Breaking Out The Grill
If all goes according to plan, today will be the maiden voyage of my new grill.
It has been years since I’ve had a grill to call my own. In fact, I left my old grill in California back in June 2007. You may ask how I could possibly have gone without a grill for so long. The answer probably won’t surprise you: a stubborn unwillingness to compromise.
Gas grills are little more than outside stoves where you cook right on the grates. And while that may appeal to me on hot days when I don’t want to cook inside, that’s not really what I want from my grill.
But a charcoal grill did not really fit into our lives when Little Miss Fussy was born. When she was a toddler it seemed like a bad idea to have such a potentially dangerous cooking implement around. However, now she’s a good bit older, and the kids can be trusted around cauldrons of smoldering carbon.
These two gentlemen helped me out immeasurably.
All charcoal isn’t created equal. I have a prejudice for all-natural lump charcoal versus briquettes. And I never use lighter fluid. Surely none of this is surprising.
Well, I was spinning a bit. Because Adventure in Food has a variety of woods for smoking food, but no lump charcoal. They did give me a name of a regional producer who might be able to sell direct. This is how I came to know Mali’s.
After a quick call, I learned that indeed I could order direct, but I’d need to get a full pallet. That would be twenty twenty-pound bags. Yep. Four hundred pounds of awesome (mostly American oak) charcoal. The funny thing is that I wasn’t concerned with the quantity. I figured I could unload extra bags on some of you food lovers out there. It was the logistics of delivery, storage and distribution.
Alas, my sideline black market charcoal business never happened.
Jon In Albany alerted me to the fact that at Walmart of all places, they have Royal Oak hardwood charcoal. And I could buy it in much more modest ten-pound bags. Later I would find individual bags of Mali’s at Price Chopper. A bit more expensive than buying it wholesale, but without the muss and fuss.
Burnt My Fingers helped me decide which grill to actually get. He endorsed the mini-Weber Smokey Joe. And honestly, even though I bought it, I’m still a bit unsure about the decision.
His argument is that it’s all the grill you need for a family of four. History actually supports his argument. When I was living with Raf, ADS and this other fellow out west, it was a little grill just like this that powered our cookouts. Ultimately this little bugger is only about thirty dollars, so even if it does prove to be too limiting it can be used as a secondary overflow grill.
Still, I like that the full size Weber kettle comes on a stand. I will need to find someplace to put this little guy so I’m not stooped over like a jerk the whole time I’m cooking. But I’ll worry about that later.
For now I’m just happy to be in the possession of tools required to make it happen. And tonight I’m going to grill vegetables. I’ve got summer squash, zucchini, and spring onions. I’m hoping that this preparation will finally entice Little Miss Fussy into eating these damn things. But I won’t hold my breath. I’m also going to grill some hearts of romaine for me and the missus.
If this maiden voyage works well, I’ll soon be off to Adventure in Food for something more meat-like to break in the grates properly. And when this first bag of Royal Oak runs out, you can bet I’ll be looking forward to getting my hands on a bag of that Mali’s stuff.