Over the recent 4th of July Weekend, I celebrated, as many Americans do, by eating too much. A fair amount of what I ate was grilled. I’m not a grilling nerd, certainly not to the degree I’m a Doctor Who nerd (*ding* Every time I mention Doctor Who in a blog, a weeping angel gets its wings. If you get that reference, you’ve no ground to criticize me.)
I have no particular grilling skill, though I can typically cook a burger or even a hot dog (the dogs are for the kids – I know too much about where they come from) without burning them. I have little patience for fancy marinades and rubs. I don’t analyze the merits of gas versus charcoal. I use charcoal simply because I don’t grill all that often and it feels like too great an expense to invest in a gas grill and then worry about keeping propane on hand for it.
I’ve had a lot of good grilled burgers. Salmon. Corn on the cob. Asparagus. Shrimp. Last month, I grilled an awesome whole chicken, split into halves. Great experiences, all of them. But then, two unique experiences happened this weekend.
I stood in the rain. Umbrella in one hand, tongs in the other, to cook a bratwurst. We could have cooked something else. Ordered pizza. But, no. We wanted this – let’s face it – fairly unhealthy,but awfully delicious grilled treat. So I braved the elements and did it.
The other big grilling event? For the first time, I smoked a couple racks of ribs. For the firs time, I didn’t just throw the food on there to see what happens. I employed direct AND indirect heat. There was a pan of water to keep the meat moist. There was basting.
I wasn’t just cooking meat on the grill. I was straight-up grilling , friends.
And it was tasty.
But it was something else too. The smile joy of food over an open flame has always been there. Fire up the grill, grab a beer, watch the grass grow. The path to inner peace, it turns out, tastes like chicken.
But there’s something new now; some new, small briquette of determination off to the side of the grill that has only now ignited and started to smolder. I don’t just want to make stuff on the grill. I want to grill stuff on the grill; with all the ferocious flavor power such redundancy can muster.
So, help me out, you readers who consume food – animal, vegetable or mineral. Well, maybe just animal and vegetable. Minerals tend to fall through the rack into the fire. I need some good grilling recipes that (1) taste good ; (2) are super simple; (3) favor charcoal, since that’s what I use.
Get to work. Find me recipes. Quit your jobs, ignore your families, skip your own meals, if you have to. I’m hungry,people.