Spring has Sprung

Welcome to Spring! Here in Oklahoma it is the rainy season and like every old lady the rain makes my joints ache and that makes me not want to do anything so I haven’t really been cooking. Lots of things from packages, take away and sandwiches are about the extent of the kitchen work I have managed. My family is starting to feel neglected so I have started trying. We did have a day of sunshine and 75 degrees so I decided to grill. What a perfect way to celebrate the sun!

Hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst and corn all cooked in the sunshine on the grill. Nothing fancy or special about the menu but sometimes simple is OK especially when simple is cooked with love.

There isn’t going to be a recipe or anything in this episode, there will be a story, a story about me and my grill.

I have a love/hate relationship with my grill. She is a good grill, handed down to me from one of my favorite Uncles after the one handed down to me from my Grandpa finally died. So this new to me grill is a little touchy. Her electric start no longer works, her grates are rusty and the thermometer doesn’t always work. The valve that holds the propane tank to the grill is really the only solid, well working part of her. I am also touchy and a bit on the not quite new side so I don’t hold any of this against her! I am usually very patient and kind to her. On this night however things went sideways very quickly and didn’t really ever get back to rights.

I should have known the universe was trying to send me a message when I couldn’t find the long lighter and had to use some rolled up paper as a torch to light her up. I paid no heed as I often misplace the lighter! The grill is lit, the thermometer is actually working and after a reasonable 10 minutes the perfect temperature is reached so I go to open the lid and place the meat and BAM! the lid comes off in my hand. In my one hand as I am holding a tray of meat with the other. I managed to not drop the meat as I wrestled the lid back on to the grill. After a short investigation I found that one of the screws that holds the lid in place had come off due to the nut on the inside having rusted off. I asked if there was a generic nut laying around the house that I could use and I was told “We only have fancy nuts in this house” and “Nuts are screw specific, there is no such thing as a generic nut”. Neither response was helpful so I had to ask for expert assistance which was the expected next question after the nut question. To clarify, I know nuts are size specific, my question was do we have a spare nut hanging around that might fit this screw.  Yes, my people were laughing at me like little kids because I used the words spare nut and screw.

Expert assistance arrives grill side with tools in hand and many questions. Why does help always come with so many questions? Especially after I have gone thru customer service and already answered all the questions?? This is the point when I started drinking. The answer to the questions is to dismantle the grill and find the wayward nut. Did I mention that she has been a well loved grill? It was very much a mess and by the end of it we were both greasy and dirty like we had just changed out the oil in a tractor. We did find the nut, it had rusted off, we did not have either a spare nut or a generic nut to replace it with but the expert did notice that the decorative bits were held on with the same size screw and nut combo so he just took one of those and put it on the vital bit and all was well! Almost well. When we started putting her back together one of the flame covers broke in half and one of the grates lost a few chunks of itself.

After getting her put back together I found some grill mats and the lighter and restarted her. As my luck continued to be great the thermometer didn’t work so I had to put it on low and wait as patiently as is possible for a person who is starving to wait. I had to put the corn in the oven and of course butter dripped out of the foil wrapping leaving me with an oven to clean and a smoky house while the corn finished cooking. Oh, and when I re-started the grill it was super smoky from all the smeared grease and it set off the smoke detector!

The bratwurst and hot dogs were perfectly cooked, the burgers were a bit done around the edges but had wonderful flavor thanks to the seasoning packet I had used. It was called Roadhouse Burger Seasoning and meant to be mixed into the meat before making patties but I used pre-made patties so I just sprinkled the seasoning on them.

I did make some Dijonayse which is Dijon mustard mixed with mayo and I added pepper and shallot powder. We had King’s Hawaiian Buns for the burgers and pickled vidalia onions on the hot dogs instead of relish and some french fries.

We did end up with some nice family time and everyone had a happy belly so there really isn’t much else to ask for from a meal. And if there isn’t a bit of excitement in the cooking then what is the point?!

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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