And now for something completely different…

11 Jun

It’s summertime, and you know what that means…

It’s recruiting season!

It’s important to have an outdoor kitchen (a “Summer Kitchen”) in the south. It’s a good entertainment area while gathering poolside to cool off in 100+ degree heat. Let’s face it, there are just some neighbors you don’t want in your house, so you have to have a good reason to “exile” them to the backyard!

Plus, a rowdy gathering every now and then will go a long way towards recruiting and maintaining all those lackeys any cult leader worth his BBQ likes to keep hanging around, to throw off those nosy Feds in the Van down the street…

(FYI: Here’s an easy way to identify a surveillance van. You just sneak up on it all ninja-like, and then jump up and down on the bumper to the count of ten. If it’s full of nosy Feds, the hot McDonalds coffee will spill in their laps, and make them scream like little bitches!)

But where was I, hmmm? Oh yeah, BBQs…

It’s a fact impossible to ignore, because we get plenty of junkmail every week touting this BBQ or that one, guaranteed to make us famous with all the neighbors. But, which one do you believe? After all, it’s hard to buy a BBQ from a pimply-faced kid barely old enough to drive, when your standing in the ‘burbs is at stake.

After all, one bad block party, and your kid is forced to go to the prom with the village idiot!

I’ve pondered this a lot lately, because quite frankly, I’m still trying to figure out how to get Bambi, her cousin Honey, and that big-boobed bimbo next door into a wet T-shirt contest in my backyard, so I have something to brag about on YouTube!

So, I did some homework, and here’s what I found out;

The results are in, and using Consumer Reports as a benchmark, it turns out that Infrared cooking isn’t such a great deal. Experts agree that it’s not really worth all the extra money. So, (sigh!) no Infrared.

(Damn! I was really hoping to use some “Star Wars” tech to improve my backyard bamboozeling, er… um… prowess!)

I suppose I can’t dazzle the lemmings with “alien technology,” so I’ll just have to settle for the “ohs and awes” that come from “shiny, shiny, shiny…”

So, I’d better just pay close attention to this years crop of “Meat Incinerators…”  Here’s the best “residential” BBQ units, with the highest scores;

And, the winner is (da-da-da-daaaaaaa!);

The Fiesta Blue Ember FG50069-U401 (it’s $450 at Home Depot): It has a side burner, a built-in smoker box, a rotisserie burner and a lot of shelf space. Now, for $450 it should come with Tony Stewart flipping the burgers and signing autographs, but all in all, it’s “the tip of the top,” this year….

Here’s the rest of the best (in order of ranking);

Brinkmann 810-8410S (okay, that’s better, it’s $200 at Home Depot): This grill has lots of shelf space, and comes with four burners and a 5-year warranty.

Char-Broil Commercial Series 463268008 ($300 from Lowe’s): Don’t let the “Commercial Series” name fool you. This baby was made for your patio pleasure! It’s made of stainless steel and comes with a lifetime burner warranty, which is supposedly a big selling point.

Some of you guys are actually popular enough to cook for a crowd and need a large grill that can handle an enormous amount of BBQ slathered meat, all at once.  Hey, we all remember Fred Flintstone BBQ-ing that huge T-Rex ribcage, right?  Anyway, if your ego is large enough to dilude you into thinking you have that many “friends,” (I know, it’s a shot in the dark) here are a few “best buys” you might want to take a serious look at. Both are made out of stainless steel, so clean-up is as simple as getting the old pressure washer outta the garage, “apre Beer-fest…”

Kenmore 16315 ($500 from Sears): It has a rotisserie, side burners, it’s made out of stainless steel, and it has lots of shelf space. The five main burners come with a 10-year warranty. I know, you were hoping for a “CRAFTSMAN” entry from Sears, but nope… it’s not gonna happen.

Char-Broil Quantum 463248208 ($500 at Lowe’s): I know, it has both infrared and regular burners, but this one is the exception to the rule. Here’s another stainless steel monster with burners in possession of a lifetime warranty. The Quantum has a side-burner-griddle combo, too. After all, you never know when your guests will want flapjacks with their burgers…

And, in case you’re sitting on the fence, Good Housekeeping Research Institute agrees with Consumer Reports that the Char-Broil Quantum is a great grill.  “It cooked the most evenly, the food from the Char-Broil just looked beautiful. We were able to cook chicken that was brown and crispy, had a little bit of charring, but wasn’t burnt before it was cooked through.” Now this is important, because chicken is still fairly cheap (leaving way more money for beer, than say… steak!) and if you do this right you’ll be distracted looking at all the local lovelies in their wet T-shirts!

And, I’m not forgetting about you miscreants in the trailer park, either. I know that spending $400 on a BBQ interrupts the flow of Budweiser, so if you’re on a budget, Good Housekeeping’s Budget Pick is the Uniflame 3 Burner Gas Grill from Blue Rhino ($160, Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart.com). GH says it doesn’t cook quite as evenly as the Char-Broil (what do you expect for about a  hundred bucks or so?), so you may have to rearrange the food a little bit. “But you will still get good results.” And the Uniflame doesn’t win any awards for good looks, but it has some nice features, like a  side burner and a warming rack. Plus it’s got a real sturdy chassis, so you can chain it to the porch awning, to keep those rotten kids next door from stealing it.

“Keep it hot, keep it clean, and keep it lubricated.”

Seriously, it means that you want to start with a clean and freshly oiled, very hot grill grate before you put any food on. Resist the urge to use Mobil One! No matter what you’ve learned watching NASCAR, motor oil don’t mix with meat, so, put down that duct tape and pay attention! Here’s what you do; Turn on the grill and get it as hot as your temper gets when your nosy mother-in-law shows up unannounced, for one of her “week-end that lasts a few weeks” visits. Make your wife clean the grates off with a stiff wire brush (after all, what are wives for, anyway? Hmmm?), and then lube up them puppies (Not your wives! Your grill, you idiots!) with vegetable oil. You can impress your friends by using a tightly-folded paper towel dipped in oil, to prime the grate. Use your handy-dandy grill tongs to do this. The oil helps keep the food from sticking to the grate and it gives your meat those well-defined grill marks. I say again… Use the tongs for this mission, Obie-Wan, or those grill marks will be on your fingers!

And according to experts, the most common mistake rookie BBQers make is confusing the act of grilling with (gasp!) burning.

“Grilling” is turning raw, gooey, roadkill into luscious dark brown morsels of meat!  “Burning” is drinking too much beer while you’re doing it, and turning your meat into charcoal.

“Grilled is goooooooood. Burning is baaaaaaaad.”

The Big Three (and I ain’t talkin about UCLA, Michigan State, and Okla-damned-homa!);

A trip to the garden department at Walmart will reveal that there are literally hundreds of different grilling accessories! They even make jalapeno chili roasters for your BBQ! (Why in the hell would you even WANT a jalapeno chili roaster?) But experts all agree that there are only three really essential tools that you can’t live without: a long-handled stiff wire brush for your wife to clean the grate with, an instant-read thermometer so you can make positively sure that the food is cooked to the “safe” temperature (unless you LIKE poisoning your guests), and a set of long-handled, spring-loaded tongs.

“Turn, grassshopper… Don’t stab.”

It’s not some secret aikido move only taught to ninjas, anymore…

Tongs are important because meat on the grill is “hot-hot-hot!” If you use your fingers, the trip to the local trauma center is gonna drive up the price of your entertaining, and there goes your “budget!” A lot of dumb people stab the steaks with a fork. Gasp! Why in the hell would you do that? The poor steak never did anything to you, but lull you into a stupor after you wolfed it down with a cold beer chaser!  You bastard! That just puts holes in the meat and drains out all the delicious juices. Forks are for eating… Duh! Even I knew that one…

Now, some of us (I’m not gonna name names) aren’t as organized as others where backyard shindigs are concerned, so if you’ve ever started cooking and run out of fuel, you might consider a gas gauge.

Nothing empties out a backyard like a shortage of beer or a good case of salmonella, compounded by food poisoning!

To prevent running outta “cold, frosty, fuel…” hide a case of your favorite brew somewhere outta sight. Nothing sucks like finishing grill duty to find out some bastard drank the last beer, and didn’t save you one!

Alas, there are loads of devices that are supposed to tell you when the propane tank is starting to suck fumes, but I can tell you that most of these don’t work very well at all.

But this year, Good Housekeeping found one it recommends: The Electronic Gas Level Indicator from Gas Watch, which retails for $30. People who are actually paid to know better claim that it is so easy to hook up and use, even a drunk red-neck could do it… Well, they didn’t actually say THAT, but if you read between the lines just right, and squint a little bit… And, it’s accurate. The readout changes color from green to yellow to red, as the gas level drops. And for the colored-blind among us, when the meter turns red, a warning buzzer sounds off, like a “core-breech klaxon” on the Starship Enterprise. Okay, it’s really just a buzzer, but the music will be turned up so loud that nobody’s gonna hear it anyways…

So, even if you use a fuel gauge, it’s a smart idea to have a spare tank, and I ain’t talking about your beer belly. A good fuel gauge allows you to use every bit of propane in the tank and will never disappoint your hungry guests.

(Because, let’s face it, an unruly mob of steak-starved guests full of beer can get downright ugly, in 100+degree heat!)

There you have it! Everything you need to know to make the summer “A Party To Remember…” Now, I’m headed out to the garage to start bleaching out the coolers. They got kinda rank, after fishing season ended. Anybody got a tip for getting six month old bait smell outta “Budweiser Buckets?”

And if you’ve got any photos layin around of big hootered babes minding the BBQ grill, you know where you can send them…

Amen

 

My apologies to the original author… Consider your ‘blurb’ butchered into a blog!

 

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One Response to “And now for something completely different…”

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