Thursday, May 29, 2008
Grilling Diary, May 29
I have always cooked with a charcoal grill, probably because my dad always grills on a Weber charcoal kettle. When I got my first apartment with enough space outside, I bought...a Weber charcoal kettle. I have had my grill for seven summers, and it served me well. It was cheap to buy and operate, the food gets a nice smoky flavor, and you enjoy the pleasantries of cooking outdoors.
The problem was, I didn't use it very much. My dad had a job that always had him home by 3pm, so he could squeeze in a nap before he lit the fire and dinner would still be on the table by 5:30. Most days, I don't get home before then, and that meant if we wanted to grill we could eat very late or save it for the weekend. Most of the time we ate something else, especially after we had Noah.
Enter the gas grill. For our anniversary this year, Lauren gave me a beautiful Weber gas grill. I resisted. It sat in the garage, unassembled, while I decided whether or not to keep it. I thought that I would be betraying something to use a gas grill. A history? The spirit of grilling? A misplaced sense of personal accomplishment? Something about grilling without a fire I made myself made me feel inadequate.
Was I stupid! Lauren made a strong case that we would use the grill more frequently if all we had to do was turn it on, and she was totally right. I caved and put it together, and we're using it several times a week, mostly for chicken and vegetables. Above is last night's dinner, Chicken Kabobs with tabbouleh and an arugula salad with an herb vinaigrette from my garden. Twenty minutes, turn it every five, done. And still plenty of delicious charring. Noah even ate it, which would be amazing on its own.
It's eye-opening to be able to eat like this without having to spend 40 minutes getting the kettle grill hot, moving coals around to make some part of the grill hotter and some cooler, opening and closing top and bottom vents to let air circulate, and timing the whole meal so that everything is done at the same time and before the coals burn down. In a nutshell, what I have lost in character-building opportunity we're getting back five-fold in tasty convenience. Don't look back.