My calendar tells me that it is not yet technically summer, but c’mon, it’s summer. Summertime means a lot of things to me: sandals and sunburn, getting a heat stroke at the beach, burning myself with fireworks on at least two or three occasions, endless mosquito bites and tons of aloe vera, and honestly, I love it all. But maybe what summer makes me think of mostly, is the tried and true tradition of the cook-out, and grilling in the great outdoors. A man, and his meat (and I mean that in the Bobby Flay sense, and not the Pee Wee Herman sense). Hamburgers, hot-dogs, spicy Italian sausage, chicken, shish-kabobs, shit you name it, and it’s probably going to be tasty as hell if it’s on the grill. Heck I bet Spam cooked on a grill is amazing.*
Since man now has access to grocery stores and food markets, we no longer necessarily have to hunt for our dinner, in fact there is no hunting, just the gathering. I mean it’s way easier for me to make a quick stop at a Giant Eagle to buy some New York strips, then it would be for me to physically track down a cow, shoot the cow, and then I would have to butcher it, and so on, and hell, there goes my whole afternoon. Plus all of the cows that I am aware of live on farms, and I get the feeling most farmers get pissed when you kill them, just because you’re kind of in the mood for a burger. So perhaps the whole hunting part of this endeavor, is simply finding and purchasing the grill.
I’ve been looking at grills over the past few weeks, in person and online, and I must admit, I’m not sure where to begin, or which kind to select. Do you go charcoal, or do you go gas? Now if you are of the Hank Hill school of thought, propane is the way to go, it’s cleaner, you taste more of the product that you are cooking and less of the method of the cooking, and typically with a decent gas grill, you can cook the meat pretty evenly. This is important, if you want to cook several things at the same time, and don’t want to present your guests with the choice of “raw or burnt-to-shit”. Now on the other hand with charcoal, you just can’t match that smokey flavor, and to grilling purists, using gas is almost an obscene thought. Plus let’s be honest, with charcoal, you get to play with fire, which is always awesome. Then there’s the factor of cost, it’s debatable which method is more expensive, but I would assume cooking with charcoal is cheaper.
So in the end, I guess it’s really just a matter of personal preference, like deciding if you prefer blondes or brunettes, or whether or not you hate gay people. In my case, the more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards the charcoal grill. As previously stated, I get to play with fire (brilliant idea that has no ill consequences whatsoever: how awesome would it be to light the grill using roman candles?), and I guess the smokey flavor from the briquettes is pretty cool, and finally I really don’t feel like buying a gas grill. Onward, cook-outs.
*I’ll never know what grilled Spam tastes like, but I guess it’s fun to think about.