In Praise of: First Grilled Meal of the Season
Box up the snowboots. Mothball the parka.
Trap that waddling prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil, and stuff him for a fuzzy warm hat.
Or, better yet, grill the meddling sonofagroundhog.
Hibernation’s over, bomb cyclones are spun out. Springtime is here and it’s time to fire up the barbecue once more!
Not that there’s a magic date on the calendar to call me outside again. It’s just, barely a week or so ago, the drifts were still piled about 2 feet out on the aging boards of the back deck, and my trusty Weber looked more akin to Frosty the Snowman, marooned in a marshmallow world.
But the sun’s come back to southeastern South Dakota, and not a day too soon. With spring soccer and baseball season calling, and the treadmill in the basement beginning to feel like an endless walk into a wall, pets, kids, parents all have practically jumped outside to soak up rays and suck in fresh air.
And now we’ll nourish ourselves on the first grilled treats of the year.
Crusty grate, awake!
I usually like to start the grilling season off with something easy, the better to get the coals glowing again.
It’s gratifying that, after all those months buried and forgotten, just a few minutes under the Weber’s lid scraping the grate and pushing the old coals aside, getting some fresh charcoal going in the chimney starter, the mouthwatering apparatus is up and smoking.
I started with a post-church lunch of brats and burgers. Going lowkey, and not subjecting the brats to my drawn out ritual, instead tossing them on dry and unbasted. The burgers, I bought preshaped, dusted a side with some spices, and just threw them both across the grate with the lid on and time enough to get juicy and hot.
Tonight, though? Tonight it’s New York strip steaks, and grilled onions, and twice-baked potatoes and a fine Napa Valley cabernet to savor Sunday night, and spring again.