First Love

She stands silent and regal, a vinyl cover draped over her to keep out the dust and moisture.  She smells like smoke and memories.  Memories of a hundred summer barbecues – failures and success – all run together as if time was simply events jammed DSC_0025onto on a spindle instead of an organized sequence.  She has borne witness to celebrations of friends, loves, family and even some tragedy.   I honed my craft with her, she was my very first.   They call her a “Weber Performer”, but she is so much more than that to me.  Over the years I have purchased a couple of other models, and even built in a wood burning oven and grill.  She still has her hallowed spot by the back door.

I know her.  I know how hot she will get. I know how to keep her at 350 degrees for hours, just by adjusting the airflow.

I know how to run her low and slow like a smoker, creating a ring of charcoal around the lower grate like the letter “C” and dumping about 20 lit coals on one end.  She’ll slowly burn it like a fuse.

I know how to run her like a blast furnace, using a “Vortex”; a section of steel sheet metal bent into a cone that fits on the lower rack and comes to just under the grilling rack.  I fill it with hot coals and the heat is forced through the top portion of it at extreme temperatures.

I know how she can slowly cook a leg of lamb or chicken on her rotisserie ring, watching the meat baste while spinning around it’s axis.  Yes, I know her.

She has taken exquisite care of me, teaching me the nuances of the grilling and outdoor DSC_0024cooking arts, whispering into my ear to slow down and use my senses.  To hear to the food as it sizzles on the grate.  To look at the lovely browned crust on the meat.   To smell the smoke and savory aromas.  To feel the gentle texture and quality of a chicken breast or a ribeye steak when it’s done to my liking.  In return, I keep her shiny and clean and she runs as well as she did on the first day I got her.

She endeavors to resurrect something primal in me, memories stored in a part of my mind that belonged to an ancient ancestor – hunting,  providing for his family, and cooking with fire.  And memories of childhood, watching my dad and the other men cook outdoors smelling the wood smoke, the sausages.  Hearing them banter and laugh.  Much simpler times.

Now, sometimes when I find myself mixed up in the complication of every day living, I walk to the back door, remove the vinyl cover and light the charcoal in the starter.  It’s summer again, the gentle breezes are aloft, I can smell the charcoal and she is whispering in my ear.  Slow down.

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About The Quincho Project

Dedicated to the pursuit of all forms of live fire cooking and the thoughtful prose it evokes. Whether prodding at a dying fire, patiently waiting on a perfect steak or simply contemplating a thin blue curl of smoke - I am truly at peace.
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8 Responses to First Love

  1. Ah shucks, nice poetic ramble, old boy. And I love what you did with the essay. A quaint homage, to an old stand by.To a friend and comrade beneath what pillars of wood smoke did rise. She looks in good shape too. It’s weird how a man can get attached to such things, but we do. And the more you use them, the more memories you make, and the more attached you seem to get. And I’m OK with that.

    I would love to get a performer some day. It’s been on my short list for a while now for my next grill. I love every Weber product I’ve ever had, so I doubt the performer would disappoint. But then there are so many other grills I wish to try yet too. Like one of them Santa Maria type grills,and an ugly drum, not to mention one of them fancy ceramic cookers, and a high end off set, and a smoker shaped like a revolver. The list goes on! Even so, none of them will ever be quite like the romance we had with the one we cut our teeth on. Our first love.

    Take care, and happy grilling, Mr Quincho. Always a pleasure to peruse your tome.

    PotP

  2. Thanks for checking in, much appreciated. Yes, the old girl still has a place in my heart. She must be around 10 years old now. Although there are lots of sexy models to check out, she remains the most versatile and easy to accessorize. I’m sure you can find one that’s looking for a good home. Keep up the great work on your end as I love checking in with your latest culinary conquest as well.

    Cheers from the Quincho out West

  3. Conor Bofin says:

    Lovely piece. I wish I thought a bit more about my trusty, rusty bbq.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Getting sentimental over inanimate objects is not a unique state. I heard there was a woman who married the Eiffel tower. Fortunately, I have not gone that far. Besides, taking a BBQ to dinner poses it’s own set of awkward problems…

  4. Moe Dean says:

    How do I cook an asado over a weber grill?

  5. Howdy Moe…

    Simple – It’s no different than the bigger Parrilla. Get your coals good and hot with a 2 zone fire (a cool side and a hot side) and throw on the meat (Sausage, Skirt, Tira de Asado, Morcilla, etc). Move it to the cooler side to avoid flare ups if you need to. Serve everything with Chimichurri and Salsa Criolla. I pretty much use it for smaller Asados (just me and the wife) when I don’t need to fire up the big grill. Timing is everything so just figure on putting the bigger cuts on first. Good luck and let us know how everything goes!

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