Sunday, June 29, 2008

the bbq whisperer

gah! so i spent about 3 hours yesterday in the (contrary to the meteorological reports) blazing hot sun, sweating and wrenching and in all other ways frankensteining and coaxing my smoker to rise from its boxed ashes like a glorious meat-tomb phoenix. (i also put together the crappy tire table). in the end, i have a lovely, sturdy little soldier taking up residence in a corner of the backyard and i only have one orphan nut! success! i undertook my endeavours under the glassy, boozy, eyes of my alcoholic neighbour dimitri, who is very interested in the smoker, and spent his concurrent time outdoors putting together a dolly (dolly as in lifting device, not as in parton or toy). i think he was inspired by my saturday-afternoon-handywoman efforts. he periodically offered me advice that i routinely ignored, but did manage to come up with the appropriately sized phillips head screwdriver - otherwise, we worked in companionable silence.

just as i was firing up my weber grill for steaks (i changed the menu around last night, the impetus for which was a pms-driven craving for animal flesh and the ferrous tang of blood), lo and behold, the flames from the burners are sluggish and slow, and even on maximum power, the thing refuses to get up to temp. it's a good thing i bought that smoker then, otherwise my planned canada day bbq would have been in jeopardy! i've checked the manual and online, and it could be one of two things:

a) the regulator needs to be reset (the regulator has this auto-compressor thing that limits the amount of gas going to the burners when it thinks there's too much pressure)
b) there's spider webs in the venturi tubes (the venturi tubes are what mixes air with the propane before sending it to the burners for ignition).

webers come with venturi tube spider screens, so i think it's the regulators. i tried doing the reset yesterday, but it was still sluggish, so i'm going to give it another go later on today. i woke up early and gave the burners a good scrub down...but my grill is looking in dire need of a solid cleaning. enter the barbecue pros. for the princely sum of $125 or so (depending on the level of cleaning required) they go over that thing with a power washer, sander, fine grit steel wool, and return it to you pretty much new. i've had the grill for four years and i had it done once. at the time, it seemed exorbitant (after all, that's pretty much the same cost as a new, albeit low quality and cheap, grill). i skipped last year, but i think once every two years is good, if it's going to prolong and extend the life of the grill. i'll probably get that done next paycheque. cleaning your own grill just isn't worth it, and i'm bourgeois enough to pay for the convenience of having someone else do the work for me.

in every other respect, yesterday was extraordinarily productive. i did laundry, errands, put together two items, did dishes, cleaned out a bookshelf, sorted through about 10 years of photos to discard the ones i don't want and cherry-pick the ones that will be going into albums, and organized and plastic-sheathed all my recipes. phew. AND did some's my first lace pattern, but the one i tried is a 25 row pattern repeat and i've had to rip it out so many times, i'm starting with an easier one. to get my lace-knitting toes wet before i get so frustrated i never pick up a lace chart again.

that's last night's dinner. rib eye steaks, pan seared *tear*, hasselback potatoes, with bacon-dill sour cream (note to self: potatoes really do deserve full-fat sour cream), and a lovely lovely salad of watermelon, tomato, bulgarian feta, chili oil, preserve lemon julienne, and sea salt. it was DELICIOUS. we had strawberry shortcake for dessert and watched "a fish called wanda". they don't make movies like that anymore, that's for damn sure.

this morning we had fried spam on toast with over-easy eggs. i've been craving that for FOREVER, and now i don't have to eat it again for 10 years. it really is quite delicious. like corned beef hash sans potato. i'm going to an afternoon yoga class, and then the dotytron and i are going out for a nice dinner a deux. we're going to foxley, which is a new small-plates place that's been getting a lot of buzz. full review with pics tomorrow!


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