Fish on!! The grill…

done salmon

People who claim they don’t like fish have NEVER had GOOD fish. This blog will tell you how to make GOOD fish!

A lot of folks are scared to grill fish the way it was meant to be grilled, which means….on the grill. I’ve never seen anyone seal up rib steaks in foil, and then put them on the grill. I think even the best USDA Prime rib steak done this way, would pale in comparison to an average steak when grilled in the normal way. So why do it with fish? Fish takes a little more skill to grill than your average steak and that’s why folks are afraid of doing it the right way, which is directly on the grill.

grill salmon In actual fact, there’s no reason why most fish can’t be put directly on that grill, just like everything else. Aluminum foil is really popular and so are planks, but I’ve never cooked fish on a shingle and see no reason to do so when I know how to cook it directly on the grill. Foil and shingles are popular because folks think the fish will flake apart and fall through the grill onto the coals or burners below. While you might lose a morsel here and there to the charcoal below, there’s only a few fish I’ve ever cooked that were dang near impossible to grill successfully directly on the grill. I’d much rather give up a bite or two to the “angel’s share” than wrap my fish in foil and call it “grilled”; might as well bake the thing in the oven if you wrap it up in foil. Fish grilled directly over the coals or even on a gas grill tastes so much better than the same fish sealed in foil. Hermetically sealed in foil, the fish doesn’t get any of the caramelization and flavor it normally would acquire from the fire and searing that goes on while cooking.

dorado There’s a couple of tools necessary to really do a great grilling job on fish, plus there’s a few kinds of fish that are more amenable to direct grilling than some other kinds of fish. Through experience, I’ve encountered a few species which are very difficult to near impossible to grill and some that are really easy. Plus some cuts of fish are easier than others to grill. If you really don’t want to lose any fish to the “angel’s share”, then you should invest in a fish basket. A fish basket is a flat two sided basket made from closely-spaced wire mesh into which you can put your fish, latch the basket closed and then put it on the grill. When it comes time to turn the fish, all you have to do is to flip the basket over. Fish, when properly done in a fish basket comes out great!

When I cook fish, I put it right on the grill. Fish needs a coating of oil to avoid sticking to the grill, which is why Miners Mix Salmon Marinade is such a great seasoning for fish! Blend the packet with soy sauce, vinegar and olive oil and soak your fish for about 15-20 min only, then grill. The marinade works wonderfully with ALL fish, we get eye-rolls and an OMG! with lowly tilapia, for example. At home we do quite a bit of salmon and buy filets with skin on one side at the local shopping warehouse. I used to fish long-range boats off Baja, CA and I’m really picky about my fish. Those big warehouses are best because they have a very high turnover so your fish is FRESH! If your fish smells fishy, or worse tastes fishy, then it’s not fresh! I stay away from grocery stores that put the same ol’ filets out there day after day on ice for a week or more, or worse yet, wrap that filet with stretch wrap in a Styrofoam container and set it next to the beef.

 After marinating, place the fish on the grill skin side down if using salmon filets. With catfish, tilapia, or many other fish, there usually is no skin. If cooking fish steaks, then just leave the skin on to hold the meat together. If directly on the grill, sans fish basket, place the filet perpendicular to, or across the grill wires, not parallel to the wires. This is an important consideration when it comes time to flip the fish. Let the fish grill for four to five minutes or even a little longer if the fire is not real hot. Time to flip the fish! I have a big, wide spatula with the blade about 10” wide. fish spatIf you don’t have a big wide fish spatula, use two regular spatulas. You need to support the filet over most of its length. It’s important for the spatulas to have flat, not rounded or beveled blades. Cooked fish is fragile; if the blade is rounded, when you angle the spatula to slip it under the fish, there will be a gap at the blade left and right that will tend to tear up and fragment the filet. With a quick sharp motion, slip the spatula, or if using both hands and two spatulas, under the filet and then angle the blades up to near vertical and then with a gentle motion, roll the fish over onto the other side. You might lose a bite or so of the fish but that’s the “angel’s share” anyway. Once flipped, if it’s done enough, you should be able to effortlessly peel the skin cleanly off the filet. I use tongs or sometimes the spatula to get a piece of skin up so I can then pull it with my fingers. skinAfter the skin is off, drizzle more marinade onto the fresh surface.

 Tuna or ahi, albacore, and other tunas tend to hold together fairly well and will stand up to rougher treatment. In texture, tuna is more like a steak than a fish. Easiest of all are tuna steaks or any other fish steak for that matter. The skin holds them together in a nice meat package really well, but you still want to use the spatula-roll technique when flipping them over. Rock fish and red snapper filets are intermediate. They’re quite a bit more flaky and tend to fall apart easier than salmon, and might be better candidates for that fish grilling basket. Whole fish such as trout, grill easily and the skin will peel off just like with salmon filets, if you want skinless trout. About the only fish that’s ever defeated me is Dover sole. This stuff just falls apart if you look at it wrong. A definite grill basket candidate for sure!

Fish is done when it feels done. It will be flaky and separate easily. It cooks quickly, so don’t go far away when you’re grilling fish. Dover sole, being incredibly flaky, remains soft and mushy even when cooked completely through. Fish is considered “cooked” when it’s in the range of 120 to 145F, according to online sources. However, since folks eat it raw, I guess it could be considered “cooked” as soon as it comes out of the water. In general, fish will be a little less soft when done and with filets, the thinner sections will be done before the thicker sections are done. I’ve developed a sense of feeling it with the spatula to determine if it’s done. If some folks like their fish on the rare side, then things should be just about perfect for everybody.

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The Ol’ Miner’s Smoker

smoker a smokin

The Ol’ Miner himself sent this picture to us (his trusty IT staff) for another Miner’s Mix enterprise (hint: keep an eye out for “Sierra Smoke”).  This is the Ol’ Miners Pit Smoker.  It’s got some pretty special modifications designed by the Ol’ Miner himself.  Here’s the photo, and below an excerpt from one of his past blogs as it relates to the smoker:

“One may not notice at first glance, but the chimney is on the same end of the cook chamber as the firebox. How does that work? My special little cooking gem is a reverse-flow pit smoker. It started life as a conventional offset pit smoker with all heat gradient problems (that implies). I had it modified by welding a false-bottom plate under the cooking grid. The plate seals the fire box from the cook chamber and extends all the way to the opposite end where it stops short a few inches. The heat and smoke travel under the steel plate and up into the cook chamber at the far end, then back over the meats and out the chimney just above the firebox. This design doesn’t completely eliminate the hotter area close to the firebox, but it’s only 25-50° F or so hotter at firebox end than at the other end. With some additional modifications, I could probably reduce this gradient further, but it would take a lot more work. Also, I have a 1” steel pipe mounted in the very center of the cook chamber, protruding out the very bottom of the smoker. The pipe opens at the false bottom plate where it is flush welded. This nifty innovation allows grease dripping from the meat to drain into a bucket under the smoker, or the occasional high pressure wash water to drain out of the smoker. One final modification is a small water tank I had mounted inside the top portion of the fire box. The tank is welded to a pipe that penetrates into the cook chamber, all the way to the far end where it opens. There is a pipe nipple from the tank that extends outside the firebox from which I can fill the water tank to facilitate steam being injected into the cook chamber. Ribs and other meats stay nice and moist with this system.”

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Miners Mix Ranch-Marinated Chicken Thighs

Chicken

This recipe makes chicken that’s far better than anyone would think based on the ingredients!

Blend a 2:1 ratio of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing with Miners Mix Kit’s K.C. BBQ Rub. I usually use 1 cup dressing to ½ cup BBQ Rub for 6 thighs with skin left on.

Marinate for several hours to overnight in the refrigerator, and then grill over medium heat coals as you normally would grill chicken. Be sure to cook thoroughly. There is no need to baste the chicken pieces while cooking, but excess marinade can be drizzled on while cooking if desired. This marinade is great with breast meat and boneless thighs, but doesn’t work as well using whole chickens, wings, or legs probably due to the amount of skin covering most of the meat on these parts. If skin were removed, the marinade probably would work great on all chicken parts.

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Miners Mix Pulled Pork – Yum!

Pulled Pork

The Day Before: Rub pork butt liberally with Miners Mix Maynards Memphis Rub. Apply rub heavily! Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The Next Day: Prepare grill/smoker for indirect cooking and control heat to maintain temperature between 220 to 250 degrees. Add smoking wood and place rubbed pork butt on grill, over a pan to catch juice and grease. Smoke for at least 6 hours, longer if desired. Remove from grill and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Place wrapped pork in baking dish (it will produce lots of tasty juice!) and bake at 300 for another 2-3 hours until the pork is tender and shreds easily.

Save juice and refrigerate to remove grease. Save congealed grease and juice separately in freezer. Use grease in place of butter or margarine in any recipe where you might desire a nice smokey flavor (think Stove Top Stuffing, or boxed au gratin potatoes). Use juice to cook rice or use in any recipe that calls for water in which you may want a nice smokey, meaty flavor (like Stove Top Stuffing).

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Miner’s Mix Garlic Shrimp

While the Ol’ Miner is working on his next bit of wisdom, we thought we’d share a simple recipe with you.  Take a look, and try it the next time you grill!

Shrimp%20w%20XXX%20garlic%203

Miners Mix Garlic Shrimp

To about 1 lb of thawed, raw peeled shrimp, add 1-2 tablespoons of Miners Mix XXX-Garlic Seasoning and Rub along with ¼ cup of olive oil and mix well so the shrimp are evenly coated with oil and seasoning rub. Let marinate for an hour or more and then stir fry in a grill basket over medium heat charcoal until the shrimp are cooked through. Shrimp cook quickly so don’t overcook.

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Rusted Truck Ranch

Nothing in this post to do with cooking or BBQ’n. Sorry! We’ll be back on topic later in the week. I thought I’d fill everybody in on a little of the happenings at the Rusted Truck Ranch, out in the backwoods of the great state of California, up in the hills and far away. Here, we’re beginning to raise livestock for fun, food, and perhaps, profit. The kids have been in 4-H for many years now, and we have four goats, a couple of cattle, lots of chickens (show, laying meat and dual purpose), a pair of geese, maybe 20 or so heritage turkeys, along with five cats and a bunch of tropical fish.

For the non-initiated, heritage turkeys are more closely aligned with the wild variety than they are with the white ButterBall type that ends up on everyone’s table each fall. Broad-breasted turkeys AKA ButterBall are a man-made variety that would not survive without (lots of) our help. Commercial turkeys are all artificially inseminated because the toms have such large beer-gut-breasts that they can no longer do the normal bird thing in the normal bird way. Heritage birds grow more slowly, and have longer legs, more robust bone structure, and a less meaty breast than the broad-breasted variety; plus they live longer.

Royal Palm hensBlue Boy

There are lots and lots of heritage breeds of farm animals; hogs, sheep, goats, cattle, chickens, geese, turkeys. There are even lots of heritage fruit varieties. Many heritage varieties are very rare and in danger of disappearing forever, which is very unfortunate because these animals and plants serve as genetic storehouses for improvement of current breeds/varieties. Many heritage breeds have better meat characteristics than the commercial breeds, but for one reason or another, they’re not as commercially-viable today as their mass-market counterparts.

Anyway, we’re doing our part to preserve what we can and we’ve begun to raise heritage turkeys here on the ranch. We have some breeding stock that we’re using to build up our flocks so we can begin to sell birds on some of the slow foods websites. I have no idea if we’ll ever sell these turkeys and make a profit, given that they take a lot longer to mature to market weight than the modern broad-breasted variety. That makes heritage turkeys very expensive, however, the heritage birds are pretty cool to look at as they stroll around our lawn. The toms do little else except strut around and gobble, but they are pretty. Unlike broad-breasted turkeys, heritage birds are alert and intelligent. They have many of the same qualities that made ol’ Ben Franklin himself an advocate for wild turkeys to become our national bird. If the turkey had become our national bird, then along with Australia, we’d be one of only two nations that allows hunting and killing of our national symbol!

Sometimes things get a little screwy here. Our pair of geese have laid a two clutches of eggs every summer for several years now. They’ve never hatched anything; we’ve allowed Belle to incubate them and we’ve incubated other clutches ourselves, but the eggs never develop. For some reason our geese appear to be sterile. The geese and many of the turkeys range together and share nest boxes. One of our hen turkeys happened to be broody and thought it a good idea to incubate the goose eggs, an idea of which the geese did not approve. In short they beat the crap out of the turkey and removed half of the feathers on her back.

Geese

I had to move her to a safe place, so we fired up the big brooder we have and put her in there to heal and brood. At that moment, having no turkey or goose eggs, I gave her the next best thing, some bantam chicken eggs. These eggs are smaller than golf balls, and the hen turkey weighs close to 15 lbs, so there’s quite a size difference. Anyway, a few days ago, our turkey became a mom! She hatched out one chick and here’s a picture of the happy mother and child.

Mom Turkey and Bantam

It’s going to be really entertaining to watch the chick grow. These bantams don’t get a lot bigger than pigeons and the turkey stands maybe 18” high at the head.

The fun isn’t over! Our goose has just decided to brood her eggs now, but we already have a good idea that her eggs are not viable. So……Sneaky me, she’s now sitting on turkey eggs! We have three turkey hens sitting on turkey eggs, one turkey hen with a bantam chick baby, two turkey hens doing nothing except eating, and a goose sitting on turkey eggs and a few goose eggs! Oh Boy!

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Other Cookers I’ve Owned

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the Kamado style grills I own and a little later I spoke about my offset pit smoker. I have several more cookers sitting around that don’t get a lot of use anymore. Most of them are nothing special, just your average plain-Jane charcoal grills. However, I’ll tell you what I think of their quality and durability. Believe it or not, I also have a propane gas grill and I’ll let you in on a couple of secrets that’ll enable your average ol’ gas grill to cook like a world smokin’ champ!

Resting in the Miners Mix World Domination Warehouse, we have a couple of charcoal grills, a Masterbuilt Pro and a Chargriller Professional. The Masterbuilt Pro is a Weber knock off of dubious quality. It looks like your typical 18” diameter Weber, more or less spherical and black. I bought it because it was inexpensive compared to a real Weber and it was lightweight which makes it nicely portable. Basically, the thing is a throw-away. It’s attached to four chrome legs, two of which have wheels so the grill can be rolled around. There’s a pretty much useless wire shelf right near the bottom of the grill. I guess it’s supposed to be for holding charcoal, but it seems to me that having your stash of flammables sitting under the grill, where hot stuff might just fall down and ignite the entire lot, including your icky lighter fluid, is not such a great idea.

I use the Masterbuilt Pro at the warehouse to cook lunches sometimes. We also take it out to play when we need to grill minor stuff at demos. The grill grate has begun to sag downward from the heat of the charcoal fires I’ve burned in it. The plastic handle on the top lid is broken. The whole thing feels cheap, but it does what I need it to do, which is hold burning briquettes and support a cooking grate for grilling. If this thing were used as my main grill, which means pretty much daily use, it would be a one-season wonder and ready for the recycling bin by Christmas, regardless of when it was first pressed into service. No point in spending a whole bunch of money on something that I expected to get dented or worse. Maybe it’ll make an OK planter soon.

The other grill at the World Domination Headquarters is the Chargriller Professional. This one looks kind of like a mini pit smoker except it lacks the firebox hanging off the end. The entire top portion is hinged and opens to reveal a 30” X 21” cooking surface, so it’s pretty large as grills go. On one end, the grill has a panel that you can knock out and it’s predrilled to accept a firebox kit that the company sells to make it into a little offset pit smoker. Mine does not have this option. There are closeable dampers on the end, down where the charcoal does its thing. The cooking grates are cast iron and the coals can be raised or lowered to control heat, both of which are nice touches. The entire grill sits on a stand of square tubing with a couple of wheels at one end for portability. The handles are wooden and the grill has wooden shelves along the front and both ends as well. Although still cheaply-constructed, this grill is made of fairly thick sheet metal and should last for quite a long time if kept out of the weather. If converted to an offset pit smoker, you’d experience the problems with heat distribution in the cook chamber that I discussed in the Offset Pit Smoker discussion. This grill is quite a bit heavier than the Masterbuilt. It requires two of us to get it up into the back of the truck, but for doing long demos, it’s pretty nice. It’s large enough to start the coals on one end, cook for while and then light the other pile of coals at the other end. By the time the one side is pretty much out of fuel, the other side is ready for grilling. The grill is large enough so that it can be set up to cook with indirect heat, which means you light the coals on one end and cook your meat at the other. That way, there are no lit coals right under the meat, which is the best way to roast larger pieces of meat such as whole chickens, ribs, or pork butts. In essence, you can actually make this grill into an offset pit smoker, without buying the firebox kit, just by cooking indirectly.

In general this grill works pretty well. It’s a nice basic charcoal grill that’s large enough to cook lots of stuff and it seems like it’ll last for at least a few years of constant use. You can close the dampers at the bottom of the charcoal chamber and also close the chimney to snuff out the charcoal so it can be used for the next cook.

Along with my Kamado and my offset pit smoker at home, I have a really old Broil-Mate propane gas grill. The grill doesn’t get much use any longer, but it cooks a few things far better than almost anything else I’ve ever used. This dinosaur is probably 25+ years old; long before all those fancy stainless steel grills became all the rage. It’s so old it still uses lava rocks that sit on a grid above the burners, and it has the cast aluminum cooking chamber. It’s nearing the end of its life; parts like burners and rock grates are almost non-existent nowadays. I may have to fabricate new burners out of iron pipe the next time I replace ‘em. It’s that old. However, this ol’ grill makes rotisserie chicken, duck, turkey, and pulled pork better than anything I’ve ever cooked on. Far better than the same stuff coming off the Kamado.

So how can a plain ol’ gas grill do such a great job? How can it impart smoke flavor? Here’s how to make your gas BBQ sing with joy as it gleefully imparts that wonderful smoke flavor to your meats! For true grilled perfection, you must have some way to cook over indirect heat which usually means at least two burners. For poultry you also really need a rotisserie. Put your meat on one side and light the burner on the other side. Use a pan of some kind under the unlit meat side to catch juices and grease; if you don’t collect it, the stuff will drip down all over the inside of your grill, then find some opening at the bottom of the grill, and then run all over your patio. Not a pretty sight and even less so when your wife sees the mess you made! Besides, that liquid stuff that just spilled is liquid gold so save all of it! If you’re doing a chicken on the rotisserie, figure on ½ to ¾ cups of drippings, for a duck count on a cup or more and with a goose figure on two cups plus. I make a foil boat to catch juices. Next thing to do is to make a foil pouch to hold your favorite smoking wood and wrap up a piece or pieces to end up with a packet about 4” diameter by 5” long or so. Up here in the mountains we have lots of almond wood which is a great wood with which to smoke just about anything. Might want to double wrap that wood packet, some aluminum foil is onion-skin thin and some is fairly heavy gage. Poke a couple of pencil-sized holes through the foil on one side and put it hole-side up over the lit burner, on top of the lava rocks, or whatever your undoubtedly fancier grill has that’s better than mine. On my grill, I start with the fire on high and it takes quite a long time, up to 40 min or more for smoke to begin coming out of the holes. Depending on how hot your grill gets, you may want to start at a lower temperature. At any rate, once the packet starts to smoke, I turn down the fire as low as it will go, start the rotisserie turning, close the lid, and let’er go. Chickens take at least 2-3 hrs, sometimes more to get to 165º F.

You’ll need to check that smoke packet every 15 min or so because if it gets too hot, the smoke will ignite and the jet of smoke will become a blow-torch jet of flame. If this happens, that beer in your hand will prove mighty useful; just try to get some of it down into those smoke holes. Once the bird is near that magical 165º F goal, remove the pack of smoke wood and turn up the heat for about 20 min or so to crisp up the skin. The wood in the smoke pack will go out and by the next day, the contents will have magically transformed into charcoal that you can then add to your charcoal grill the next time you fire up that particular cooker.

Miners Mix Poultry Rub is great on birds done this way. Sprinkle it heavily inside the bird, work your fingers around under the skin here and there and get the rub under the skin. If you have rosemary growing, a few sprigs inside the body cavity add a real nice flavor to the final result. I’ve also found that seasoning salt all by itself is a great seasoning for birds done this way. I’m not a salt-a-holic, but I sprinkle as much on as will stick, and that seems to be just about right at the end.

If you’re doing a pork butt, just rub it down with our Maynard’s Memphis Rub and put it on the grill, sans rotisserie, over the unlit side with a catch pan underneath. I try to put the fat side up because I think it bastes the meat as the grease melts off. Smoke it the same way, but it’ll take quite a bit longer. I usually smoke it for three or four hours at least, then take it off and wrap it in foil, place it in a roasting pan and finish in the oven at a low 250 º F. Be sure to use a roasting pan in the oven as well, or you’ll be living with the dog outside for the next few months. The same thing that would happen in the gas grill with chicken will happen in the oven and you’ll get a huge mess! You’ll get lots of drippings this way. Save those drippings from your pork as well!

What to do with those liquid-golden drippings? Breathe deep the heavenly smoky aroma of what’s in your container of drippings. Skim off the fat and pour it into a freezer container. It’ll be nice and orange with real smoke flavoring. The next time you make boxed au gratin potatoes or stove top stuffing, or anything else that calls for butter or margarine, substitute a gob of that smoked grease to give your side dish an unbelievably fantastic smoky flavor. The juice can be frozen as well for use in rice, gravies, sauces, or anything else that you want to enjoy smoky flavored.

One last two cents on gas grills. I’ve read some reviews on some of the stainless steel grills. There are different grades of stainless steel, some that are really stainless (and really expensive), and some that will rust out almost as quickly as regular sheet steel. From what I’ve read, there are problems with some of these grills, rusting out less than a year after purchase. Personally, I’d hate to fork over $500+ for a fancy, shiny grill and have it fall apart in a year. Do read the online reviews and make your decision based on what other people have said about the durability of the grill you’re looking at. I’m happy with my old, black, cast aluminum gas grill and I doubt that I’d even want one of those silver stainless steel grills. There’s a reason why pit smokers, the older gas grills and just about all charcoal BBQ grills are painted black. Heck all those shiny stainless grills are gonna turn all black and nasty-looking in a few months anyway, particularly if you smoke with ‘em like I just told you how to do.

The last few grills I’ve used are for the most part, just charcoal grills. Years and years ago I used to cook on a hibachi. You could find these everywhere back in the 70s and early 80s. I liked this style of cooking a great deal. These things were generally cast iron and had smallish grid surfaces that held a few briquettes above the bottom of the grill. They were fitted with brackets at the top that held the cooking grill at different levels from the fire. What made these things really cool was that there were dampers at the bottom, down below the charcoal grid, so you could control the amount of air going through the coals which means you could control the amount of heat from the fire. These things were very efficient; a few coals generated an amazing amount of heat and they cooked really well. All of the ones I used years ago were poor quality, just rough cast iron, but it would be really nice to use one today of high quality, if such a thing existed. In graduate school I used a variation of a hibachi called a Weber Go Anywhere Charcoal Grill that had the same great features. If I recall, it was about 20” X 10” or so. The coals sat on a grate that was supported off of the bottom of the grill. There were dampers along each long side that could be opened for cooking, or closed when you were finished and wanted to snuff out the coals. The grill came with a lid that was fitted with a moveable damper, so you can actually smoke a little. I remember the thing cooked really well and I liked it a great deal. After 4+ years of nearly constant use, it gave up the ghost and I gave it a decent burial; last I heard it’s now part of a Cadillac in Iowa. Weber makes a propane version of this grill, called a Go Anywhere Gas Grill that’s real easy to find and available at about all the big box stores, but if I could choose between the two, I’d opt for the charcoal version. The charcoal version is difficult to find any more, but it’s still listed on the Weber web site.

I’ve also owned a Brinkman smoker. It did OK on the stuff I cooked with it, but overall the quality was very lacking. When smoking, you need to have pretty tight tolerances to control air flow, and this thing just did not do the job very well. It also didn’t last too long; about two years if I remember correctly.

Finally, I have a home built wood-burner I cobbled together from a couple of old 5 gal propane bottles. Living up here in the hills, we have an abundance of self-pruned oak limbs laying all over the place and I wanted to make use of all this great fuel that’s freely available for the mere effort of bending over. First I made sure that the propane was all gone by leaving the valves open for many weeks. Then I wrenched off the valves and filled the tanks with water to drive out any remaining propane before cutting off the tops where they began to curve, with my cheapo 4.5” grinder. I definitely did not need a kaboom! Next, I welded the two bases together so the thing looked kind of like a 1969 Russian satellite. I don’t weld very well, but I’ve discovered that the process of welding, grinding, welding, grinding, and welding and grinding once more will solve most appearance issues quite satisfactorily. It’s only a BBQ, for heaven’s sake! Next, I laid out a door with a ruler and a Sharpie, then employed that same cheapo grinder to cut it out. The first cut was across the top. I stopped when the top was cut all the way across, then welded a piano hinge across the slice. Then I proceeded to cut the other three sides of the door so it was hinged at the top. I welded an old hammer to the door as a handle and made a cooking grid to fit inside the grill. I also welded one of the tops I’d cut off the propane tanks to the bottom of the grill, where it functions nicely as a stand. I drilled some holes into the bottom for ventilation, so the coals will stay lit, but the finished grill could use additional air via more holes. However, all in all, it’s a cool looking little grill that has seen lots and lots of use. It’s well-made, at least the propane tanks are well-made, and it should outlast me so my kids can fight over it as part of my estate sometime (a long time, I hope) down the road! Somehow, I don’t think the kids will fight over this thing though.

So that’s all the grills I own, remember, or have spent a fair bit of time standing over in the last 40 years or so. I hope you found this trip down memory lane enlightening!

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