Every spring for the last five years I have proclaimed that I planned to buy a barbecue. And every summer, I waffled. Why? Because I could never decide what kind of barbecue to get. Charcoal or gas? Table-top or freestanding? Red or black? So each summer has flown by in a cloud of indecision and all our veggie dogs have been cooked in a frying pan on the stove.
Part of my problem is I’m a barbecue snob. I used to sell them – the big, expensive gas ones with tons of accessories and three burners, plus a side table, all on a rolling cart. The brand shall remain nameless on this blog because I don’t believe in product placement. Unless they want to send me a free grill, then it was Weber. I know from my vast amounts of training (a rep once cooked a turkey on one in front of the store and we were allowed to watch), that if you’re going to buy a grill, it really needs to be a quality one. The cheap-ass ones are as unsteady as the patrons of a bar at closing time, and if you’re trying to pry your pizza off the grill because grilling pizza is the new black (seriously black, at this point), you need to make sure the whole contraption’s not going to collapse under you. So that was another deterrent to buying one. Did I really have a grand to blow on something I’d have to figure out how to shelter from the rain ten months of the year?
The other day, we were at the credit union getting some money out of the ATM, which is right next to a tiny mom & pop home décor/cooking supplies/bed linens/shoe store (when you do business on an island, you sell whatever allows you to keep the lights on) and out in front on the sidewalk, they had a lone barbecue. Marked down. Small, compact, gas, steady on its feet, red and black. It was like it was waiting for me.
Once we got it home, we had to put it together. Now there are two ways of doing this. The boy way – open the box and just randomly start screwing things together, or the girl-way – pull out the instructions, check off that every item is included in the box that’s supposed to be there, go register the barbecue online for its warranty, and come back and show the boy how he needs to unscrew those bolts because he’s got the handle on the inside instead of the outside. We did some of each.
If you buy from a big box store, there is also a third option. For fifty bucks extra you can buy an already assembled barbecue. Considering those barbecues come in about six-hundred pieces, this is pretty much the best fifty bucks you’ll ever spend. Unless, of course, the same guy who got paid by the piece to put my bike together assembles your barbecue. Let’s just say that he’s definitely going to be doing it the boy way (see above) and if he ends up with a little baggie of leftover screws at the end, you’ll never know. At least, not until the guts fall out of your barbecue, or the pedal falls off your bike because the crank is put on upside down and so you’re actually unscrewing it as you ride.
Once we got the barbecue together, it was time to do some serious cooking. We didn’t have one of those “required” lighters, so my husband just used a regular wooden match and stuck his hand deep inside. He didn’t really need all those fine hairs on his fingers anyway. While we stood there admiring our new barbecue, I decided to peel off the warning sticker. As I did, I saw the words, “Do not set your new barbecue directly on a flammable surface.”
“Do you think they mean this wooden deck?” I asked my husband.
“Probably,” he said.
He wanted to just pick it up and move it, but I read from the directions, “On pain of death, never move your lit barbecue!” The wife is always right, so we turned it off before moving it. Then we got to go through the whole lighting it again thing. Fun times. It got better once we got the veggie dogs and marinated potatoes on the grill, too, because then it started to rain.
I have to say that my mother is an excellent cook on her barbecue. Her food turns out delicious and she hardly swears at all while she’s making it. Too bad I can’t say the same thing about her daughter. By the time we ate our smoke-blackened potatoes and grey veggie dogs, I was kind of over the barbecue. So if you’ve been meaning to get yourself a grill, I know where you can get one cheap.