Faltering new life for a blog?

An unbelievably touching post on Blog Dad Paul’s blog from embarrassingly long ago gave me an idea about the next phase of the blog, since the kitchen remodel is over and even the deck remodel is almost done: I might post the occasional recipe that emerges from the new kitchen. Paul, I owe you a reconstruction of that soup, and I’ll do it someday, I promise. For now, here’s a recipe from the weekend.

Our spring weather has been so lovely lately, that even though I love my indoor grill, I was actually inspired to go outside, dust off my piece-of-shit 18″ Weber grill, install the various smoking/roasting widgets my parents bought me on their visit last November, and make a nice, smokey, roasted chicken. It was wonderful!

Here is your first recipe:

  • Remove giblets and nastiness from chicken, rinse
  • Loosen skin all the way around
  • Sprinkle kosher salt everywhere imaginable
  • Line skin with crushed garlic, fresh minced rosemary and marjoram, and thin slices of Meyer lemon
  • Stuff with a mixture of:
    • shiitake mushrooms (rehydrated in white wine)
    • minced shallot
    • minced fresh rosemary and marjoram
    • crushed garlic
    • butter
    • white wine
    • chopped celery
  • Roast on grill, with a wood-chip-smoker doodad in action. Getting it to 180 took me about two hours, perhaps because I underestimated how much charcoal it would take to bank up the sides of the 18″ POS Weber
  • Sip Fenestra Viognier on the spiffy new back deck
  • Make a basic gravy from the drippings
  • Serve with more Viognier, artichokes, and Meyer lemon garlic butter.

Here’s why I refer to the POS grill so disparagingly.

Most Weber charcoal kettle grills are wonderful. I loved my first Smokey Joe to death, even using it in Chicago during a blizzard to sear some delicious Valentine’s Day steaks. It finally rusted itself into crumbs.

So, one fine day about seven years ago, my ex the chef (who wasn’t my ex at the time) went out and replaced it with an adult Weber. Great, right? Well, we both thought so, but no. Turns out she’d gotten the medium-sized Weber kettle grill, the 18-incher. That thing is a pain in the ass. For some reason the charcoal never quite works to its full potential. Even starting the charcoal is unusually difficult, whether you use the chimney-and-newspaper method or the stack-and-scout-juice method. Either way works just fine on a Smokey Joe and abysmally on an 18-incher.

Unfortunately, I got the grill in the divorce.

Finally I went out and bought another Smokey Joe, so now I have three grills:

  1. the Smokey Joe, whose meaning in life is now questionable, since I now have an indoor grill on my
  2. Wolf range (an 18-gazillion, okay thousand, BTU infrared charbroiler), and
  3. the dreaded 18″ Weber POS

Even Dad concurs it’s a POS. He heard me whingeing about it a few years ago when they visited and marched outside to prove me wrong. I’m sure he figured I was just being feeble, and frankly I would have agreed with him if my friend Alicia hadn’t made the same observation about 18-inchers just not working right. Still, I hoped Dad would figure out what my problem was. Eventually he came back inside bearing delicious elk burgers and an expression of disgust.

“Erin, I’ve figured out what’s wrong with your Weber.”

“Oh? What is it?” I asked, surprising myself with my hopefulness.

“It’s a piece of shit.”

So there you have it. Even the man who taught me how to grill agrees that 18-inch Webers don’t work.

I guess the Smokey Joe will be the backup-grill for entertaining with an outdoors barbecue, when an alternate (such as vegetarian) option is needed for people who don’t want their food to touch the main option (such as critters), or to throw in the trunk and take car-camping.

The 18″ POS will get the occasional use for roasting mediumish birds. The other problem with an 18-incher, you see, is that big birds like even a modest-sized turkey don’t fit. The lid is too low. It’s too big for steaks, unless you know a lot of people and can afford that many steaks, but it’s too small for a turkey for 4. It’s big enough for a chicken, and that’s about it. So I have a fantastic searing grill inside, an adorable searing grill outside, and a POS roasting grill outside.

Dad was disgusted enough that when they came back for another visit last fall, their plan was to buy me a proper large Weber. I talked them out of it, though, figuring that I needed a fourth grill like I need a hole in the head, and they got me the smoking/roasting accessories and some indoor-kitchen widgets instead. However, after this weekend’s chicken success, I’m realizing that I was an idiot. Cleary the proper course of action is to salvage the smoking and roasting accessories, buy a big Weber, and give the 18″ POS to someone I don’t like very well.