Easy to get grilled about barbecuing


The other morning I woke up in the early afternoon—as is my customary summer vacation practice—to find that the rest of my family had decided to leave town for the day.

So I went back to bed.

But when I finally pulled myself out of bed a while later, I decided that I should make some lunch. My choice of menu: grilled bratwursts.

This is a big deal for me. When left to fend for myself I will almost always go with a frozen pizza.

However, on this particular day I was feeling motivated. I was feeling tough and rugged. I needed a man’s lunch.

And grilling is a very masculine activity.

This manly art of cooking meat over an open flame dates back several millions years to the early cavemen.

Having just invented fire (and failing to patent it, as is evidenced by billions of copyright infringements committed each year), Gurg was carrying home a chunk of mastodon that he had purchased when he tripped and accidentally dropped it in the flame.

The other cavemen, who had been sitting around pondering which auto insurance they should purchase, suddenly smelled the aroma of burning flesh and had a great idea.

So they ate the overly peppy Progressive spokesperson instead.

Since then, the tradition of barbecuing hotdogs and hamburgers and steaks and pork chops and chicken and whatever insects called the grill their winter-time home has continued to fall on the shoulders of the man.

And so being the only man in the house for that afternoon, I picked up that tradition—being careful to lift with my knees so as not to hurt my back—and got out the brats.

(When I write brats, I am of course using the shortened form of bratwursts. Cooking obnoxious children is illegal in most states.)

OK, to be completely honest, the only motivation for grilling was the fact that there were no more frozen pizzas left in the house.

The first step to grilling bratwursts is of course to light the grill.

My family has a gas grill that was imported from Munchkin Land.

Our temperamental little barbecue is a permanent fixture that goes right into the ground, connecting to an underground gas line.

The result of this fixture is that as the years have gone by, things have apparently settled. The grill is literally two feet off the ground.

If it sinks any lower, we’re going to have to start mining to find the ON switch.

When using it, a guy gets the feeling that he is playing with an incredibly realistic Little Tikes-brand barbecue set.

In fact, it’s so low the ground, the pressure inside a piece of meat will cause it to burst from the altitude change as you raise it off the grill to put on your plate.

OK, so perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic.

If the height (or lack thereof) doesn’t get to you, the lighting process might.

There I was, still in my pajamas, crouching on my hands and knees with my head crammed underneath the grill trying to locate with a lighter the valve from which the gasoline in dispensed.

My upside-down position, coupled with close proximity to running gasoline, was starting to make me a bit lightheaded. This, in turn, slowed down my reaction time for when the flickering flame of the lighter finally located a significant bubble of gas.

It’s been a few days now, and you’ll be glad to know my eyebrows are beginning to return to normal.

But before I do any more grilling, I’m going to look into purchasing some eyebrow insurance. After all, if a caveman can do it….


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