Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Old School

I am a typical male with a short-attention span, who enjoys many different activities. However, there is one activity that will always rise to the top of the list: grilling food over an open fire. Grilling has become so much a part of me that I purchased a gas grill in order to grill year round in all kinds of weather. Living in a state with four seasons, I've been known to grill in temperatures ranging from negative digits to upper double digits. When it comes to delivering grilled meat, I can definitely relate to the mantra of mail carriers everywhere: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night ...." I figure if they can get me my mail no matter what, I can surely grill meat on less-than-perfect days.

Now over the years my gas grill has been updated from the one-burner to the current three-burner, deluxe, stainless-steel machine, complete with a side-burner for any foods falling through the grate. Once I even ran a gas line from the house outdoors, retooling the grill so I could cook with house gas, instead of propane. You guessed it. I'm a professional.

It should come as no surprise then that my passion for outdoor grilling is well-known by my family, nearby neighbors, people strolling past my house, neighborhood dogs, cats, and even other critters. Over the years I've accumulated an impressive arsenal of grill accessories: "executive" tongs for grippin' and flippin' flame-seared meat, specialized thermometers that let you know when you're "in the zone," hand-knit aprons, flame-retardant mitts and, of course, every griller's friend -- a cooler to keep your drink nice and frosty. Recently, however, I was presented with something I have not seen or used in years: a kettle grill designed just for charcoal.

Boy, talk about "old school."

So, in a burst of nostalgia, last weekend I decided it was time for an old-school lesson outdoors. My accessories were simple: a bag of Kingsford® charcoal briquettes, some Ronsonol® lighter fluid, a book of matches and, of course, a carefree spirit of adventure. When the flames hit that magic three-foot level, I recalled immediately the special thrill of old-school grilling.

After the coals turned cherry red, I dropped in some hickory chips, slapped on a couple of succulent 16-ounce T-bones, put the cover back on, and basked in the sweet, sanguine joy that only comes from inhaling the smell of roasting animal meat.

Talk about some good aromas! I can't remember a meal I enjoyed so much.

Just goes to show you, sometimes the old-school way -- though it could take a few more minutes to get there -- might just be the best way to go.

May your grills be hot and your libations not!

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