Over the years I’ve become good at cooking just about anything in any manner. I’m even not bad on the grill but I totally suck at grill time management. I only use charcoal and usually organic briquettes. We gave up using a gas grill in 1997 when it almost burned down our new house. It’s actually a funny story but if you don’t want to read it skip to the nice Weber Charcoal Grill.
We had moved to a new town and a new home about a month prior to this eventful day. Scott had just hired a new member to his team and we were having him over for dinner. I thought I would grill out steaks. Just that past weekend we had cleaned the deck, rearranged the furniture and gas grill. I went out and started the gas grill to heat up. Also that day I had scheduled a delivery of a new swing set for our boys. The guys came to the front door to announce the delivery so I sent them around back. All of a sudden I hear shouting and the guys are yelling your gas grill is on fire. I was in the kitchen and looked out the sliding glass door and they were right. The entire grill was engulfed in flames and melting the siding.
I ran to the basement door and yelled for the boys to go to the front lawn immediately. Luckily we had practiced in case of a fire so they knew right away what I meant and did not hesitate. I also called the 911 for the fire company. The delivery guys were great and went up onto the deck and tried to pull the grill away from the house, now dripping hot molten metal onto the deck. I wasn’t going anywhere near the thing and told them to just leave it. People are more important than a house.
So then I ran out front so I could direct the fireman to which driveway since we lived on a culdesac. It was on a hill with a very steep incline, very steep. Think San Francisco steep. Just then Scott pulls up. I calmly leaned in the car window and asked Scott to park at the top of the hill so the firetruck could pull into the driveway. After his look of shock and our dinner guest looking like he wanted to run, he pulled up the hill just as the firetruck was coming up behind him.
At this point all of the neighbors, most we had not met, came running out of their houses to see what was going on. Great way to be introduced to the neighborhood. I can only imagine what they were thinking. The fireman ran around back and quickly put out the fire. Evidently the connection from the tank and hose had come loose in the moving around, so the grill had become a flame thrower.
The poor guy Scott had brought home from dinner was really shook up but I was supposed to be entertaining and I was not going to be upended from this just because of a little fire. I just cooked our steaks inside on my JenAir grill and we had a great topic for dinner conversation. The house didn’t have much damage and I learned how to cook under fire. Sorry, couldn’t resist. We’ve laughed about this for years. Come to think of it that guy didn’t work too long for Scott either. Oh well.
So, back to the grill time management. I’m not really good at this. I start my charcoal in a chimney to get the coals really red. Then I split them into two baskets under the grill grate. There are things you want to grill with direct heat and other foods that need indirect heat. I think I just need a bigger grill and then I could grill the meal all at once. Of course it’s always tricky with grilling for a vegetarian when we’re having steak, chicken or fish. I have to make sure it’s all separate.
So if you have any good grilling time management tips for a charcoal grill, please pass them on. It seems that when I start out to grill a meal we’re not eating for a few hours and my family is getting hungry. They would like grilled steaks before it snows this year.