last weekend.. although it was my first chance in years, it didn't happen, and probably only chance in
quite some time. While it wasn't anybody's fault that the whole deal fell through, it has taught me to not
put so much effort into going to Faire, as I tend to get too emotionally invested in it. Unfortunately it also
looks like Valhalla Faire in Tahoe is also cancelled, this time for good, so it may very well be a long time
before I even get a chance to run around in tights at Faire again. The only ones in the near future are
the ones in miserably hot and nasty places that I won't make the mistake of going to again.
Ah well, I guess I have to keep things in perspective. After all, in Kansas City, we had to wait all
year for the next Faire, and here I have to wait a few months.
So instead of going to Faire, I had an epic, exhausting weekend right here in town, with things like this going on:
(Although this doesn't happen till the Memorial Day Weekend Saga, Part 3)...
Building the Perfect Beast... er... Grill.
The Sunday before last I was at the Barbeques Galore ogling their fancy Bar-B-Chef grill, a huge
smoker with an offset firebox and a vertical pipe. I'd looked at it online and compared it to the other
horizontal barrel smokers out there, and really couldn't find anything else that compared...
so I decided to go over to the Barbeques Galore and look at it for real.
This August, I'll have been grilling and barbequeing for ten years, so as a 10th anniversary present,
I decided to look for the smoker that I've always wanted. So there I was.
I tried to lift one end of it, and thought, "Hey, they nailed this to the floor!". But no, they hadn't,
it was just that it weighs nearly 200 pounds. All cast-iron construction, and built like a battleship.
They had a sale on it the next day and took 10% off, so I had to buy it. It took two people
(thanks Hugg E. Bear and Terraluna) to even haul it out of the car and into my house, and I spent all
week looking at the instructions on how to build it. Kyreeth and Terraluna came over last Friday night
and helped me build this monster, which I couldn't have done by myself.. especially as heavy as it is.
Just the grill grates weigh at least 5-8 pounds each, and it took all three of us (and a bunch of different
tool sets) to get all the tools to put the thing together, but they did an amazing job, finishing in two hours.
We celebrated at Flames Coffee Shop (the only thing that was still open at that hour) after building the
thing, and called it a night.
So just for comparison, here's the old grill..
And the new grill, brand spanking new before it was even fired up...
The main reason that I got something so monstrously huge is that I've pretty much exceeded anything
I can do with a little Brinkmann Smoke N' Grill, which has served me faithfully well for ten years.
However, the Brinkmann can't do a rack of ribs, can't do brisket or real slow-smoking, since the
firebox is always directly below and can never be offset. And if you want to do slow-smoking, you're
changing out all the coals every hour, since the firebox is just too small to really hold much in the
way of heat. So while I love the Brinkmann and will keep it around, as well as use it as my portable grill,
for doing the serious barbeque I need a serious smoker.
So on Saturday night, when I figured that everybody else was going to be at BayCon and
unavailable, I invited TerraLuna, FJ and a few other people over, and we took the grill on its maiden voyage.
I wasn't sure if I knew how to drive such a huge thing, but it's awesome.. it's like driving a plush limo
when you've been driving a Mini for years. 767 square inches of grill space, great smoke control,
and the coals were perfect.. we never had to refire the coals the entire evening once we got things going,
and with the offset firebox for the wood, we never had to lift the grill plates under the food to stoke
or resmoke the coals.
It was great. Thanks to Kyreeth and Brokken for being my intrepid assistant grillers while I was putting
together the grill prep dishes upstairs in the kitchen.
For a small "grilling lab" with only a few people, we stayed up till nearly 3 AM before people decided
to head out-- lots of fun, but exhausting. I didn't get to bed until 6 AM after cleaning up, taking a shower
and getting situated before passing out, and got a call way too early in the morning the next morning..
but that's for Part 2, so stay tuned...