Last week my propane grill went up in a ball of flames.
I started it up on medium-low heat, closed the lid and went inside while it warmed up. A few minutes later, as I was heading to the kitchen to grab some steaks and stroll back outside, our neighbor frantically rang our doorbell.
“YOUR GRILL IS ON FIRE!”
I was slightly surprised to see that some grease at the bottom of the grill had caught fire, and flames were licking out from underneath the lid.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just turn off the gas and let the fire burn itself out.
I confidently turned off the gas, and waited.
But the fire didn’t stop.
The flames were so hot that they ignited the contents of the drip tray underneath the grill. The fire then spread to the console, melting the control knobs.
“Honey,” I said in as calm a voice as I could muster, “Could you please bring me a box of baking soda, RIGHT AWAY?”
I pulled the melting knobs off the control panel with a pair of tongs as my wife arrived with Arm & Hammer in hand. A few minutes and a full box of baking soda later, our grill was – literally – toast.
Thankfully, there were no injuries or property damage, other than to the grill. Plus we weren’t too upset about the loss. It had served us for many years. We had already decided that this was to be its final season.
Heck, if you’re going to retire, then why not do it in a blaze of glory?
And now, thanks to the meltdown, I’ve rediscovered the joy of grilling over charcoal.
Yes, we’ve started using a little R2D2-esque charcoal unit while we look for a full-size replacement for our old, charred beast.
And I’m loving it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons not to like it…
No matter how hard I try, my hands always get dirty from handling the charcoal, the grill, or the ashes from the day before.
It takes a lot longer.
The gas grill was always ready in a minute or two. The charcoal? It’ll be 15-20 minutes before you can drop the steaks and start cooking.
It’s a lot more work.
Cleaning out the ashes, pouring in the new coals, lighting and then waiting for the coals to get hot…yes, charcoal grilling requires a lot more attention than gas.
But the results are so much better!
The added flavor from the charcoal (and wood chips if you want some extra smoky goodness!) is well worth the extra mess, time and effort.
It got me thinking about how often we sacrifice quality in the name of keeping things clean, quick and easy.
Everything from school lunches to relationships.
Did you ever notice that the really worthwhile things in life are often messy, and require plenty of time and effort?
Which do you favor – charcoal or gas?