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So tonight I decided I would take the plunge and try my hand at bbq’ing for the first time ever.

I know the fact that I am 34 and have never bbq’d before has probably shocked some of you speechless, but I’ve honestly never really had a need to do it before. First there was my dad, then my step-dad, brothers, past boyfriends, and finally my ex-hubby.

My ex-hubby and I have been living in separate houses for a year now, and sadly he got custody of our bbq.

I’ve been putting off buying one though because I’m not sure if I should go with charcoal or propane. My ex and I had a propane one but I’ve been told the charcoal makes food taste so much better. The only downside is that it takes a tad more effort to use. I must say by the end of my little adventure I realized that my mother and I had a slightly different meaning for the word ‘tad’.

I mentioned the whole charcoal vs propane issue to my mother one day while I was visiting, and she immediately grinned and got that ‘Kristy’s definitely going to write about this adventure’ look in her eyes, which really should have clued me in then and there. Without hesitation, my loving mother went into her garage and produced an itty bitty round charcoal bbq she had won the previous year but had never even taken out of the box because she and my step-dad already had a huge propane one.

I was thrilled! I now had a charcoal bbq I could use to help me make my decision. Ahhh that innocent young woman I used to be. I wonder sometimes if my mother gets some kind of sadistic joy out of my turbulent misadventures. Maybe it’s her passive-aggressive way of getting back at me for my oh so wonderful teenage years. Hmmm….

First there was the whole ‘putting it together’ situation which ended up with me scraping my arm and gouging my poor finger.

So there I was, standing in the kitchen with a little trickle of blood running down my finger, frowning in frustration at the stupid bbq while my two little girls freaked out because ‘Oh no mommy! You’re bleeding to death! You have to go to the hop-si-tal!’ I swear these kids need to get out more, and I should probably check to see when my last tetanus shot was.
1st BBQ
Eventually I finished building the damn thing – after calming my poor traumatized children down – and stood it proudly on its tiny legs so that I could take a picture of my great accomplishment. I felt grand for about 30 seconds until I heard, “but mommy it’s so small”. Oh what little treasures children are.

Convincing my girls that it was all we needed for now, we trekked it happily into the garage and I opened the door with a flourish, getting thoroughly wet.

As I stood cursing the rain and my luck, I noticed my girls stood looking up at me with complete sadness in their eyes. It occurred to me at that moment that maybe I shouldn’t have built this whole fun bbq’ing thing up without first checking the weather.

Determined to have this wonderful bbq’ing experience with my girls and even more determined to use the stupid thing that I had almost bled to death building, I packed them into the van and we headed off to the store to find us some charcoal and lighter fluid. (Con #1 – The need for charcoal and lighter fluid).

After the sixteen year old boy at the counter attempted to sell me a butane lighter refiller as bbq lighter fluid, I opted for the little cube-like do-hickeys that promised to light my charcoal bricks in a matter of seconds.

Following the instructions precisely, I obediently put the little cube do-hickeys on the grill and made a charcoal pyramid over them as best I could, before lighting them.

I then spent the next thirty minutes of my life staring at the coal briquettes, hoping my glare would encourage it to heat up a bit faster. (Con #2 – Holy crap we were definitely going to starve to death before the damn thing got hot enough to cook on).

Once I thought it was ready (meaning…once I got sick and tired of waiting), I pushed the coals around to put them into a flat layer and noticed that only about three quarters of the coals had the required ashy color I was told to wait for. I figured ‘what the hell’ and decided to move along anyway cuz I was determined to eat at some point that night.

Grabbing my home-made chicken kebab skewers from the fridge, I eagerly ran back outside to get them going.

The reason I ran was most certainly not because I was incredibly excited about my first bbq experience, but actually because the bbq was sitting inside the garage and I just wanted to make sure the damn house didn’t catch fire. Occasionally my little life adventures turn out ummm…you know…

So anyway, I then spent the next twenty years…uh minutes, cooking my kebabs painfully slowly since I wasn’t sure what the slidey thingys on the sides of the bbq were supposed to do. The fire would either get hotter or go out completely if I had them open, and since I was guaranteed to choose the opposite of what I wanted, I simply opened them halfway and hoped for the best.

I admit a quick google search would have probably made my cooking experience move along a lot faster, but I choose instead to believe I did everything correctly.

One glaring thing I noticed while cooking my kebabs, was that the tiny little excuse for a bbq didn’t have a thermometer built in. Go figure. (Con # (whatever) – Not knowing if my food was hot enough and potentially dying from food poisoning).

I finally decided I was done waiting for the damn chicken to cook and brought it inside. I could only describe its wonderful, rich, smokey taste as INCREDIBLY AMAZING!!! (Pro # doesn’t matter cuz it destroyed all of the con’s – Amazing taste from the charcoal that I’ve never experienced with a propane bbq).

I was definitely pleased with the result.
BBQ-chicken-01

There is one thing I should add to this little experience though. An important thing the charcoal bag didn’t mention was how to ‘turn off’ my bbq. With the propane you just turn off the propane tank. Pretty straight forward.

After we finished eating, I stood staring at the bbq for a while, getting annoyed because the coals looked even hotter with the cover off for twenty minutes than it had looked with the cover on while I was cooking and actually needed it hot *rolling eyes in exasperation*.

First I tried spritzing it with a spray bottle of water, but all that did was make it hiss at me a lot and look even angrier. Seriously??? Sigh…

Finally I decided that the only way I was going to be able to sleep without worrying about the house burning down was if I drowned the coals in water. I learned very quickly that someone with asthma probably shouldn’t do stupid things like pour a bunch of water on hot coals and stand there as clouds of smoke billow into her irritable lungs. Ahh well…you live and learn. Well…you live if you take your inhaler in time anyway.

Ok so to sum up my little bbq’ing adventure:

  1. I nearly bled to death
  2. I barely got away from needing a very painful tetanus shot
  3. I’m pretty sure I aged twenty years or so waiting for the bbq to heat up
  4. I may have given myself and my children food poisoning…yet to be determined
  5. I almost died from asthma trying to ‘turn off’ the bbq
  6. The smokey taste of the chicken kebabs was out of this world and made up for numbers 1 though 5.

This doesn’t mean I’ve decided one way or another about the charcoal vs. propane issue, but at least now I have both experiences to take into consideration when making my final decision. I do think I’m going to need to find out if there’s an easier way to ‘turn off’ the charcoal bbq before making any firm decisions though.

Tomorrow’s bbq’ing adventure shall be one of those salmon fillets that you get on a scented/flavored board. Hopefully I don’t catch the board on fire…or the damn house.

Have a great night everyone 🙂 and if you would like to weigh-in on the type of bbq I should get, I’d love to get your opinions.

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 Posted on : June 11, 2012
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