May 11, 2010

Burn Yourself, Not Your Grill

Burn Yourself, Not Your Grill

It’s good to burn.

Burn with passion, that is.

Whatever your passion may be, it can carry you to places you’ve never dreamed. What do you love? Stamp collecting? Playing the trombone? Dancing till the wee hours of the night? Blogging or Podcasting? Cooking? Entertaining? Studying? (Yes, you can actually be passionate about studying.) Dining? Spending time with family and friends? Reading (like Sarah Reinhard)?

Me? I’m passionate about cooking. And writing. And teaching. And making a human connection with other people. Including God.

Whatever your passion is, it is good to burn with it.

But it is not good to burn your grill. Believe me, I know.

So I’m passionate about cooking and I love to grill. What can I say? There’s just something about the smell of meat on the grill. Ribeyes, chicken thighs, spicy beef sausage, brisket, lamb chops, ribs. Ahhhh, my mouth is watering!

That I love to grill is no surprise to you, I’m sure. I have mentioned it on the Catholic Foodie podcast. And you know that I love to cook. But do you know that every year at this time – when the days start to heat up and the sun goes down later in the evening – I get the grilling bug.

Give me some meat to throw on that grill!

Char keeps me in check. She’s the one with all the sense. If it was up to me, I’d eat meat every night. And every day. At every meal. That’s right, I’m a carnivore. But Char reminds me that man cannot live on grilled meat alone (especially this man). He also needs veggies. Lots of salads and other greens (which I love). And, at least in South Louisiana, lots of seafood. Yum!

According to Char, too much meat is simply not good for me. I’m not sure I believe her. How could something that tastes so good be bad for me?

OK… Forget I asked that.

Ahem. So where was I?

Oh yeah…

Don’t burn the grill!

One very important task you can’t forget as you set out to grill is to pre-heat. You don’t want to put a beautiful piece of meat on a cold grill. That just isn’t good. But, that being said, you have to take caution when pre-heating a grill.

I have a confession to make.

I don’t take good care of my grills. I think I have burned up three of them during the last 11 years of marriage. Two charcoal grills and one gas. Each time I failed to be vigilant while pre-heating the grill. I turned up the heat. Put on the lid. And walked away. Usually I just headed back to the kitchen to finish preparing the meat. It’s not like I got lost watching re-runs of Andy Griffith or Laurel and Hardy (or Saved by the BellAm I dating myself here?). No, I was cooking. But I wasn’t watching the grill.

“Dad, the grill is on fire!” Yikes! I’ve seen some huge flames shooting every which way from grills. Many times. All in my backyard. Sad, I know.

My latest grill, a Father’s Day gift from a few years ago, needs emergency surgery. All of its guts need to be replaced. The inside is peeling and rusted. The pipes for the propane are brittle with big holes here and there. And the heat defusers? They’re not there anymore. They disintegrated a long time ago.

The good news is that the surgery should be fairly painless, I think. About $40 to $60 bucks and an hour of work, and she should be as good as new. Ugly as hell, but good as new.

The moral of the story

watch your temp. And watch your grill. Do not leave it unattended. And small children and animals do not count. Yes, they will keep their eye on it for you. But they are liable not to stop there. Hands, paws, sticks, your favorite pair of gardening shoes. All of that could end up on the grill too.

So, what about you?

Do you have a grilling confession to make? Yes? Then please make it in the comments below.