My first purchase after moving back to West Virginia in August of 2000 was a 22inch Weber Kettle Grill, same one everyone else has. It was on sale, for $70, at the Lowes in Princeton, WV. I bought it before I knew I didnt have any money (we were a one income family; the one income coming from a small, but lovely, American Baptist Church).
I loved cooking on this grill, looking out over the southern highlands of West Virginia on the back deck of the parsonage drinking a Rolling Rock (before RR was bought out by Budweiser, back when RR was brewed in Latrobe, PA, back when I could buy a case of RR at the Kmart in Bluefield, WV with a coupon from the Sunday paper). On this grill I made hamburgers and hotdogs for the students from Concord College who attended the church and my campus ministry group (that was until the West Virginia Baptists fired me for being pro-LGBT). On this grill I made dinner for my extended family after the dedication service of my first born. That particular afternoon I was having a presbyterian of a time lighting the coals; I was still learning how to adjust the airflow for the grill. My brother-in-law came out to help and wondered why I was using dryer lint to start the fire rather than lighter fluid. Thankfully, he noticed I had the vents on the grill closed too much. He opened up the vents and then went inside and told all those gathered not to eat anything I cooked on the grill because it would taste like my dirty socks and underwear.
The grill moved with us to the parsonage at Lincoln, RI. The grill and I matured together. It was there that I experimented with the Thanksgiving turkey, I smoked it and rubbed bacon fat on the skin. Where I learned how to smoke a Boston Butt, even cooking 5 butts for 75 people at the church yard sale one Saturday. I thought I could do no wrong on this grill till I tried grilling a pizza and caused an amazing fire to break out.
The grill survived our next move, to New Orleans. Although we were only there for three years the humidity and rain (and three major storms) did a number on the grill; but nevertheless it persisted. I've never sweat so much grilling as I did in New Orleans. We made some good food, especially grilled boudin; I tried ribs but failed miserably.
And the grill survived one more move, to Minneapolis. Here we were introduced to the Juicy Lucy, a great concept but a lousy burger. And we were made more intimate with brats, now the cheesy brat is a much greater alternative to the Juicy Lucy. But the grill started feeling deprived and lonely and resentful. The grill thought I was having an affair with the Instant Pot and didnt love it anymore. Truth be told I was and still am head over heels for the Instant Pot. If anything the Instant Pot prolonged the grills lifespan.
Last week I went to move the Weber grill and a leg fell off. The leg could not be repaired. The broken leg forced me to face the facts: the rust and holes and lost pieces...it was time.
18 wonderful years together. We cooked some great meals together. Thank you 22inch standard Weber Grill.
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