Grilling out is a year-round hobbyPublished 11:51am Friday, February 15, 2013
Every year when summer comes around, you can barely get inside in a grocery store without walking past pallets of charcoal, potato chips and soft drinks.
I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer afternoon than gathered around a grill with family or friends. Growing up, our summer barbecues were something I always looked forward to.
During the week, it was hard to get everyone together in the same place at the same time. With my parents owning a restaurant and my sister and I constantly involved in some sort of extra curricular activity, Sunday was a day to take it easy and cook all afternoon.
But every year when summer ends, the charcoal displays get smaller and smaller until the stores take them all down. The smell of wood smoke on a weekend afternoon becomes increasingly less common.
Yet no matter how low the thermometer dropped, most Sunday afternoons my dad and I could be found huddled around the grill.
It is a tradition I carry on to this day.
As I write this column I am already planning my Valentine’s Day meal – grilled venison sausage (compliments of Kenneth Boone), with grilled garlic, peppers and potatoes.
There really aren’t many things that you can’t grill – I have tried everything from green beans to pizza (the latter was surprisingly good).
With such unlimited possibilities, I just wonder why this method of cooking is reserved only for fair weather.
I can understand it to a point. You can’t wear flip-flops or walk around barefoot in the grass. An ice cold glass of sweet tea (or perhaps something a little stronger) is the last thing you want to be sipping on when you’re bundled up like an Inuit.
But there are some advantages to lighting up the charcoal long after the birds have flown south.
A winter barbecue offers the promise of a bug-free experience. No need to slather yourself in deet or break out the bug zapper.
You don’t have to worry about flies landing on your food.
The ants have buried themselves deep in their hills.
And while the best part of summer is the nice warm weather, here in the south that weather can sometimes take a turn for the worst. For those of us who don’t live on the lake or have a swimming pool, it can be miserable roasting in the southern heat while flipping burgers over a fire.
So the next time you find yourself in a culinary rut, push a little deeper into the grocery store. The charcoal is still there somewhere.
And though the weather outside may be frightful, it’s still a great day for grilling.
Nelson is news editor for The Outlook.