Monday, June 06, 2011


It’s cookout season. Ah, the smell of steaks sizzling as the grill turns raw meat into lumps of artery-hardening carcinogens. Everyone loves this good old American pastime. Except me. Why? Maybe it's because I have to put my beer down and walk outside to do it. Maybe it's because I have a sucky grill and I'm too cheap to buy a new one. Maybe it's because everything I cook ends up looking like miniature Branch Davidians.

Some people say that a charcoal grill makes food taste better than a gas grill makes it taste. I can't tell the difference. As long as someone else is sweating over hot coals and getting emphysema, I'm very appreciative of anything they bring in. They could put a plate of grilled dog poops in front of me, and I'd be so thankful about not having to cook that I'd snarf them up and comment on how much better they taste than raw dog poops.

When I was a kid, the way to throw a cookout was:

1. Invite friends and relatives.
2. Buy twenty pounds of charcoal “briquettes”.
3. Pile them in a concave metal bin.
4. Douse them with two quarts of “charcoal lighter fluid”.
5. Attempt to set fire to them.
6. Cook burgers on stove.

I don't know what those charcoal briquettes were made of, but they certainly weren't flammable. If your house is ever burning down, I suggest smothering the flames with charcoal.

I mentioned earlier that I have a grill that's in less than great shape. I don't see the need to spend $400 on a deluxe grill when all it does for the most part is get rained on. I have a perfectly good stove and oven for the 364 days a year when friends don't come over and grill for me. Even when they do, they don't always use my grill. My neighbor is from the charcoal-is-better-than-gas school, so instead of using my gas grill, he will bring his charcoal grill into my yard and spend 45 minutes heating up coals before he is even able to begin cooking, during which time I could have ordered and been happily eating two orders of beef and broccoli.

You can protect your grill with a grill cover, which is defined as “a large, vinyl, fitted tarp that is usually found on the ground about twenty feet from your grill, especially after a storm”. I've gone through about two or three grill covers, and each one covered my grill for approximately a week, after which they became puddle-filled lawn ornaments that kept my dog entertained and ensured that my yard bred at least twice the FDA's minimum requirement of mosquitoes.

So to all you avid grillers, thank you for doing a job that I suck at. Your efforts will not go unrewarded, for while you are singeing your arm hair and getting lung cancer in order to feed me, I will bring you beer.