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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Death of a barbecue

  Recently, my barbecue grill got to the point where the grease shield rusted completely through.  It also seemed to be cooking too hot.  I found myself mulling over whether to keep it or not, and what to replace it with.  This was shortly after having a picnic with friends at a local state park, where I did some open pit charcoal grilling for the first time in some time.

  Faced with the prospect of spending $50+ on replacement parts, I decided it was at the end of its useful lifespan.  I decommissioned it - pulled out all the screws, bent the legs in, and got it to fit in our large trash can for the regular pickup.  While I like to try to get things to last, I didn't feel too bad about it this time around.  I had purchased it secondhand at a thrift store for only $10 perhaps 4 years ago.  I remember that I had to do some very thorough cleaning with a wire brush, and lots of scrubbing with detergent to get it to work adequately initially.

  I had primarily used charcoal until about 10 years ago, probably because my Dad cooked with it.  When someone mentioned grilling, I thought of charcoal.  However, charcoal can take a while to get going, and so when I saw the used gas grill at a thrift store a few years back, I grabbed it.  I figured that if I just wanted to grill a small amount of meat quickly, I could probably finish using the propane grill in the amount of time it would take for charcoal to even be ready to start.  This worked ok until lately, when the grill was running too hot, even on the lowest setting.  The meat was often dry, stringy, and with a very burnt taste.

  I enjoy the occasional grilling on a fair weather day even in the middle of winter.  Although I'm sure I can go a month or two without it, I'm also positive that I'll find myself missing the ability to barbecue at home sooner rather than later.

  That's why I have posted the current poll: I can't make up my mind on what to buy as a replacement!  There are a lot of places having clearance sales on grills right now.  For the most part, I am unimpressed by the strength of the metal sidewalls.  In one store, I pressed on the side of a $160 grill with my thumb, and saw a dent result!  Crazy - my $10 thrift store grill was more sturdy than that.

  Anyway, please vote for your personal preference in our poll.  Also, if you have a specific model you'd like to recommend, I'd appreciate an email on why you think it is the best grilling solution out there.  You could also submit your thoughts on the topic here as a followup to this post if you'd like.


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