June has arrived and it’s time we got serious about barbecuing again here in S’lano County, where men are men and women are remarkably adept with the family chainsaw.
Unfortunately, all too many of our once-proud, hands-on, take-no-prisoners charcoal chefs have, over the years, become entirely too sissified for their own good.
Stop by any department store, hardware outlet or home improvement center and you’ll see dozens of sophisticated barbecue grills selling for $400 to $600 – and plenty of fancy-pants wannabe grillmasters buying them up.
These high-tech barbecue centers have electronic ignition, pneumatic tires, multiple burners and options like sinks and double-walled stainless steel hoods.
Hell, you might as well barbecue in your Lexus.
Where’s the challenge? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the fire department?
Sad as it seems, today’s faux barbecuers seem to have considerably more money and considerably less dedication than our backyard grillers of old (you know, like way back in the ’80s…).
Whatever happened to the time-honored practice of yanking the grill out of your kitchen stove, putting it on a couple of bricks over a pile of moldy charcoal and then dousing the whole thing with a quart or two of flammable liquid?
(Historical hazardous materials note: Charcoal lighter was best, although kerosene was a workable alternative. Transmission fluid was frowned upon because the meal would wind up tasting like a refinery explosion. Gasoline was to be avoided, too, because the chef would wind up looking like a refinery explosion. Really. I wouldn’t kid you on this.)
Yeah, that was barbecuin’ at its finest – and cheapest.
Once the flames had died down to below two feet or so, you could throw just about any reduced-for-quick-sale supermarket meat on the grill and you’d have a feast within minutes. For the gourmet touch, you could periodically spill Budweiser on the grill. This both added flavor to the meat and helped control the flames that were leaping skyward.
Plus, the beer could be used to temporarily ameliorate the pain of second-degree burns…Brings back some great memories, doesn’t it?
You can almost smell the hot links igniting and hear your nitwit brother-in-law Ralph’s boombox playing “Welcome to the Jungle” in harmony with the approaching fire sirens.
It’s not too late to do it again, amigos.
Drag the grill out of your kitchen stove, find some flammable materials and celebrate the America we used to know every summer.
And remember, no la-di-da gourmet marinades. The best barbecue sauce is made by enthusiastically mixing two cups of leftover catsup with a half cup of old Worcestershire sauce, a half cup of cheap red wine, two tablespoons of alleged garlic powder, a tablespoon of coarse ground pepper and two tablespoons of stale sugar.
Mighty good eatin’ anytime…