Heh heh heh....grill power

It's officially summer, but I've been using the grill spottily for a few months now. We don't have the room to keep our big baddie in our possession, so it's having an extended stay at the parents' house. It's all right, because we don't know enough people to hold a dinner party, and there isn't enough room in the house for a proper dinner table anyway. Harumph.

Anyway, we've still got the little guy to house our flame, and the seasonality of grilling has me all hot and bothered about how we start our fires.

In particular, there was a radio ad for some car that was selling itself as the all-out manmobile. Don't settle for half-assed, the voiceover intimated. After all, if you were shopping for a grill, would you buy a little hibachi, or a little charcoal number, or the 80-gajillion, five-burner propane all-business motherfucker with an infrared sear and polished chrome? GIT-ER-DONE!!!, the ad practically shouted at me.

Now, I'm not one to turn down a gadget. If you've been reading here enough, you know that I like my small electrics and special use items. I've bought an electric griddle, a stick blender, a mini-prep, a far-too-big-for-our-household Lodge castiron pan, a probe thermometer...most of these at the behest of one Alton Brown. Damn you, sir.

But when it comes to grilling, I am, have been, and will hopefully always be steadfastly purist. I think those outdoor gas grill mega-constructs that get orgasmically revealed on HGTV are pretty nifty looking, but they're kind of like the Porsche you win in a lottery: great prize, now try maintaining it.

Grilling is its own animal. It is not the same thing as cooking in your house, with a range (yes, I prefer gas to electric ranges, although I haven't played with conduction yet) and a microwave and an oven. It is cooking over flame, plain and simple. Sure, you can add special woods, and you need to take a certain care to keep your grill clean. We're not cavemen anymore, and there are proper standards and protocols for cleanliness and hygiene we need to follow.

Honestly, grilling is special. It hearkens way back. It is primal. And it needs to be treated as such. My feeling is this: there is no special art to cooking with gas; no art, all artifice. Or, to put it less artfully, either make your own fire or cook in your fucking kitchen. Prometheus wasn't fucking around!

This is not to say, however, that I will refuse to eat gas-grilled food, or even that I will refuse to operate a gas grill. I know people who have gas grills, and they are people whom I love. Community, family and the shared effort are more important than the source of the combustion. But you'll never, ever see me buying a gas grill, and I will advocate steadfastly for old-school wood flame.

Incidentally, I just read about a fascinating charcoal product out of Japan that I am actually not going to tell you about further. I tried sending them an e-mail to inquire about cost, and had my e-mail bounce back from what turned out to be a chock-full mailbox. As such, I don't want to add to the traffic jam by telling the Internet all about it. If you know me, ask me; I'll tell the inner circle (so to speak). But I'm guarding the information selfishly otherwise.