Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where does the charcoal go in this thing?

I am somewhat of a gas grilling novice. Hard to believe that since I can BBQ an entire packer brisket until fork tender, yet I have been known to turn hamburger patties into hockey pucks . Before I started on my journey with low and slow cooking, my outdoor cooking knowledge had only been over charcoal. For a short period of time over the last few years I had a small gas grill I picked up from a neighbor during a garage sale for $25. I rarely cooked on on that grill because for some odd reason I would incinerate just about anything I placed on its surface. I left most of the gas grilling up to my wife who had a knack for turning out some very good tasting and edible food off that grill. For the last two years we have been without that gas grill after it became unusable. I was relatively happy cooking over charcoal on my Weber kettle since then, but after a long day at work I had no desire to go outside and start a chimney and to get a fire going to cook dinner. A trip to Costco a few weeks ago changed all of that, not exactly for the better.

Sometime around the end of March I was walking through the local Costco. As usual something caught my eye in the section where all of the outdoor stuff is. It was an outdoor grill with a an entire kitchen around it. I spent a good twenty minutes checking this thing out. It had everything that I was planning to build in my backyard this summer. A nice stainless grill with a searing burner and a rotisserie. Granite counter tops, a sink, a mini refrigerator, a griddle plate and side burner, I was in love!. The best part about it was I didn't have to build anything, it was all there. Just plug it in and play. I went home without purchasing it and had it on my mind for days. I even went to the Costco by my job and visited it during one of my lunch hours. Then those magical words came out my wife's mouth, "Why don't we just go back and get it" I always knew I married the right girl.

It was Saturday April 4th and I had emptied out my van to head over make the purchase. It came in three really heavy boxes that barely fit in my van. A little bit of maneuvering and we got it in my truck, only hanging out the back a foot or so. I got home and decided that even though it was placed in my truck at the store via forklift, that my wife, my son and I could get it out of the truck and on my porch. It had to be carried through my house to the backyard so I figured to get them at least on the porch. I was going to call a few buddies the next day or so to help me carry them to the backyard. The first and second box, 200+ and 480+ respectively didn't seem to be that much of a problem and were on the porch in no time. The last box was the largest of the three weighing in at 600 pounds. I figured what the hell, I have lifted heavier than that before. We got it to the porch where we tipped it over and I lifted up on one side(it had to go up 3 steps) to slide on the porch. It was a bit of a struggle but we did it. The next step was where it went horribly wrong. I was standing on the bottom step and gave it a shove to get it to slide across the porch and then all of the sudden it felt like somebody hit me in the back of the ankle with a sledge hammer and something snapped. It took my breathe away as I looked around thinking something had fell on it. I knew something was terribly wrong as the first step I took I fell forward. That snap was my Achilles tendon being torn in half right above my heal. Wanna talk about painful? Well the rest of the story could take up a few more paragraphs and I don't want make this any longer but here I sit healing very well 8 weeks later.

Oh, back to the original point of this post. Since that day I have not touched that grill up until yesterday. I wasn't really up to it most days lately , maybe a little afraid of it, maybe even a little bit angry at it. I know, I know its a grill but when you are stuck in a house for 8 weeks, things in the head get a little screwy. To christen the grill I marinated up a few steaks. I used two different Lawrys marinades I had picked up on sale.I had never used them before. One was the steak and chop, the other Hawaiian . To marinate, I used (for the first time as well) a Reveo Marivac Food Tumbler thingy that I picked up from George of the WATG? cooking team recently. I forgot to pay him that weekend and also to mail the money, oops sorry George. Maybe he will remind me when he comes by my cooking site at New Holland PA to trim my chicken at 2AM :) I went to fire up the grill, the only problem was I had no clue how to light the infrared searing burner. After about ten minutes of trying I gave up and just cooked over the regular section with flames. I figured it out today after some over the phone instructions from the manufacturer. It was simple thing, I wasn't holding the turn knob in while pressing the ignitor. The steaks came out great! Maybe I am not such a novice after all? We also threw on some corn and I made up a batch of Keri C's Hog Apple beans. We were divided on the marinades, I preferred the Steak and Chop marinade, the rest of the family liked the Hawaiian. Overall I prefer just salt and pepper typically, without using a marinade at all. Sorry, no plated pictures. We are eaters, not photographers.


Chris said...

My heal hurts now.....thanks;)

Nice rig!

I don't mind other's cooking on gas and I'd certainly enjoy one of those steaks if I was your neighbor! I'm not one of those traditionalist that think gassers are evil;) But I still prefer coal. I don't mind cranking up the Egg or starting a chimney for my other grill during the week.

Sledneck said...

My problem is that I feel guilty about lighting up a charcoal grill and then only throwing on a couple of burgers or some some chicken etc. Then I feel as if I have to find other things to cook and its never ending. With the gasser I cook what I have to then just shut it off. With two boys 11 & 15, to much other stuff going on to be tied up on a week night messing with a lit grill.

Anonymous said...

Great write up... writing skills are almost at the level of a Mr. Cutlets...

but one thing you didn't detail... how did you end up getting this beast onto the deck ? : )

steaks look good too.. That's a cute little pigtail flipper. I think you should write a review of that device.. : )

Anonymous said...

Where did you get that whole set up? did you make it? All men need a unit and a wife like that. Hope you enjoy it and share more about it.

Sledneck said...

to anon# 1: Some great friends carried it to the backyard for me.

to anon#2: Ummmmm I got it at costco, the setup not the wife

Anonymous said...

nice looking rig, glad you got over your issues with the beast, looks very friendly, like it couldnt hurt a fly, I already forgot about the tumbler, I need to write it down or I'll forget again...now...where did I put that pencil? :)

Anonymous said...

I also noticed you included your crutches in the photo, done on purpose I am sure! ;)