When we pulled up to our camp site in Eisenhower State Park, we set up and got everything ready. I noticed that there was a nice ground-installed grill (it wasn’t a grill placed on posts like some parks have). It had a very nice heavy grate with five different level-positions for grilling. I thought, “This is perfect. No messing around with our barrel type smoker-grill.” So, when it was about dusk, I got our ribeye steaks nicely slathered with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. As the meat rested, I went out to start the grill. I cleaned out the ashes left from the previous “tenants” and began to build my fire pit.
I thoughtfully placed the briquettes in a classic pyramid formation with lump coal on top. I put a few lighter-cubes around the coals and lit them. Soon, there was a nice little fire promising a perfect red bed of heat underneath the heavy iron grates upon which would soon sizzle huge slabs of beef. Right? Wrong! The sizzle soon fizzled…out. There wasn’t enough air circulation to keep the coals going.
You see, for one to have the perfect fire there has to be air circulating all around the embers, including the underside. Because this grill was “ground-installed,” there was no bottom grate to suspend the coals off the ground.
Solution: I held a flashlight in one hand and a makeshift fan (a paper bag) in the other.
All this time, my glass of wine was sitting all by it’s lonesome 3 feet away! Oh, the humanity! But, alas, I was able to get enough air into the grill to produce enough of a thermal reaction to char a perfect, medium-well, steak. I then seasoned it with my own smokey rub and let it rest while I prepared the rest. There was just enough heat remaining for some smokey grilled Asparagus and charred sweet peppers. Yum! Dinner was served!
By the way, my abandoned glass of wine was soon united with my lips and all was well with the world!
Stay hungry! (And thirsty!)