The Cheap Cheerful Grill From Outer Space

How many grills have we owned? Well, there was that notebook-sized hibachi that sat on the floor of the wooden back porch of a Chicago-style six flat; it’s surprising a stray spark didn’t start the Great Chicago Fire of 1977. After moving to the ‘Ville there must have been a couple of journeyman barbecues until the coming of the gas grills in, what, the late eighties? My mother bought us two, which will bring us to the mid nineties. Since then: a cylindrical smoker/grill combo and three Weber knockoffs.  If you don’t cover your grill for a couple of Illinois winters you deserve the rusty gut bucket that emerges from the snowdrifts in late March. This March our grill had lost both feet to, the wheels were creaky and it was time to reequip ourselves for the summer.

The biennial debate began. We don’t smoke (food,) we don’t throw those incredible cookouts for fifty that my friend Dean does, we don’t cook carcasses bigger than a spatchcocked chicken. We don’t cook things long, slow and smoky with much rearrangement of coals. We always think we will, that this year we’ll become Grillmasters, but …

That’s not what happens. We grill a few pizzas a summer, lots of vegetables and little bits of meat and poultry — with the exception of the pizza, pretty much what we cooked on the original hibachi. Our summer entertainments rarely exceed six people. We loathe replacing tanks of propane and never found a gas grill that got hot enough for us. I’m shy about admitting this, but the favorite grill we’ve ever owned was the original hibachi, even though I had to cook on my knees while disco pounded from the neighbor’s radio.

I think this goofy little number might just be my new favorite. I call it The Grill from Outer Space, because with a couple of tinfoil antennas,and my daughter’s Lego spacemen in the garage I think I could video a cheesy sixties Space Opera using it as a prop Sputnik.

It’s fourteen inches in diameter and about twenty inches tall. Cheap: 14.95. Cheerful? I think it’s adorable. It has clips that hold the top to the base, so we can trundle it about to parks and picnics. It uses amusingly little charcoal,gets very hot very fast and stays hot enough to char a rare skirt steak or sizzle up some chicken thighs. It’s big enough to accommodate a pizza, a bunch of burgers a flattened chicken, a few pork tenderloins and variety of vegetables — not at the same time of course.

It’s so cuddly and user-friendly that we’ve grilled more times this week than we did all last summer. And hey — I can pick it up and overwinter it on a shelf in the garage. Grill has met girl, and he’s her hunka burning love.

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3 Comments

Filed under Food, Holidays, Home, Machines, The Great Outdoors, Twenty bucks

3 responses to “The Cheap Cheerful Grill From Outer Space

  1. Lloyd

    Yep – The Weber Junior knock-off – The Best!

  2. AWWWW. Your baby is pwecious, yesss he izzzz!
    I just LOVE him!

    Cooing over such cuteness comes naturally to me, accustomed as I am to walking around, sweeping around, and otherwise enduring several of those hulking Space Monsters which may well soon boom out The Five Notes from CEOTTK.

    I’m of the cut yer cloth to fit yer suit persuasion, as well, and yours seems perfect for all your grilling possibilities, and easy to house and feed, as well.

    Are you registered at Babies R Us?

    Kisses from Auntie R

  3. Patty

    Alas, we are breaking down to buy a grill also…we’ve had only two over the years (the original black Weber stands proudly on the mountain still), mainly to our inability to be grillmasters. The coals never heated up for us with the high winds, or the propane seemed to use itself up between cookouts. Moving to 120 degree summers (and 100 degree spring and falls), and after 3 summers trying anything but the stove or oven, we are joining the ranks, and are in the process of shopping for a grill even we(John) can become grillmasters on!

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