My Simple, Highly Efficient Grill
One of the true joys of manhood is the ritual of cooking outside on the ole grill, or "barbie" as they say Down Under. I am sure this joy is a genetic thing peculiar to men, dating back eons to prehistoric times when the men went out and hunted, killed, dressed and cooked dinner for the family unit.
Today, of course, we civilized folk have refined this process to a trip to the local meat market, where we (the mighty hunters) select the precise cuts of meat to grill over hot coals on the back patio. As the meat gets happy over the smoky embers, we masters of the culinary art stand guard over the barbeque grill, lovingly and expertly bringing our dinner to a precise and succulent end.
The Mighty Hunter Builds the Coals
Well, OK...not exactly. I did forget to mention that alcohol is usually a part of this tradition. As we sip on our spiritous liquors---be it beer, wine or booze---our minds occasionally wander---sometimes to the point that we forget we are grilling. This has on occasion produced disastrous results....totally incinerated meats which are not fit for consumption. In cases like these one is tempted to offer it to the family dog, but the dog has proven to be much too discriminating to be taken in by this ruse.
The Coals are Now Ready
Then, there is the REAL problem that arises when the mighty hunter burns dinner---a highly pissed off wife. One would think the sweet, demure and highly ladylike object of our affections would simply say something like, "Oh, that's all right, dear...I'll just throw us a dinner together in the oven and have it ready in nooo time!
Love you so much!♥" But no---a palpable change comes over the spouse, and a tension begins to hang in the air. This never turns out well.
The Mighty Hunter Has Incinerated the Chicken
I recall the first time my dad cooked out. He had asked a client to come to our house for dinner. Dad prepared the coals and then poured a toddy for his guest and himself. Pleasant conversation ensued. Another toddy was poured. The chicken was placed on the grill. Another toddy was interrupted by the shrieking of my mother, as thick, black smoke poured from the grill..."ED!! YOU'RE BURNING THE DARN CHICKEN!!!" (Note: she did not say "darn"). Long story short, the evening was a disaster. If you are gonna drink and grill, you better stay right there with the coals.
The Mighty Hunter Has Burned the Ribs
I have learned over the years that women and men have very different notions about what constitutes proper doneness of meat, be it fish, chicken, beef or pork. I can cook a good sized steak, for example, for 6 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other side over hot coals, and know it is done to my liking. The meat is on the rare side, but that's how I like it.
However, woman is most particular. Woman will insist on a close inspection of the meat, first visually, cutting it open with a knife to determine color, and then with a meat thermometer to determine temperature. Invariably, woman will return her meat to the grill. Keep in mind that, when this occurs, the man becomes somewhat emasculated. Remember now---the man killed the meat and he ought to be given free reign over it's preparation. I have learned, however, that discretion is the better part of valor in these situations, and it is best to just keep my mouth shut and smile at my beautiful wife. I employ the phrase "Yes, dear" quite often.
When woman at last pronounces "It's ready", the meat is lovingly collected from the grill and the proud hunter/master of the home delivers it to the dining table amid much fanfare and praise. Success! Yes, we eat well tonight! Tomorrow is another adventure....