The Necessity of Grilling with Gas

Monday, August 30, 2010 @ 08:08 AM

When I grew up, we always cooked with charcoal. When I was really little I don’t think gas grills were even invented yet. My Pop had a little hibachi grill and we got on just fine with it. He could whip up the perfect chuck steak on that thing. I know now that that particular cut of steak is quite inexpensive, but my Pop always made it to perfection. You’d have thought we were kings.¬† I actually tried to buy a 7 bone chuck steak when I lived in Florida & the grocery store butcher looked at me like I had 12 heads. Oddly enough, there was another butcher there from The Bronx. He knew what I was talking about, but said that they didn’t do that cut of meat in that area of Florida. I was rather surprised given the fact that that grocery store chain owns their own cattle farms & that I was not living in a wealthy resort area of Florida. When I lived in Florida, I cooked with charcoal.¬† I had a trusty old Weber kettle grill. We got it too hot one time & the legs melted off. The kettle was still fine. I set it in an old truck tire rim & it still worked just fine. When we moved back to NY, the whole thing came with us. Not only did it serve as a grill, but it was also our self contained fire pit. Who needs a chimenea?

Years ago, when they did finally come out with gas grills, they were only for people that had money. They were quite expensive in the beginning. We weren’t poor. I had a roof over my head & food in my belly, but we weren’t well off either. Heck, we didn’t even have a color TV until I was a teenager & it was a used one to boot. Same thing goes with our first gas grill. Someone was throwing one out because they couldn’t get it to work. That’s our society…kick it to the curb and buy a new one. Don’t even try to fix it. It wasn’t in the greatest shape, but all that was wrong were some spider webs in the burner tubes. Pop fixed that straight away and “Viola!”, we finally had a gas grill.

LP gas, is an ok way to grill & BBQ, but charcoal & wood make the food so much more flavorful. When discussing this topic, I always remember back to a certain prime-time cartoon family. The dad was a propane salesman & the family always grilled with propane. They were invited to a barbecue at a neighbor’s house. The neighbors¬† grilled with charcoal. The mother & child liked the flavor so much, they went out & purchased a charcoal grill and started going on secret outings just to charcoal grill a burger without the propane salesman knowing. I can relate. I ended up cooking with gas at my own home and giving up the charcoal out of necessity. I had 2 small grammar school aged children & an 8:30 to 5:30 or longer job. With charcoal, you have to wait for the coals before you can cook the food. If we decided to grill, sometimes the food would not be ready until 8:00 at night or later. Not good to feed little children & then send them to bed. Fortunately, gas grills were much cheaper at this point. With a gas grill, you’re ready to go almost immediately. Food is done quicker, and you can adjust the heat easier than with charcoal.You can even bake bread & pie with a gas grill. That would be a lot trickier with charcoal. Easier if you are a knowledgable cast iron dutch oven chef, but we can’t all claim that position.

To this day I am embarrassed to say that I still only have a gas grill. My kids are grown. Gas is still a necessity for a working family, but I can take more time to cook now. It doesn’t matter if I eat at 8:00 at night or later. It’s not good for me to eat that late, but I can do it if I want to. I don’t have a BBQ smoker either. I would love to have one. But I am limited on space. I already have a gas grill and an outdoor propane fryer. I know that I can smoke items to a degree, with a regular charcoal grill. And there are Brinkmann charcoal grills out there that are mulit-purpose. They are specially made to smoke or grill. Besides they tend to be cylindrical & won’t take up too much space. I would dearly love to have a whole outdoor cooking kitchen. A big gas grill, my propane fryer, a charcoal grill, and a big beautiful BBQ smoker that I could fit whole logs into and smoke meats for 10-12 hours. Maybe someday, when I’m old and retired, and out to pasture. At least with a pasture I’d have space for an outdoor working kitchen. I do miss charcoal very much though. It is time for me to go out & get a charcoal grill. Even if I only get to use it once in a while, it will be a nice change of flavor & pace. I’m a big kid now. I change change things up if I want to. And, I think I want to.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply