Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baby, I Was Born This Way

Forbidden love. I confess to a mad, crazy love for something that—because of my sex—the world views as wrong and inappropriate. I know, this type of lust is supposed to be exclusively male, but I can’t help myself. I refuse to hide my love despite what people think.
Yes, I’m a woman. And yes, I love my backyard grill.

Ten years ago I was complaining about our gas grill. “Hot spots! Flare-ups! I can’t control the temperature on this thing! I need a new grill!” John, my decidedly non-grill-lusting husband, reminded me I’d said the same things about the previous grill, and maybe it was time to go a new route.
A new route? Not charcoal. I didn’t have the time or patience to wait for a charcoal grill to get ready. But he said this was different, it was hard wood charcoal on a ceramic grill. You could maintain the temperature, no hot spots, no flare-ups, and it took only 10-20 minutes for the grill to be ready for cooking: the Big Green Egg.

It’s expensive, but supposedly lasts forever. We had a little money to spare (yes, I was shocked, too) so we went all out and bought one.

And I fell madly, passionately in love. I’ve made the same chicken recipe on my BGE and on the little electric countertop grill—no comparison. I can slow-smoke a pork shoulder, grill amazing burgers, ribs, chicken, whatever; it’s all delicious.   
My only complaint? We cheaped out. When we priced the BGE I asked John, How many kidneys do you need, really? But he went with the medium Egg, not the large or extra-large, so when we had a gang over I had to cook in shifts, hold items in the oven while I cooked another load. I kept an eye on the kidney black market, but let’s face it, 63-year-old kidneys don’t command prime prices. Finally I took a chance on a Weber charcoal grill.

The first day as I piled on the briquettes a son-in-law looked over my shoulder and said, “Is that going to be enough charcoal?” I said, “Yes, I counted out 50, the number the Weber grilling book said to use for this size of grill.” He stared at me pop-eyed for a moment, then cracked up. But it was exactly enough charcoal to cover the grid. So there.
The Weber makes a pretty good sidekick to the BGE, and I’ve discovered a chimney charcoal starter that shortens the wait time.

Which brings me to another illicit love, the love of two grills at the same time. How do I defend this? In the words of the great theologian, Lady Gaga: Baby, I was born this way.


  1. I knew you were crazy, but...I think I would like the grill if I could get near it. Bruce would probably laugh if I told him I wanted to do the grilling. Let's face it, I don't like to cook, so, why push it?

    1. That's John's excuse for not grilling. I've had men stare at me, amazed, when I confess I do the grilling at my house. Is there a law I don't know about?

  2. Vicki does all the grilling in the Strother household, has for years. I do cook, but it's usually in the oven or a skillet. I prefer slouching in a sling-back chair, wine in hand, observing my lovely wife perform her grill magic.

  3. Hi Valerie. Good to read you!
    My relationship with my gas grill here in Germany is more hooking up than love. My Weber draws me again and again to its heat, speed and uncomplicated clean up, but ex-pat friends tell me German neighbors don't like to smell other peoples meat-- cooking. I don't resist. I just race to finish, stealing glances at the second-story windows, half covered in frilly white curtains.

    1. Ha! Covert grilling ops in Germany! Do you complain about their cabbage-cooking smells? Sauerkraut? Nah, you probably like it. Miss you, girl!