA Moo says:

    I always get the “protein” argument?

  • MA Moo says:

    Thank YOU PETA!

  • Barbara Noon says:

    I like the answer to “People have always eaten meat.” I have never heard that answer before!

  • Danielle McDaniel says:

    Thank you for posting this!!!:)). This will certainly help me in the future whenever I come across the ignorant people out there(and there seems to be so many) who always have to say something bad about me being vegan. I will use these comebacks so thank you again!!!;))

  • Samantha says:

    Class not Sass! Being sassy will only make people defensive or not want to continue a discussion with you, when what we all really want to do is educate people and gently guide them towards a more cruelty free, healthy life style. Dont judge and act like you are better than them…come from a place of empathy, love and acceptance and you will find a lot less hostility. If someone does try to push me I just laugh and say “well I eat what I want and makes me feel good, and you should do the same!”

  • Kaiser Soze says:

    You can also say “Yeah, a couple hundred years ago everybody thought it was perfectly acceptable for black dudes to be slaves, things change”. Aww crap, that’s right, this is a Texas bbq. Nevermind…

  • Leslie says:

    I live in Canada so we don’t get some of the vegan “fake” meats but we do have a great company – Yves. They make “ground beef”, “chicken” stips and a few other products. The “ground beef” is FANTASTIC! I cooked it for my boys aged 20 and 23 and told them it was ground beef and they loved it. Then I told them the truth and they were pleasantly surprised. There is nothing like eating a plant-based diet!!!!! I feel lighter and cleaner on the inside, if that makes any sense. I love not adding to green house gases and I LOVE that no sentient being had to die or give up their young (milk cows) so I could eat. The Daniel (of the bible) diet was plant-based so there is biblical support for veganism. I don’t care who bugs me about this. I will NEVER eat another animals product again. NEVER.

  • alte kracher avantgarde says:

    am vegetarian for about 35 years – my doc says, very likely i would become 100 and more – , remember that people gave me a hard fight at the setout, and am enjoying very much the acceptance by the public at large today to eat no dead animals. love vegan bbq, and meanwhile my friends love it as well (they have no choice in fact, do they? heehee). cheers to peta!