It’s Not Cooking, It’s Barbecue


     Gas grills are ruining this country. Not for any sort of quasi-environmental reasons, but simply because the people who use gas grills are the epitome of the instant gratification culture. Not to mention the fact that gas grills are just ugly, in a sort of ostentatious, Ugly American sort of way.
     Charcoal is the only way to grill. There’s a dignity to getting black coal on your hands that just doesn’t exist when you only have to push a button to get the flames going. Are you starting a fire or turning on a computer?
     And the smell. You just can’t compare the two. One smells like smoke, fire, elements actually used to cook meat. The other smells like a mistake made at a gas station.
     Most importantly, it takes time to get a charcoal grill lit the proper way. You have to wait for the coals to turn gray. You don’t just light a match and get to throw some meat down on the grate within two minutes. Even match light charcoal takes at least ten minutes to get going.
     With gas, you push your button, and once the grill is booted up (it takes about two seconds) you’re good to go. There’s no art to it. You don’t have to manage the heat source, you don’t have to think, you don’t have to do anything. You get the benefits of grilling food, without any of the costs. You don’t have to actually put any effort into the final result. It’s no coincidence this country started going downhill once gas grills began cropping up like weeds.
     Then there’s the look of gas grills. The last time you went into Home Depot or Lowe’s, they stood out like sore thumbs. Bright, obnoxious monuments of stainless steel, practically shouting at you to look over at them. “Understated” is a word the gas grill has never been associated with.
     The charcoal grills, on the other hand, are almost always flat black. Thick barrels of cast iron, designed for one thing, cooking meat. The charcoal grill doesn’t care if you look at it, the charcoal grill doesn’t need you to pay attention. It just goes about its business, knowing it’s going to produce superior tasting food.
     Sorry Hank Hill, I like to taste the meat, and the heat. It’s one of the reasons I like to grill. Gas is just lazy grilling. No wonder it’s so popular these days.

%d bloggers like this: