May I Just Eat a Charcoal Briquette Instead?


Yesterday I went to a barbeque which can truly be called “elegant”.  Real plates, cloth napkins, silverware, adult beverages, excellent food, and four refined adults politely discussing topics in a mannered way. I had never before seen a cookout like this – I didn’t even know they existed! My experiences have usually gone like this:

Typically, the Dad drags out the Webber grill, fills it with old charcoal (vintage: Memorial Day, 2010), dumps on too much lighter fluid (a definite lack of creativity naming this product), lights it, and then jumps back from the 2-foot flames.

“I’ll be ready for those steaks in about 10-minutes!” he shouts to his eye-rolling wife who is just thankful he didn’t set the house on fire. The kids groan when they see a backyard inferno like they haven’t seen since the California wildfires. Ahh, charred rawhide for dinner again this year.

“MOM! Can we go to McDonalds?”

”No!” she yells back. “We’re a family – and families cook and eat outdoors together on Memorial Day. It’s important to your Father.”

Louder groans. “Why?” one yells.

“God friggin’ knows…,” she thinks as she scoops salads onto paper plates from plastic containers.

“Go set the table! Use the paper plates and plastic silverware.” More groans. Even before the kids find the long lost picnic supplies, the wind picks up and a new species of aggressive fly is attracted to the smell of burning meat. Finally the family is seated. Paper plates are held down by mayonnaise salads and one hand – as the other tries to shoo away the unrelenting pests.

And despite the fact that everything on the grill is now uniformly burnt to a crispy black, Dad asks the punch line question, “How would you like your steak?”

Tomorrow’s post: “A Vietnam Vet Looks at Memorial Day” by Joe Belle-Isle

5 Responses to “May I Just Eat a Charcoal Briquette Instead?”

  1. Bill says:

    I went to a family cookout today which featured barbecue chicken, mac salad, potato salad, pizza, homemade coleslaw, and three kinds of cake for dessert. It was delicious. The kids and wives were happy with the cook. So was I.

  2. Joe Belle-Isle says:

    How come back in the 1950’s My Dad would get steaks (Sirloin) that were automaticly at least an inch thick, delicious, and TENDER??? Steak so good you couldn’t mess them up. I think what Franks objecting to is super expensive best cut beef that’s skinny as hell and half water and it don’t taste like steaks used to.

  3. Bill says:

    And sometimes it’s people looking to save a buck who buy their beef at one of those “clubs”. You get what you pay for. When we were kids, we didn’t get our steaks and chops at a supermarket; we went to a butcher’s shop. Did it cost a little more? Sure it did, and it was worth every penny.

  4. Joe Belle-Isle says:

    I bought a chicken at a private meat market here. I took it home and openned the dated package that had several days to go before it was to need to be frozen. It was already rotten.

  5. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the post I actually learned something from it. Very good content on this site Always looking forward to new post.

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