Grilling, barbecuing and cookin’ out back



If you hear the term Green Egg, and you think of Easter, then I am sorry to inform you that you are out of the loop.

I learned last week that my local hardware store here in Roswell, cleverly named Roswell Hardware, is the world’s largest seller of Green Eggs. A full quarter of their store is dedicated to Green Eggs and Green Egg accessories. You can always tell the first-timers there. They are the ones spending way too much time wandering the isles trying to reason with themselves as to why they don’t really need the pizza oven converter kit.

If you really don’t know, a Green Egg is the brand name of a popular charcoal grill. It is special because it is built more like a kiln than a typical grill or smoker. It has a thick ceramic body that works to maintain your desired temperatures, and has the ability to get to very high temperatures. If you are into grilling or barbecuing, this can be a very important feature.

And I am proud to say, I am into grilling and barbecuing.

My passion started about 12 years ago on the 4th of July. The Fourth is one of my favorite holidays. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s all-inclusive (if you live in the United States), it’s all about celebrating and it includes grilling and barbecuing. It’s the perfect holiday to celebrate with your neighbors.

In my neighborhood, some deep thinkers came up with the idea to have the big celebration on the 3rd. The thinking was that we wanted to feel…more fresh on the 5th when we went back to work. This actually had the effect of stringing a one-day holiday into a two-day holiday. Which, of course, was perfectly fine with me.

The first time I got serious about cooking meat was on the Fourth about 12 years ago. I did a pork shoulder. It came out a little dry, but I learned the first trick of barbecuing: when dry, add sauce. Even though it didn’t come out great, I enjoyed the process: putting the rub on the night before, getting up early to start the smoker, and wafting the smell of cooking pork across a town that was still eating breakfast.

I since got better at the pork, but my meat of choice for the Fourth these days is brisket. This cut of beef, when cooked right, is one of the most respected cuts in the barbecue world. Like most cuts, it’s all about the temperature. But unlike most cuts, it has a very small window for success. About 10 degrees to be exact. This cut is marbled throughout with a certain kind of fat that if not cooked hot enough, it won’t melt, or render, and the meat will be chewy. If cooked too hot, it will leave the meat and it will be too dry. But if cooked just right, the fat will render in place and bath the entire thing in buttery deliciousness.

I have a small group of friends where our families get together and each friend brings a different meat cooked on their Egg. Each of us has our specialty. I’m known for my brisket. Brad does an amazing pork tenderloin.

And Dave is a great sides guy – although he won’t fully admit it. About a year ago, Brad got the Flame Boss for his Egg. If you don’t know about this, it allows you to control the temperature of your grill from your phone, making things like your son’s soccer game more enjoyable when you have a brisket on the grill back home.

We made fun of him for it, until Brenda got me one for this Father’s Day. Now I’m a big fan. This was the first year I didn’t have to keep waking up to check the temperature. I slept like a baby.

If you are wondering why this article about barbecue is on the business pages, it’s because 75 percent of all adult Americans own a grill. And 37 percent of adult Americans plan to buy a grill this year, according to an article published in the L.A. Times. It’s big business. Just ask the guys at Roswell Hardware — or the neighbors who ate my brisket.

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