"We have fire!" Michael announced with triumph after checking on our new charcoal grill ten minutes following ignition. We are fans of the hardwood charcoal, so knew our interests in grilling did not lie on the gas side of the spectrum, but we were also wary of the fact that charcoal takes effort. Our new Weber grill successfully eliminated much of this effort: with a propane ignition, you need only arrange your coals and punch a button, then give it a quick check in five or ten minutes to make sure the coals are lit.
Friends joined us for a late lunch that stretched through the afternoon, sharing buffalo shrimp, herb bread sticks, and a mix of salads that included grilled mushrooms and chicken tossed with pesto.
"You're breaking in the barbecue with shrimp!" I told Michael as I put the first course on, knowing that shellfish would not be his choice for the best that grilled cuisine has to offer.
"Well, when Michael tells the story of how he broke in the grill, it'll be with prime rib instead of shrimp," Doug asserted. But we all know the truth - and today was all about the shrimp, chicken, and mushrooms - although I think Michael would happily forgo prime rib to eat grilled mushrooms.
Still, he couldn't resist throwing on a couple of burgers after we sat down to eat. "Are you sure this is enough?" he asked while eyeing the beautifully charred chicken thighs I was slicing.
Well, Michael did have his burger, but he was the only one - and there was still some chicken left over, so I can safely say there was enough. For now. On the menu for tomorrow night: buffalo chicken burgers! The grilling, it has just begun.