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In my opinion


If you can’t stand the heat, turn off the propane

By Tracy Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

My girlfriend is caramelizing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt. Although, it’s killing me, because once again I’m left wondering why it is that I just don’t try to learn how to grill.

It looks kinda fun. And easy – she’s just standing there, flipping ribs, sipping wine. It really doesn’t look that complicated. And she cheated anyway, she cooked the ribs in the oven first, and now she’s rubbed something on them and is just turning them over and over again on the grill.

I think I can do that. Especially if grilling is baking, and caramelizing is drinking. It’s in the bag. I start asking about her marinades, oven temp and cooking times. But the tall blonde in the rocking chair butts in:

“You don’t need to worry about ribs, you just need to be working on hamburgers and chicken.”

Oh, really? Who died and made you Barbecue Barbie? Just for that, I’m going start with kabobs.

Turns out a chicken kabob has more than two sides. I’d like to think that it’s four, but I’m thinking it’s more like four and a quarter. I’ve cut into it so many times to see if it’s done, it’s more like a chicken salad kabob – but I think it’s cooked.

I could have closed the lid and cooked it faster, but isn’t the whole point of grilling showing off for the neighbors? You gotta stand out there and pose next to your grub.

Plus, you have to do it as slow as possible so you don’t have to do anything else. You run the grill, you get to chill:

“Could someone set the table? I can’t leave the grill. And can somebody bring me a plate and a fork? And water all these plants. And somebody get together a salad – slice some cucumber and tomato. And just reach into that cooler for me, will ya?”

I seem to be starting some sort of fire, and the smoke is really getting heavy. I wish my next door neighbors hadn’t opened the French doors that open into their living room. Although, they have three kids and this would be a great opportunity for a pretty realistic fire drill.

“Could someone bring me some barbeque sauce, a knife, and the garden hose? And just reach into that cooler for me, will ya?”

With the fire out, and chunks of chicken everywhere, I decide to dismantle the kabob and go another way.

I lay out all the veggies on the grill, and start a little slice and dice. I’m Kabuto. I cut off a small piece of onion and flick it off my spatula into the basketball goal.

And then put all the pieces of chicken into the bowl and mix in the sauce. Barbecue chicken salad with a side of grilled veggies.

I think I’m gonna like caramelizing better.
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