Summertime means grills gone wild

Even our senses can verify that the summer outdoor grilling season is in full swing: There’s the sight of a thick, juicy steak sizzling on the grill, the smell of delicious barbecue permeating the neighborhood air, the sound of fire trucks racing to put out the blaze you caused when you accidentally burned down your shed.

Yep, barbecuing is great. It’s a way for culinary-deprived men all over the world to act like they know how to cook. Plus it provides you the opportunity to generously prepare a meal for friends, family and other people you love. You can also barbecue for your mother-in-law.

Grilling has been part of man’s DNA ever since prehistoric times. One day, caveman got tired of eating nothing but leaves and berries. He saw tasty looking animals wandering all around him and he knew he could piece together a primitive weapon to hunt with. Plus he was starving for some meat. Add those three together and he did what any of us would have done in his place: He went to Texas Roadhouse.

Unfortunately, there was a three-hour wait. So — still starving — he went back to his cave then killed, grilled and ate the first animal he saw. In this case, it happened to be the neighbor’s dog, which led to the invention of the pet collar.

Nevertheless, caveman’s first taste of meat left him hooked on the carnivore lifestyle, and he’d spend the rest of his days hunting, after which he’d build a large fire to grill that day’s haul. No more rabbit food. From then on, it would be cooked meat for dinner. And cavewoman liked this, because she had just recently gone on the Atkins Diet.

So everyone was happy. The only teeny-weeny minor suggestion that Cavewoman offered was that perhaps Caveman could toss in a vegetable or salad to complement the meal. Caveman responded by bonking her over the head with a giant club. Yep, those were the good old days.

Since then, society has evolved. Fortunately for us, however, the manly tradition of grilling has lived on to the point where we now we have two different kinds of technology to assist us. And here I’m talking about the age-old argument of which grill makes better tasting food: gas or charcoal. They both have unique qualities that appeal to different constituencies. The fancy, modern propane barbecue grills are for people who prefer the quickness and convenience of a gas grill, whereas the traditional, old-fashioned charcoal briquette grills are for people who are poor.

We won’t ever admit, of course, that poor guys like me would love to have an expensive gas barbecue like, say, oh, I don’t know, the Weber Summit S-670 LP Stainless Steel Gas Grill with the Snap-Jet Individual Burner Ignition System, 769 square inches of cooking area and the 60,000 BTUs. It’s just that we can’t afford the $2,300 sticker price. Actually, I could probably swing it if I really wanted, but it would involve raiding my daughter’s college fund, which obviously I wouldn’t do because it would be immoral. Plus my wife already said “No.”

So to save face, we charcoal grill owners tell people that “we prefer the taste” of charcoal briquettes, when really we mean, “we had to choose between either buying a nice grill or making the house payment.”

But that’s OK. Charcoal barbecues are more fun. Think about it. Do you ever see the wealthy gas grill owners covered up to their elbows in dirty charcoal? Ever see them frantically trying to douse flames on a burning shed? Do you ever see them in the ER with second-degree burns on their cheek?

I rest my case.

So I’ll continue to happily enjoy my cheap, 20-year-old charcoal grill. Because, frankly, I really don’t need a fancy gas grill. Maybe one day I’ll have one, but certainly not now.

I have to buy a new shed.

E-mail Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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