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Sunday, July 28, 2013

No, No, No, You Can't Talk Me Out of It

From 2010, a time when I felt I had to make a stand re: the charcoal grill...


I’m thinking we grill for dinner tonight.

I don’t even really care what it is: Meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, bits of old string – everything’s a treat on a charcoal grill. Even the cheapest of hot dogs, charred ever so slightly? Who cares what they’re made of? What you got yourself there is a tasty dinner!

There are people who will tell you that a propane grill is just as good as charcoal, even better, because it’s “more convenient”.

Those people are lying to you and cannot be trusted.

A propane tank may be more convenient, but it sacrifices flavor; and if we’re willing to sacrifice flavor, where do we go from there? What are the other shortcuts we’ll be taking?

Next we’ll be replacing showers with “pre-moistened towelettes”; and once our standards are gone we’ve nothing left but the hope of steady employment and three-day weekends.

Convenience is not the name of the summer-grillin’ game. It’s all about the flavor. (That’s “flavor”, and not “flava”, something else entirely that may result in your own reality show and perhaps gold orthodontia – a completely different kind of “grill”.)

Summers in Minnesota are precious and prized seasons. You know the joke, don’t you? Minnesota: Nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding. It may have been five months since we last walked through our own yards, and we've assembled outdoors, stumbling, gratefully, toward our patios, our garages, looking for our grills, our croquet sets.

Don’t tell me we can’t wait another 45 minutes for the coals to get ready!

So much of what we do and how long we allow ourselves to do it has boiled down to convenience, hasn’t it?  Well dagnab it, people, I’m taking a stand! No more hot dogs blown up in the microwave! No more food that’s been delivered to me through a drive-through window! No more microwaveable queso dip! No more canned soup!

OK. Well maybe I’ve gone a bit far with that. There’s nothing – ahem – wrong with canned soup. Canned soup has many redeeming qualities, can keep you from having to run out and spend ridiculous amounts on lunch during the workweek and has recently become an office desk-drawer staple.

Canned soup is very convenient, you know.

But propane versus charcoal?

I remain firm on my charcoal grill stand.

27 comments:

Daisy said...

Pearl, you need to come here for our annual Salmon Festival...fresh salmon bbq'd over a wood "stove".
http://youtu.be/SugGHYDTw9o

We have a bus too! ;-)

Douglas said...

In my day, there were no briquettes which were easily lit by the touch of a match. No, we had to gather the wood from the forest around the cabin, set fire to it and then retrieve the embers to roast the hot dogs (which we stuffed by hand, of course) to that crispy perfectness that meant they were done. And if you were unfortunate enough to get that one lone dog that had not fallen between the bars on the grate so it was coated with ashes and bits of burnt wood... why, you've never lived.

Sorry, just channeling my late Gramps.

Sioux said...

Bits of old string (perhaps a length discarded by Liza Bean Bitey after she declared it all funned-out?) grilled on the charcoal grill in the back yard...my mouth is watering already.

Joanne Noragon said...

My brother-in-law treasures his tripod and bean pot. It's a day long family celebration, throwing wood on the fire, an occasional stir of the pot of beans and ham. At the exact moment a skillet of potatoes is fried up over the fire. The crispy potatoes go into the bottom of a bowl, the beans, broth and ham bits go on top. Fine eatin', they say.

They use the same tripod and pot to render cracklins, too.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! I feel the same way. And my folks were very proud of their propane grill, and were back using their charcoal one in no time. #truestory

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

i agree, I agree that everything tastes great on a charcoal grill. But Pearlie, by the time I get home I've been away for 14 hours, haven't eaten since my lunch (of canned soup, btw. Progresso Italian Wedding soup - represent!) at 11 a.m. By 7 p.m., I'm ready to chew my own hand. 45 minutes for coals? Ain't nobody got time for dat! :)

Launna said...

If I am going to eat barbecue... I say charcoal is the way to go... much better than propane :)

Geo. said...

So would gas-grilling be ok if I put out a little shakerfull of ground charcoal on the picnic table, between the pepper and salt?

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

This may sound insane to you Pearl but I don't like cooking outside and I don't like eating outside and the only part of bar b q that I like is the sauce. There I've said it. Now I'll take my lashes like a good girl.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Yes charcoal - it's the only thing that makes the corn cob the equivalent of everybody else's snags...err, that's OZ for bangers...err, sorry, sausages. But yes. Charcoal all the way. &>

Slick said...

Charcoal, absolutely. With a little pecan wood thrown in.

esbboston said...

We are griLLing steaks tonight. I am hoping for no strings in my buffalo.

Eva Gallant said...

I love things cooked over charcoal, but Mr. Eva has no patience, so it's the gas grill on our deck.

jenny_o said...

I am SO relieved that Delores said it first. I am of the opinion that BBQing is like taking fine food - which you've chosen carefully, schlepped home, washed gently and prepped with loving care - and stomping all over it with hobnail boots you've just used to walk through a burned out house in.

But you go ahead and enjoy! Don't mind me & Delores. We'll just sit here and eat our nuked meals, eh Delores? :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Charcoal--always and forever. Plus you can drink beer longer while you wait for the coals to get ready!

Gigi said...

As long as someone else is doing the cooking (and the cleaning up!) - I don't care...just feed me.

Merlesworld said...

Come live in Australia where everyone Bar-b-q's, they invite you and burnt food and give it to you with a pretty good salad, I usually eat the salad as I'm not barbque fan but most people seem to like it.
We do have the perfect weather for it and the smoke keeps insects away.
Merle..........

Leenie said...

Say what you will, but I'm NOT giving up blowing up food in the microwave. A person's gotta have some fun in their life.

sage said...

A friend of mine used to say that before he'd have a gas grill, he'd put a hotpoint range on his patio.

Cloudia said...

different kind of grill, eh?

You're hip to be square, Pearl :-)



ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
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Shelly said...

While I fully agree with you that charcoal is superior in every way to propane and propane accessories, should you ever make it to South Texas, we will show you something to grill with even better than charcoal- mesquite. Especially aged mesquite adds flavor unparalleled.

Daisy said...

Well, we have the propane here, but when "we" grill, it is almost always someone besides me doing the cooking, so you won't hear any complaints from me! :D

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

My hubby is a grilling man, but then aren't most men. Me, if my Lean Cuisine meal takes more than 3 minutes, I am not a happy camper.

I see a day coming when people will be able to cook with their phone (while still texting). There will be an app to get that barbecue flavor.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Down under most of us have a gas bbq, in fact the first time I heard the term propane I had no idea what they were talking about......lol

River said...

Canned soup may be convenient, but it tastes like can. Make your own and freeze it in lunch size portions in screw top containers. Microwave one of those at work for lunch.
Freshly caught king prawns barbecued over hot coals are heavenly.

the walking man said...

What 45 minutes? Can't wait 10 hours for the smoker to really flavor your dog?

Diane Tolley said...

We wait such a long time for our grilling season. Here in Edmonton, we have 9 months of winter and three months of construction. Sigh.