I just bought my first gas grill. That is to say that this is the first gas grill I have ever owned that I actually paid for myself. In the past I have inherited a couple and I have acquired a few more in trades or by moving into houses that had built in ones in the back yard that were attached to the gas line; but this is the first gas grill that I have purchased and it’s a pretty cheap one.
I much prefer to grill food on charcoal. I enjoy the primitive nature of building a fire and the challenge of preparing food while carefully monitoring the temperature of burning charcoal. I also think that charcoal adds a certain flavor to food that is hard to beat.
Now to be perfectly clear here I want to point out that what I am talking about is cooking food over a fire outside the house. I call this grilling but where I grew up in northern Pennsylvania, they often referred to it as barbecuing. Since I have lived in the south, I no longer think of barbecue in the same manner. Those of you who have read previous posts know what I am talking about.
Now smoking food is somewhat related to grilling as well as barbecue. I have smoked a great deal of meat over the years on small water smokers and some of that was pork that became barbecue once I had added the appropriate sauce to it. A slow cooked pork shoulder on a good smoker, like the Weber Rocky Mountain Smoker, is hard to beat. When properly done it can take as much as fifteen hours and is well worth the wait.
So why did I buy a gas grill if I think that charcoal is so much better?
I was looking for something that could be used easily and quickly. I live in a house with a glass top stove and since I own a fair amount of cast iron cookware (which cannot be used on glass top ranges) I wanted to have an alternative cooking system that I could turn to. Since it is gas, there is no wait time for the charcoal to get ready and very little clean up when I am done. I can push the electric igniter and have the grill hot and ready to use in less than five minutes and when I’m done I can turn it off, scrape off the grill and be done until the next time I want to cook something.
I purchased the new grill just a little over two weeks ago and we have been using it quite regularly. Getting it here and together was quite a chore, but with the help of my son we managed to pull it off.
I went to the store and found out that they were willing to assemble the whole thing for free. It was some sort of special sale they were running but I also discovered that they normally only charged ten dollars to do it anyway. Now I am not the world’s greatest handyman by any stretch of the imagination so I will always try to avoid having to assemble anything I purchase. Years of putting together chairs, tables, couches and other items has taught me to avoid this whenever possible. I usually feel lucky if there are only a couple of pieces left over when I am done. That seems to me to be much better than to draw near the end of the project and not have some of the items that it is clear you need to finish the job. My joy at discovering the free construction of the grill I wanted was short lived however, because I soon discovered that the assembled grill was just not going to fit into my van. I measured that grill several times and I kept measuring the doors on my van and no matter how I moved the grill around in my head or how I thought about laying it on its back or side or face down or whatever, it just was not going to fit.
When I inquired about home delivery I learned that they would be glad to deliver it to me for seventy bucks. Great. The whole thing was only costing me a hundred dollars more than that. I just could not feel good about spending a third of my purchase in getting the thing to my house. No matter how I studied the situation I had to accept the fact that I was just going to have to put this bad boy together at my house. So I bit the bullet and bought one in the box. Actually, it was a real tight fit getting the box in the van but we made it.
This all took place on the Thursday before the Fourth of July weekend and we certainly wanted to have that thing together for the holiday. I was already imagining all the things I wanted to burn on that grill.
My son and I got it into the house and opened it up. I started reading the instructions and he laid out all of the tools and parts that were packed in plastic bags. By carefully following the instructions which weren’t terrible, but then they are never great, we proceeded to build, step-by-step this burning machine.
You are probably wondering about me calling this grill a burning machine. Some of you who know me are aware that I constantly refer to grilling food as burning food. Burning meat is what I am doing when I cook burgers or steak on the grill. I don’t intentionally try to overcook these foods but let’s face it; I am cooking them over fire.
It kind of brings out the caveman in me. You know what I mean?
And then of course there is the whole social aspect of cooking over fire. If you have friends or family over and you are all standing around the grill watching the food cook, everyone has to put in their two cents. Almost everyone has an opinion to offer. Everyone has their own method of cooking on the grill and most are more than willing to share their opinions. I love this part of it, but I usually do things my own way.
Back to the Construction Project
There were several stops and starts. At one point we could not figure out why they placed the main screws in such a way that you had to practically stand on your head to put them in. Then we lifted the top of the grill up and found out you could put them in while looking down at the middle section. All in all after a lot of grunting and aggravation we got the damn thing together, hooked up the tank and lit the burners. Voila! It actually worked.
At this point I would not be completely honest if I didn’t make it clear that I would never have been able to do it myself. A big thanks to my son, Abraham.
I love to read the Old Testament. The Jewish Bible has inspired authors, artists and musicians for thousands of years and is the source of much of our western world morality.
In the book of Leviticus we learn a great deal about the tribe of Levi. These were the people God chose to act as priests. A lot of rules and rituals were revealed in that book and the priests were the ones who sacrificed the offerings of animals and plants. They laid them on burning alters and offered them up to God. These ritual sacrifices were described in great detail and the priests were permitted to partake of some of the offerings as food.
Sometimes when I am up to my elbows in flame and sizzling fat I imagine myself as burning sacrifices to God. Since I feel that all of us are priests in this world and called upon to help each other out, I’m not all that sure that this is such a wild idea. I think that our interpretation of prayer, or communicating with God, can often be a bit restrictive. Shouldn’t we move through life in a prayerful manner? Shouldn’t we be trying to communicate with the higher power; however we imagine it, in all we do? It may seem like a bit of a stretch to some, but I think I am on a certain level, praying when I burn meat on my grill.
I do know for sure, that I am eternally grateful to have been blessed with good food to eat and good friends and family to eat it with. Let us give thanks in all we do.