Monday, May 6, 2013

Grillin' for Girls

The roles at our house are pretty traditionally broken down: I take care of the stuff inside the house, Mike takes care of the outside.  In other words, I don't cut grass, I don't get on the roof, and I don't kill varmints.  

As the sage Suzanne Sugarbaker once said, 
"The MAN should have to kill the BUG."

Blame it on my upbringing, but that's how the work broke down when I was growing up.  I scooped the dog poop; my brother cut the grass.  Dad grilled the meat; Mom made everything else.  The dogs took care of the varmints; Dad removed them from the porch.  Mike gets on the roof; I keep the kids from knocking over the ladder.

Lately, though, there's been a shift in my way of thinking.  At least when it comes to grilling.  Everything tastes better when it's grilled.  My kids (Sarah, in particular) will eat ANYTHING off the grill.  We all eat healthier, fresher, and lighter meals when the grill is involved.  But, if we have to wait for Mike to get home to fire things up, then it's really only an option one or two days a week.  Not cool.

So, the other night, I took the bull by the tongs.  We had chicken about to go bad, and hungry kids to get ready for choir practice.  I grilled up that chicken in a total of 30 minutes.  And it was gooooooood.

With that one quick decision, I discovered the truth behind the best-kept secret in the 
Guide to Being a Guy:  Grilling is just not that hard.


Every time we grill, Mike (and most men I know) go through this intricately choreographed dance involving precise temperatures, exact timing, and resting meat.  They are completely at the mercy of fire and protein, offering sacrifices and prayers 
for a good sear and crisp grill marks.
My version of grilling is much simpler than that.  Here are a few things I learned in my first few forays into grilling:

  1. Start the fire and then wait awhile.  Apparently, you don't want to stick the meat on right away, in the middle of a bonfire.
  2. Just like oven cooking, resist the urge to crank up the heat, or in this case stick your protein directly over the flames.  Direct heat = food that tastes and looks like a charcoal briquette.
  3. Don't forget to close the lid.
  4. Hamburger patties cook a LOT faster than chicken.  I learned this the hard way, with a phone call to my dad.
  5. Contrary to popular male belief, it's ok to multitask while grilling.  And I don't mean having a drink in one hand and tongs in the other.  It IS possible to make your sides while grilling the main course.
  6. Don't forget about the stuff on the grill.  (Another learning-by-doing lesson.)
  7. Your hair will smell like grill.  Just go with it. 
  8. The under-4-feet crowd will want to "help".  Between the raw meat and open flames, about the only thing mine could do was add the seasoning, which makes for interesting flavor combos.

Mike told me my burgers were a little crunchy.

I think he was mad because I went all Myth Busters on his grilling.  
I still think he should have to kill the bugs.

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