Our first son is only in kindergarten and already he is asking about summer break. I mean, sure, it was bound to happen at some point but getting the “when is school out” blues is a bit premature at this point. He just turned six, for crying out loud!

Kids by the barbecue

Then again, summer is the season of children. I honestly remember it as a magical time where doing everything and nothing were at the top of the list at the exact same time. It was about staying up late and sleeping in…and beating all of Donkey Kong in one night. My brother and I would ask our mom for two dollars so we could go swim at the community pool. You know, to play dolphins. It was nonstop fun.

Upset boy eating a quesadilla

Living in the northwest, summer was also the time when food prep left the kitchen and found a new home alongside the hedge just outside our back door. It was finally warm enough for all of us to run around outside while my dad put on a show at the controls of his barbecue. My favorite part was being able to help and man the water squirter. What’s a water squirter? Well, when cooking a steak – a juicy steak, mind you – juices tend to drip down into the grill. The cascading flavor liquid resulted in some pretty big bursts of flame. A ton of fun to watch, but not so good for the steak. My job was to quickly squirt unruly fire bursts with the water from the water squirter. If I held it up just right, I could imagine I was shooting H2O at zombies.

Ahhh…summer.

Now that I am an adult, it’s only natural that I do my part and man the barbecue. I would like nothing more than to pass on the same traditions to my boys. Turns out, there are a few problems with that. I have a new Char-Broil Commercial 4 Burner Gas Grill. When it comes to the water squirter, the engineers of this thing didn’t put its name on the guest list, if you know what I mean. You don’t? Okay, well…let me explain.

Season of grilling

Our new grill came in a big box that was very heavy, which – based on everything I’ve learned in life – meant it was built to last. While putting it together, there were parts I had never seen before. There was this stainless steel perforated grate thing that went under the grill thing and made the whole barbecue look like some type of industrial cooking device. Oh, I like.

Summer barbecue

I almost texted my dad pictures to make him jealous, but then I remembered he would probably just hand the phone to my mom and ask what I sent him because he misplaced his glasses. That wouldn’t have been as fun. The duel fuel enabled flames were made to come out underneath this stainless steel shroud to make for evenly distributed heat. I mean, it was built so well I felt super-bad for little squirty. Now, her (or she?) was relegated to tormenting the neighbor’s cat when I found it trying to go number two in my planter.

Up-close grill

Not a flame, but just as fun to squirt.

Food by the grill

Since we live in California, there’s no real shortage of pollo/carne asada. My old grill had its highest temperature coming from the rear of the grill. If I got any of this thinly sliced meat too close to the back, dinner went from pollo asada to extremely black pollo-way-too-asada. This new design made it so there are not only no more flare ups, but also evenly-distributed heat. After giving it its first run on the chicken, it was all too easy. Easy is always good, as my big shot six-year-old invited over the neighbor kids. Looking forward, our Memorial Weekend just got a little more fun.

Grilling onions on an actual grill without a bunch of mess

Since I had picked up so much to cook, I was worried for a moment about how much propane I had left. As soon as I hooked up the tank and turned on the valve, I could see that the new Char-Broil came with a fuel tank gauge. I had plenty. Enough actually to make the boys quesadillas and grilled onions on the cast iron side burner opposite the stainless steel side shelf which held all the extra fixings. Even the side burner turned on at the touch of a button. Chelsea was pretty giddy about that addition.

Summer is the season of grilling

I guess the boys are just going to have to miss out on playing mini firefighter while I cook our dinners this summer. That just means they can spend more time playing with their friends while I make quick and easy work of anything I can throw on the grill. Next up…fish. Or pork chops. Or ribs.

What are you grilling this summer?

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