Friday, September 17, 2010

Girl vs. Grill

Let me start out by saying, I LOOOVVEE grilled food.  I could eat grilled food through all year long, in 95 degree heat and in crazy cold weather, just as long as I am not the one doing the grilling.

Not that I can't grill.  My last few meet-ups with my grill were really VERY SUCCESSFUL and turned out some PERFECTLY COOKED chicken, pork chops and veggies.  And after each one of these successful meet-ups with the grill, I made sure hubby knew just how skilled his dear domestic diva is in the art of outdoor cooking [in an "in-your-face," "I can grill better than you" sort of way].

I was still riding high on my AWESOMENESS when I fired up the grill yesterday evening.  Hubby wasn't home yet, the kids were playing together peacefully, there were 4 porterhouse steaks in the fridge waiting to be grilled to juicy perfection, so I decided to get a head start on dinner and impress the hubby with yet another display of my incredible grill skills.

I imagined him pulling into the neighborhood after an exhausting day at work, sniffing the fragrant air out his driver's side window as the car rolled into the driveway.  "What's that? Steak?" he would say to his rumbling tummy.  "My wife really can do it all!  I'm the luckiest hubby in the world." 

He'd follow his nose all the way up the stairs, into the kitchen where he would be greeted by a glass of merlot and a plate of juicy, meaty goodness.  He would stop between each bite to tell me again and again that I am, indeed, a much better griller than he can ever be!

Here's what really happened.

I delicately arranged $40 worth of porterhouse steaks on my pre-heated grill, set the heat to med-high, because you need to start them out high to get those nice grill marks and sear in all the juices. 

Mmmmm.....that's what I'm talking about.

Everything was on track; kids were still happy, dog was sleeping in the corner of the kitchen, side dishes were coming right along.

Sniff, sniff.  "What's that smell?"

I peeked out on the deck.

"Just a little smoke.  Happens when hubby grills too, and the steaks are always fine.  No problem."

Thirty seconds later....

"Okay, that's an awful lot of black smoke.  Is that a flame I see?  600 degrees is a little high, no?  Oh, okay, higher than 600 now.  WTF!!" 

Commence running-around-like-a-chicken-with-my-head-cut-off sequence.

I continued my useless little freak-out session for what felt like 2 hours, meanwhile the black smoke cloud is looking like something out of LOST...

...AND I can CLEARLY see orange flames ever-so-slightly emerging from the small holes on the sides of the grill.

"Okay, um, what do I do?  Shut off the gas tank, of course!"


"Okay, now set all the heat dials to OFF."


"There, that should do it.  Now I just wait for the black smoke and flames to settle down.  No problem.  Disaster averted!"

Not so much.

The black smoke was canvasing the entire deck area and spreading into the neighbor's back yards and the heat was continuing to rise!  My next instinct was to call hubby, but the one time I am in crisis, I can't reach him.  Figures. 

"Am I having a 9-1-1 moment here?  Screw it!  I'm calling 9-1-1!"

As I waited for an eternity for the 9-1-1 operator to pick up, I paced into the house, back out on the deck...back and forth, back and forth.  I was positively LOONY by this point!  The kids were sticking their curious little heads out the slider door as I shielded them and shoved them back inside the house.  They were entertained by the whole ordeal.  By the looks on their faces, they could have easily been watching an episode of "Sponge Bob," not a dangerous grill fire.

I was finally talking to the 9-1-1 operator who brought my down from completely batty to a reasonable level of sanity.  She asked me repeatedly if she should send the fire department - it's my call.  I declined the offer - I didn't want to be known as the crazy grill fire lady in the neighborhood.  Instead, I asked her to stay on the line with me until the temperature gauge moved into the safe zone and the flames died down.  Just having 9-1-1 on alert made me feel better. 

It turns out I did everything right.  Except, now we had nothing for dinner.

I joked with the operator,"Guess we're having take out tonight!"

After re-hashing the entire terrifying experience to hubby, he looked at me and said, "Why didn't you just wait until I got home?"

And there it is. 

My oven and I will be best friends again.  I'm leaving the grilling to the man of the house for a while.


  1. Well look on the bright side, such stories make for great blog posts and you told this one quite brilliantly :-)

    Oh my, I have never liked and never will like BBQ and after reading several posts lately about burning grills think that steering clear of them is a good plan. I hope your BBQ was not a write off along with the poor steaks!

  2. Awwww, you did such a terrific job up until the fire! Well, you are a better woman than I am because I don't even know how to turn the darn thing on! Good on ya...and there's nothing wrong with take-out!