My father is a Master Griller.
This is a designation he bestowed upon himself (albeit justly) many years ago. It doesn’t mean that his cooking is infallible—earlier this summer, he ran out of gas halfway through two rotisserie chickens, which required both a trip to Lowe’s for more gas, and a post-church run to KFC for last minute luncheon.
Nonetheless, he truly is a Master Griller. No one can compare with his grilled chicken, and the man knows how to make a perfect steak (lead the cow past the grill on a warm day).
And like any truly Great Master, he has taken on the occasional apprentice.
Now, I’m the closest thing my father had to a son until I dragged home my now-husband for the first time. I was the one who went shooting with my dad, played softball (poorly), and learned the most important skill a man (or anyone, for that matter) can learn: how to properly grill enormous quantities of meat for family, friends, and neighbors.
My father began my apprenticeship when I was 16, with my father saying, “go get me a beer…and get one for yourself too.” And now, over ten years later (what with the statue of limitations past on the whole underage drinking with your dad thing), direct from the Grill Master himself, instructions on how to grill:
Step 1. Light the grill and get the dangerous part out of the way. This is why men grill…because it’s dangerous.
Step 2. Get yourself a beer.
Step 3. Check that the grill is hot enough to begin cooking. Go inside to get the meat. And while you’re there, you might as well get yourself another beer—yours is probably almost empty.
Step 4. Bring the meat (and your beer) outside. Begin to place meat on the grill. Set levels of gas for appropriate cook time for type of meat. Enjoy your beer.
Step 5: Check how the meat is doing…but not too often. Every few minutes. Seasoning may be added, including a dash of the beer you’re drinking for flavor. When it looks ready, turn the meat. This is a good time to get yourself another beer.
…Also, when in the company of other men, this is an appropriate time for cigars.
I’d like to point out that at this point in the lesson, dad had a cigar. I refrained, but am still curious about my designation in “the company of other men.”
Step 6: You probably have a few empties, and a dirty plate. The meat should be ready soon. Take the recyclable bottles to the correct receptacle, and the plate to the kitchen. While you’re there, get a clean plate….oh yeah, and another beer.
Step 7: Return to the grill. The meat should be about done. This is the right time for a taste test, especially if you’re serving steak.
Step 8: Remove perfectly cooked meat and place onto the plate. Make sure the grill and gas valves are safely in the off positions. Leave grill open to cool and cleaning brush for after dinner.
Step 9: Take your wonderful meal to your family and enjoy dinner…and another beer.
Step 10: Clean the grill with the wire brush. This is a mindless, boring activity, and one that is better done with a beer in hand.
Happy birthday, Dad!