Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Rare Event: Weekday Grilling

"Well done!" I thought, when my wife asked me to grill burgers for the evening meal today. I'd dropped the suggestion recently, in hopes that her taste for grilled foods, and the relative ease with which such meals are prepared, would overcome her habitual 7-day cycle meal planning.

The triggering event today was scheduling. Our eldest daughter has a job, and is looking for an apartment in the town where the job is. She and my wife are away now, checking out one of the possibilities.

Standing at the familiar grill, shaded by the garage rather than basking in a noonday sun, was a strange, yet pleasant experience.

And, by producing burgers of a quality equal to those grilled under the supervision of our second-oldest daughter, I have demonstrated that I, too, possess the power of char-less grilling!


Sorry about that!

This blog was unavailable for at least an hour this morning.

Since you're reading this, you've come back to try accessing it again: thank you for your patience!

Google seems to have been doing some maintenance: and about time! My service has been a bit 'iffy' for some time.

I'll be back with a 'real' post as soon as I can.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Grilling lunch today was pretty much like yesterday's, with less rain and more wind.

It took me three tries to get grill lit.

Once again, our second-oldest daughter kept me company, and once again, the burgers came out nicely brown, without any charred spots.

Her presence and above-average outcomes on the grill may related after all.

Perhaps I can learn how she determined when to flip the burgers. ;)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hamburger, Rain, and Sizzleberries

Despite a drizzle with pretensions of being rain, I was out grilling lunch today. Our second-oldest daughter kept me company, sensibly staying in the shelter of the garage and keeping an eye on me through an open door.

She also provided me with an umbrella. Quite sensible of her.

The hamburgers came out very well: brown all the way through, and without that crunchy crust that so few people appreciate.

Granted, she did remind me to flip them once or twice, and observed that they were done just before I would have noticed: but surely it's possible that her presence and tasty burgers is a mere coincidence?

The light rain gave me an opportunity to observe and enjoy sizzleberries. That's a word I think I made up, to describe those tiny, sizzling, droplets of water that form when rain (or any drop of water) falls on a very hot, flat surface.

It's the steam, of course, generated each time a droplet hits the surface, that makes them bounce up, falling to make another burst of steam, and makes the sizzling sound.

Science aside, the sizzle and the delightfully frantic dancing droplets are fun to watch. That's me in the picture, making sizzleberries.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Skill, Luck, or Supervision? You decide.

Our second-oldest daughter came out to keep me company while I grilled lunch today. I don't know if her decision had anything to do with yesterday's loud FOOMP! I prefer to believe that she wanted to spend some time with her dad.

She reminded me, at least twice, that the burgers seemed to be ready to flip.

By coincidence, today's burgers were unusually nicely done: grilled all the way through, juicy, and not carbonized.

My wife attributes this to our daughter's supervision.

She may be right.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fire Safety, or A Tale of Two Matches

This may not be "substantive," but I'll post it anyway.

I grilled this evening, instead of around noon, thanks to some mis-communication between my wife and our oldest daughter.

That was a good thing, I think, since this way I grilled in the shade, and the temperature was a little lower.

Thanks, possibly, to getting very little sleep last night, I pulled a really stupid stunt while lighting the grill. I lit a match, dropped it near the gas manifold, and turned the valve. Then I noticed that the match had gone out.

So far, not stupid.

Here comes the dumb part: I left the gas running, got out another match, and dropped it next to the first. I heard, felt and saw the dull-orange FOOMP! of the collected propane igniting.

I am not doing that again. Not soon, anyway. And not intentionally.

I could belabor the point, but you know this already: Stunts like that belong in the old slapstick movies, not contemporary grilling.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Easy Griller: a Reality Check

This is my thirteenth post, I think. Time to slow down and think a little.

If you've been following all of this blog's posts, you've noticed that I've had fun with them, but haven't offered much in the line of solid 'how to' content.

That's partly because I created this blog in large part to reflect, and share, the fun I have, grilling.

I do have a 'serious' grilling site, also called Easy Griller ( ). Parts of it may be useful, some were intended to be amusing, and most of it is, in my opinion, a crashing bore.

All that's going to change now. The boring part, I mean. I don't plan to make Easy Griller the website useless and unamusing: although I suppose that could happen.

What this means is that I'm going to ease back on posting to this blog, and devote a bit more time to Easy Griller, the website.

I'll post here from time to time, when I've got something substantive to say.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Let Us Sing of Grilling

I found some verse, and a few comments, that I wrote about two years ago.

This is as good a time as any to release them again.

Let Us Sing of Grilling

This may be either spoken, or sung to the tune Let it Snow.

It is my intention in this poem to express the dedication, the resolve, and the lack of sensitivity to cold, or maybe just sense, which so often has led me to the grill, amid knee-deep snowdrifts.


Oh, the weather outside is chilling,
But I gotta keep on grilling.
And though it sounds strange, I still
Love to grill, love to grill, love to grill.
When they're skiing on down the hill,
And the lawn disappears under snow,
I'll be out there beside my grill,
Though winds of a blizzard may blow!
Whether summer brings sun or showers,
You could bet your bottom dollars:
When the temperatures rise, I still
Love to grill, love to grill, love to grill!

Copyright © 2005 Brian H. Gill

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sunday: Not So Much About Grilling, as About the Experience of Grilling

I had another good time this noon, grilling hamburger patties for the family. Sometimes one of the kids hangs out with me, but today I had the yard to myself.

That's not quite correct. One of the things I like about grilling, other than the grilling itself, is the time it gives me outside, with nothing to do but wait until it's time to check the burgers again.

Lighting the grill, placing the burgers, and waiting for them to be ready to flip went very routinely.

There's a big willow behind a shed, about in the middle of the back yard. A recent windstorm cracked a branch, about fifteen feet (four or five meters) long, but didn't quite break it off.

One of the burger patties was slower to heat than the others, as usual. The exact location of the cool spot varies, with wind speed and direction, and probably other factors, too.

Squirrels have used hollows in the tree as nests over the years. I think we have chickadees, too, this year. I'm no ornithologist, but that's what they look like. Also a smallish woodpecker.

I moved the cooler burger to one of today's hot spots during the first flip.

The woodpecker was doing a percussion solo on the dead branch. I think the chickadees were following the woodpecker, picking out whatever the larger bird left. One of the chickadees flew a worm-shaped thing over to nearby branch and deposited it. There's probably a nest there.

Three flips of the burgers later, I had a stack of sputtering, steaming patties to take inside. Shutting off the grill and closing the value on the LP gas tank took less than a minute, and then I was headed inside with the main part of today's lunch.

What does all this have to do with grilling? Very little, directly.

Today's post does give, however, one example of the experience of grilling on a summer day.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Grilling Saturday's Lunch: a Fine Experience

One of these times, I'll discuss the more 'practical' side of grilling.

Today's post is about the experience of grilling.

The weekend, at last!

I'd grill every day of the week, but my wife seems to think the family should have a varied diet. She's probably right.

The montage shows the process of grilling today's lunch.

Starting with a few frozen slabs of chopped meat on the grill, the photos show the slow steps which begin a grilling session. At first there seems to be no change at all as, lid lowered to hold heat, I wait for some visible change. At last, quick inspections show juices rising out of the nascent burgers.

The tempo picks up as a fiery metamorphosis overwhelms the meat. Flipping the burgers to ensure even grilling, I add the hot dog.

Finally, the burgers and the lone hot dog are ready. Time to eat!

Winter: Best Grilling Season of All?

Grilling is often regarded as a summer activity, with spillover into spring and autumn. For most, this is true. Summer is by far the most popular season for grilling.

That is understandable: Summer temperatures favor outdoor activities such as grilling; A long tradition has grown up in America around Independence Day burgers, and summer picnics where burger briquettes and mosquitoes are the order of the day; And, for so many, grilling is viewed as a sort of incidental activity, a hobby at most.

For one who treads the path of Guriru-do, however, winter is perhaps the best season of all in which to grill. For it is in winter that the grill can best be perceived for what it is: a source of heat, a dwelling for fire, a forge on which meat patties and frozen wieners may be transformed into delicious burgers and hot dogs.

Besides, here in Minnesota, frozen meat stays frozen when you leave it outdoors in the winter: You may get frostbite, but there's no danger of spoilage!

Personally, I enjoy the solitude of winter grilling, the stark beauty of snow-covered yards, the crystal-clear air that's so cold, all the water has been frozen out.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tips for the Winter Griller

Dress appropriately. Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt, flip-flops, and umbrella hat may be fine for August, but in February it's more than a fashion faux pas. By the time your burgers are done, you'll feel like your femurs froze.

Once you have a good, heavy coat, pants, boots and gloves on, remember: if you can't feel cold through your clothes, you can't feel heat either. Be careful how close you get to the grill, so you don't become griller flambé.

I don't recommend grilling in whiteout conditions, but wind doesn't need to be a big problem. A well-placed saucer sled, either held by an obliging family member or stuck in a convenient snowbank, often provides enough protection to not only light a match, but keep the grill's fire from being blown out.

A word of caution, though: particularly if you are using a snowbank to secure the saucer sled. Make sure that the sled is held firmly in place, so that it does not become airborne in a gust. Especially while grilling, you don't want to be hit by a flying saucer!

Allow more time for your meat to get done. Grilling times will increase when frostbite replaces heatstroke as a weather-related health risk.

Finally: have fun!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Grilling: a Four-Season Pursuit

Outdoor grilling: that's just for summer and maybe fall, right?

Especially in places like Minnesota, where water becomes a mineral for several months each year, and National Guard arctic maneuvers have been canceled, due to inclement weather.

For the casual griller, perhaps.

For one dedicated to Guriru-do, all seasons are one. There is not the griller, the grill, the burgers, and the weather. There is only the grilling.

Grilling in the Rain With the Umbellybrella

I was outside, grilling in the rain last fall. The visiting daughter kept me company, wisely standing in a sheltering doorway. She loaned me her umbrella. I found out that I could tuck it down the neck of my jacket, getting shelter from the umbrella while keeping both hands free.

I dubbed it an umbellybrella: a grilling accessory ideal for those who trill in the rain, and don't care how they look.