Monday, July 30, 2007

From Marshmallow Incinerator to Outdoor Griller

Or, A Griller is Born
Or, Where There's Smoke, There's Fire: and a Well-Grilled Burger

Aside from the occasional hamburger flambé and incinerated marshmallow, grilling was not a part of my formative years. So my wife was surprised that, when we finally got an outdoor grill, the challenge was not so much inducing me to prepare the occasional meal, as keeping me inside during severe weather warnings.

My family and I got along without a grill for many years. At first, it was an out-of-reach luxury. Our budget dictated a bargain priced apartment. There wasn't room in either for an outdoor grill.

Later, our sense of fiscal responsibility got in the way. A grill, even a small one, is not cheap. And, there was always something that we needed more. There still is, but that's a whole different topic.

One day, for reasons which I still do not fully understand, my wife decided that it was time for the family to relive her memories of hamburgers grilled in the back yard. We took a look at what was available locally, and purchased what looked like a good starter grill.

I remember my early days of grilling when, user's manual nearby, I first opened the valve and ignited the escaping gas. Hearing a soft "foof" and not singeing a single hair on my hand was a satisfying experience. Then, placing hamburger patties on metal frame and carefully timing their exposure on each side, I removed meaty disks which not only recognizable, but fit for human consumption.

In fact, the hamburgers tasted pretty good. That was the start of my life as a year-round weekend griller.

With a little practice, I learned how to grill burgers with brown-verging-on-black outsides, brown insides, and that grilled taste that only comes from hood-down grilling on a veteran grill.

Preparing food that occasionally transcends such concepts as "edible" and soars into the realms of "tasty" or even "delicious" still fills me with a warm glow.

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