Can your July 4 barbecue get you sued?

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It’s summer party season, which means these $1.50 burgers (yes, you read that right) paired with backyard beers, poolside cocktails and porch wine.

But prior to inviting your friends over to cool off and let loose, there’s a few things you should consider. For example, did you know that in over half of U.S. states, there are “social host liability” laws on the books that hold you responsible if someone gets drunk at your house and then hurts someone or damages property?

We’ve got July Fourth celebrations on the horizon. So, before you crack open a cold one, consider what you can do to lower your risk.

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Drunk (driving) history

Social host liability laws are descendents of so-called “dram shop laws,” which can hold bars and restaurants liable if they over-serve. Dram shop laws were developed post-prohibition when an increase in drinking combined with the newfound popularity of the automobile meant that drunk driving started to cause a lot of damage. Legislators hoped that, by assigning liability to bar owners, it would encourage them from over-serving and discourage drunk driving. In the 1980s, social host laws extended that liability to residential property owners.

The laws, which vary widely by state, assign criminal and civil responsibility to hosts who serve alcohol to guests — meaning that if a guest leaves your house and hits a cyclist with their car, that cyclist can sue you for property damages and bodily injury.

Social host laws are a controversial tool for reducing drunk driving — no one wants to be held responsible for the actions of others. But also, the laws work: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) notes that a 2000 study found social host laws correlated with less drinking and driving and less heavy drinking.

The good news is most states’ social host laws focus on your liability after supplying alcohol to minors — so if you only have people over 21 at your house, you’re probably going to be OK. But if a minor does get access to alcohol at your home and then gets behind the wheel, some states will hold you doubly responsible, allowing any victim of your minor guest and your minor guest to sue you for damages. You can also be sued if a minor has to be treated for alcohol poisoning after being at a party at your home.

The laws can vary widely beyond that — in New Jersey, for example, if a “visibly intoxicated” guest hurts someone after drunk driving, you can be held liable whether you physically gave them a drink or they simply helped themselves. In New Hampshire, a minor who furnishes alcohol to other minors can be liable. In Illinois, you can be liable if you rent a hotel room for minors knowing they’ll drink liquor in it. In Iowa and Tennessee, you are only responsible if the drunk guest is under age 18. In California, hosts are not held responsible for the actions of party guests — unless the guest was a minor.

Even in the states without official host laws, you can still be charged with criminal or civil liability if an intoxicated guest at your home — minor or adult — goes on to harm a third party.

Are you covered?

If you have homeowners insurance or renters insurance, your policy comes with universal liability insurance, which means you’re protected in many instances of legal action against you. (Like, if grilling goes wrong or fireworks misfire and a guest gets singed.)

However, when it comes to social host liability suits, you’re very likely not fully covered.

The liability coverage provided by your homeowners or renters insurance omits intentional or criminal acts, so if you knowingly provided alcohol to a minor or you knew your party guest was going to leave your house and get behind the wheel, your coverage would not apply. Most homeowners insurance policies also exclude punitive damages, so even if your legal costs were covered, if a jury ordered you pay punitive damages to the third party, your insurance would not pay out.

If you’re sued by a third party as the result of an auto accident, there is some disparity in what insurance companies will cover — homeowners and renters insurance liability both have an auto exclusion when you’re operating the vehicle, but the language on most policies is less clear regarding whether it covers your liability if a guest is an auto accident. Your personal auto insurance may step in here — most policies cover you for the “use of any vehicle” and doesn’t say it has to be “by you.”

How to get (more) coverage

Some renters and homeowners policies do provide liquor liability coverage. If you host a lot of parties, find out if yours does — or find a new carrier that provides that coverage. Adding an umbrella policy that includes host and liquor liability is another option.

A third option is to purchase special event insurance that includes liquor liability. You still wouldn’t be covered for obviously criminal or negligent acts (giving drinks to a minor, knowingly putting your drunk friend behind the wheel), but this insurance would cover your legal costs and medical payment payouts if one of your guests hurts a third party. Depending on the size of your event, special event insurance can cost a few hundred dollars, but if your party is big enough, having the extra liability coverage may make sense. (For example, many people purchase special event insurance for weddings.)

Tips to mitigate your risk during summer party season

Summer is peak party season, and we want you to have fun! We just also want you to be responsible (and wear sunscreen). So here are our tips for having boozy summer fun the smart way.

  • Know the social host laws in your state.
  • If you have kids, talk to them about liquor liability. Let them know that even if they sneak liquor, you could be held responsible and lose everything (not to mention — though do mention — they could hurt or kill themselves or others if they got behind the wheel while intoxicated).
  • Keep kids away from the booze. At parties, keep the bar in your line of vision and lock up your liquor. “I didn’t see them drinking” isn’t an excuse in most states.
  • Have lots of non-alcoholic options available and encourage guests to partake in them instead of or in addition to alcoholic drinks.
  • Have lots of food available to slow down drinking and sop up alcohol.
  • Take keys from obviously drunk people, and offer guests beds, couches, and rides home.
  • If you’re throwing a big blow-out, consider purchasing a special event general liability insurance policy with liquor liability, which can cost a few hundred dollars depending on the size of your event.
  • If you do encounter minors drinking at your home, take immediate steps to stop consumption and take away the alcoholic beverages (in addition to being the right thing to do, this can mitigate your liability later on). And, of course, confiscate keys and provide rides home.
  • According to the NIAAA, past history of violations involving alcohol is a good indicator of the likelihood of future violations. Using that info, hone your guest list, or keep a close eye on certain guests who may have a history of getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t — and be quick to take their keys or call cabs on their behalf.

Social host liability laws by state

Even in states that don’t have specific social host liability laws, you can be found criminally negligent if you serve alcohol to minors or if an intoxicated guest goes on to harm a third party. But if your state has an official social host law on the books, you should know about it.

The states with social host laws that apply generally (meaning, if person of any age hurts someone or damages property after getting drunk at your house, you could be held liable) are: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

The states with social host laws that apply specifically to minors (meaning, if person under 21 — 18 in some states — hurts someone or damages property after getting drunk at your house, you could be held liable) are: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Want to have a summer party but need to get your budget ready first? Check out these 12 ways to get your budget ready for summer in five minutes or less.

This article originally appeared on Policygenius and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

More from MediaFeed:
This showstopping pulled pork belongs at your next cookout

 

Moist, tender and delicious, this pulled pork recipe is out of this world flavorful! If you’re looking for the best way to get tender, moist and full of flavor shredded pork, you just can’t go wrong with smoked pork butt. This is a super versatile recipe and perfect for leftovers and meal prep.

So what makes this the best pulled pork recipe?

  • It’s slathered in a mustard base and covered with a homemade spice rub.
  • The cut of meat used is famous for yielding the best results when it comes to pulled pork.
  • The pork is smoked low and slow with applewood chunks and an apple cider vinegar/water mix in the water pan.
  • There’s a secret to getting past the stall, and how this method results in freshest, most succulent pork.

 

AnastasiaNurullina / istockphoto

 

It’s actually not a butt at all. People automatically think this cut of meat comes from the rear end of the pig based on the name. But it’s called “pork butt” because back during the Revolutionary War times, butchers would store prized quality cuts of meat in barrels, called “Buttis” in Latin, which translates to “butts” in English. When you hear the term “pork butt” or “Boston butt,” know that it’s just a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder.

 

rez-art / istockphoto

 

For this recipe, you’ll need different ingredients for different parts of the process. You’ll need the spices and dry mustard for the smoked butt rub. The water and apple cider vinegar are needed for the water pan. And then, a small spray bottle mixed with apple juice and water is used to spray the pork during the stall process to help keep the meat juicy and tender.

Dry rub

  • Pork shoulder: I typically buy an 8-9 lb shoulder because it yields about 10-12 servings, which allows for leftovers/easy meal prep.
  • Yellow mustard: Used as a baste. It provides amazing flavor while smoking and helps the spice rub really stick and penetrate the meat.
  • Turbinado sugar: Are sugar crystals that contain a higher level of molasses and have more flavor. Turbinado sugar is raw and less processed than other sugars.
  • Light brown sugar: Is fine in texture and pairs well with the larger turbinado crystals for this spice rub.
  • Smoked paprika: Is different than just “paprika.” Smoked Paprika uses chilies that are smoke-dried and then crushed where regular paprika is just crushed dried chilies.
  • Chili powder: Provides a smoky taste, with a little bit of spice. The base spices that make up chili powder are ancho chile powder, cumin, paprika and Mexican oregano.
  • Garlic powder: Is made from crushed dehydrated garlic cloves and provides a savory taste.
  • Onion powder: Made from dehydrated onions and pairs well with meat.
  • Cumin: Is a warm and earthy spice that is used in a lot of Indian cuisines.
  • Cayenne powder: A type of chili pepper that is moderately hot and spicy used as a flavor enhancer.
  • Dry mustard: Provides no flavor unless paired with a liquid, which is another reason to use yellow mustard as a base to the pork before adding on the spice rub. Dry mustard is just ground mustard seed and helps provide sweet and spicy undertones of flavor.
  • Ground coriander: A little bit of lemony and floral flavor, coriander pairs exceptionally well with cumin, which is why it’s used in this spice rub.
  • Salt and black pepper: A flavor enhancer that is essential in the rub.

Mister spray

  • Apple juice mixed with water: 1/4 cup of apple juice and 1/4 cup of water should be mixed in a spray bottle. You’ll spray the pork when double wrapping it in aluminum foil in preparation for the stall process. This process helps add additional moisture and flavor.

Water pan

  • Apple cider vinegar and water: Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with 8-10 cups of water and pour it into the smoker water pan.

Bone-in or bone out pork shoulder

Rumor has it that if you smoke pork shoulder with the bone in, it’s more moist and tender. I’ve smoked many pork shoulders, some with the bone in and some with the bone out. To be honest, I can’t tell the difference. Both were amazingly tender and moist. When smoking a shoulder with the bone in, it will easily slide right out when done. With a boneless pork shoulder, the meat tends to be more marbled with fat and produces more meat per pound.

Pulled pork dry rub

First, you’ll need to prep the pork shoulder for the dry rub.

  • Place the pork shoulder on a large cookie sheet or pyrex dish.
  • Take 1/4 cup of yellow mustard and baste the entire pork shoulder. This not only helps the dry ingredients stick to the meat, but the mustard base adds moisture and enhances the flavor of the meat while smoking.
  • Once basted, mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Generously coat the dry rub onto the pork shoulder until completely covered, ensuring to get the rub onto both sides and into crevices.
  • Cover with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. This step is crucial for enhancing the flavor of the pork and allows each spice to really penetrate the meat.

 

:robynmac / istockphoto

 

There’s a couple of things you should do before you start smoking the pork shoulder:

  • I like to wrap my water bowl with aluminum foil before adding the water and apple cider vinegar. By doing this, you’re saving yourself a lot of mess. Less cleanup is always better!
  • Are you going to use wood chips or chunks? Are you going to soak them? I prefer using chunks when I smoke meat because it’s been my experience that they produce more smoke for a more extended period. And I always soak my chunks. It makes them last longer during a long smoking process.
  • Preheat the smoker before placing the food inside. It can take about 20-30 minutes to warm up the smoker to 225 degrees. Place the water pan and wood chunks in the smoker while it’s preheating.

 

Stefano Carocci / istockphoto

 

  • Take the pork out of the refrigerator to rest on the counter at the same time you start the smoker.
  • Once the smoker is 225 degrees, place the pork shoulder on a rack, fat side up, above the water pan and wood chunks.
  • Place an electrical temperature gauge in the meat and close the smoker doors.
  • Smoke will start to escape the smoker in the early stages of the process.
  • Keep the smoker heat between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit and let it smoke slow and low.

 

TomLester / istockphoto

 

Just like the brisket stall I talk about in my smoked brisket recipe, you’ll experience a similar stall when smoking a pork butt. A stall happens when your smoker temperature stays the same, but the internal temperature of the meat is no longer increasing at a steady pace. Could you increase the heat of the smoker to make it cook faster? Sure. But that defeats the process of smoking meat low and slow.

Here’s the secret to getting past the stall:

  • After several hours when the internal temperature of the pork reaches 165 degrees, remove the pork from the smoker and place it on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Take the spray bottle mixed with 1/4 cup of apple juice and 1/4 cup of water and spray the meat 4-5 times. This helps trap moisture and enhances the flavor of the meat while resting during the stall process.
  • Tightly wrap the pork shoulder in a large piece of foil, and then wrap it again in another piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, so the pork is double wrapped.
  • Place the double wrapped pork back into the smoker, insert the temperature gauge, and close the door.
  • When the internal temperature reaches 203 degrees, remove the wrapped pork from the smoker.
  • Place the wrapped meat in a large beach towel and wrap it tightly.
  • Place the meat wrapped in the beach towel in an empty cooler, close the lid and let it rest for one hour.

 

golubovy / istockphoto

 

  • After an hour, unwrap the meat. At this point in the process, the meat is done and is ready to be shredded.
  • Place the smoked pork butt in a deep pan or pyrex dish.
  • Take a pair of meat shredder claws and start shredding the pork. The meat should be incredibly tender and shred easily.
  • While shredding, discard any visible fat.
  • Let the meat cool for 2-3 minutes and then it’s ready to serve.

 

robertsre / istockphoto

 

Absolutely! After every trip home when I travel from my hometown in Nashville, Tennessee, back to Arizona, I always stop at Barb-B-Cutie in the Nashville airport to get 2-3 lbs of frozen shredded pork. It stays frozen the entire time until I get home and can put it in my refrigerator to finish thawing.

So yes, you can freeze shredded pork. After it completely cools, place the pork in a large freezer bag or individual sandwich bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw the meat, place the bag in the refrigerator and let it naturally thaw.

 

DorukTR / istockphoto

 

  • How long to smoke a pork butt: When smoking a shoulder at 225 degrees, the smoking time averages about 1.5 hours per pound. If you’re going to slice it, cook to 185 degrees. If you buy an 8-pound pork shoulder, expect it to be done about 12 hours later.
  • Smoked pork butt temperature: If you intend to slice the pork shoulder, it must first be deboned, and the internal temperature should reach 180 degrees. If you plan to pull the pork, smoke it longer until it reaches 205 degrees.
  • BBQ sauce: The rub provides a ton of flavor, so you don’t necessarily need BBQ sauce. But if you like BBQ sauce, consider making your own. You just can’t beat a good homemade BBQ sauce. The recipe is easy to make and provides both a sweet and smoky flavor.
  • Meal prep: This is the perfect meat to use when meal prepping and managing portion control. Simply place a portion of the pork in individual containers along with other side dishes.
  • Storing pork in refrigerator: The pork should last in the fridge for 4-5 days after it’s cooked.

 

Dar1930 / istockphoto

 

  • Pinto beans: Since the smoker is doing all the hard work for the main dish, let your slow cooker do the hard work for your side dishes. Pinto beans are amazing with this pork butt recipe. They’re full of flavor and super simple to make.
  • Garlic and herb smoked potatoesSince the smoker is already working, you might as well throw some potatoes in there to smoke. Garlic and herb smoked potatoes are velvety in texture and rich in flavor. Seasoned with dill, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese, this smoked potato recipe makes a delicious pairing with smoked pork butt.
  • Red velvet cake: If you’re looking to finish off this fantastic meal with something sweet, you’re going to love this decadent cake. Made from scratch, this cake is covered in a homemade cream cheese frosting. The hints of chocolate in this cake recipe make for the perfect pairing when finishing off pork.

 

joegolby / istockphoto

 

These are step-by-step instructions on how to smoke pork butt, also known as pork shoulder. Lathered in a homemade spice rub and slowly smoked over apple wood will result in the most tender pulled pork perfect for so many meals!

Prep time: 20 mins

Smoking time: 12 hrs

Total time: 12 hrs 20 mins

Course: Dinner, entree, lunch

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Pork butt, pork butt recipe, smoked pork butt

Servings: 12 people

Calories: 304 kcal

Author: Amanda Mason

 

Chettarin / istockphoto

 

  • 1 8-10 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1.5 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

 

Dziggyfoto / istockphoto

 

 

merc67 / istockphoto

 

  • Place the pork shoulder on a large cookie sheet or pyrex dish. Take 1/4 cup of yellow mustard and baste the entire pork shoulder.

  • Once basted, mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Generously coat the dry rub onto the pork shoulder until completely covered, ensuring to get the rub onto both sides and into crevices.

  • Cover the pork with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 12-24 hours.

  • Once marinated, take the pork out of the refrigerator to rest on the counter at the same time you start the smoker.

  • Once the smoker is reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit, place the pork shoulder on a rack, fat side up, above the water pan and wood chunks. Place an electrical temperature gauge in meat and close the smoker doors.

  • Smoke will start to escape the smoker in the early stages of the process. Keep the smoker heat between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit and let it smoke slow and low.

 

hrt2hrt / istockphoto

 

  • After several hours into the smoking process when the internal temperature of the pork reaches 165 degrees, remove it from the smoker and place it on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil.

  • Take the spray bottle mixed with 1/4 cup of apple juice and 1/4 cup of water and spray the meat 4-5 times.

  • Tightly wrap the pork shoulder in a large piece of foil, and then wrap it again in another piece of heavy duty aluminum foil so the pork is double wrapped.

  • Place the double wrapped pork back into the smoker, insert the temperature gauge, and close the door.

 

AVNphotolab / istockphoto

 

  • When the internal temperature reaches 203 degrees, remove the wrapped pork from the smoker and wrap it in a beach towel.

  • Place the meat wrapped in the beach towel in an empty cooler and close the lid and let it rest for 1 hour.

  • After an hour, unwrap the meat. At this point of the process, the meat is done and is ready to be shredded.

  • Place the smoked pork butt in a deep pan or pyrex dish. Take a pair of meat shredder claws and start shredding the pork. The meat should be extremely tender and shred easily. While shredding, discard any visible fat.

  • Let the meat cool for 2-3 minutes and then it’s ready to serve.

 

Agustin Vai / istockphoto

 

  • Apple cider vinegar and water in water pan: When preparing the water pan, wrap it in aluminum foil for less mess. Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with 8-10 cups of water and pour into the smoker water pan.
  • Spraying the pork butt during the stall: You’ll spray the pork with half apple juice and water when double wrapping it in aluminum foil. This process helps add additional moisture and flavor.

This article originally appeared on TheMoneyMix.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

Bartosz Luczak / istockphoto

 

 

whitehorsetavernnewport.com

 

Featured Image Credit: Petar Chernaev.

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