A story of love, betrayal, and burnt sausages
A few months ago, when Max was safely out of the country, I did something so shocking that it’s turned our 10-year relationship on its axis.
I pensioned off our flame-throwing, four-burner, char-beast from hell and bought a WeberQ (with built-in thermometer and a higher lid to allow for the baking of large roasts).
The time had come. While it had been nice to sit back and watch Max reducing scotch fillets to crusts of carbon, I always dreamed of a better way.
You see, barbecuing is a bit like high cholesterol. It’s in my blood.
My Dad was the only man I’ve ever known to actually design a home extension around his barbecue.
Yes, Donnie built a room inside the house to the specifications of his four-burner Jackaroo, proving that with a large extraction fan and a patient wife, anything is possible.
We had decades of fun watching Dad around his hotplate, tongs in one hand and Riesling and soda in the other – bantering for hours until that final fried egg on toast heralded the end of another chop-filled summer’s evening.
So I suppose it was inevitable that I’d one day want a barbie to call my own; to recapture a little of that gas-bottle gaiety of my youth.
The moment came when I saw the WeberQ in a crowded BBQ showroom catalogue: taupe lid; dinky curved design; slim-line stationary cart.
True, you need to sell a kidney to afford WeberQ accessories. (And don’t tell Max, but I actually bought mine without realising it came with griddle plate only, and Dad’s fried eggs just don’t seem the same without a hotplate.)
But my, she does look fine on the veranda. And give or take the odd “Hmmm-Lainie-this-isn’t-exactly-what-I’d-call-medium-rare” steak, she cooks like a dream too.
As a BBQ, I think she’s perfect.
Except for one tiny problem: Max won’t touch her.
With his second-hand scorching machine gathering dust amid other piles of crap in the shed, he refuses to don an apron or raise a tong.
Desperate to lure him back to the flame, I emailed him at work to ask what was so wrong with the Weber. Here was his reply:
#1: It has no flame. Most men are unreconstructed cave dwellers and nothing makes us happier than a fire under a sizzling haunch of animal. Your WeberQ has reduced all this to a muted blue whimper.
#2: It’s too small. Barbecues should have a proper work surface – an expanse of iron on which meats, potatoes, onions, etc. can be carefully and strategically moved. It should have generous side decks for seasoning, cooking irons and beer. It should also accommodate large groups of men who stand around holding forth on subjects of great importance. Can men gather around a WeberQ? I think not.
#3: It only has one knob. It cannot be a barbecue if it only has one knob. It should look like the flight deck of a 747.
#4: It works. Where’s the thrill of knowing you can ruin an entire event with a badly-controlled flame or a mistimed steak?
Back in the ’70s, to celebrate a special occasion, Dad rang Mum to say he’d bought her a surprise.
“I spent hours imagining all sorts of things he might have bought me,” Mum recalls. “He came home with a Big Bertha BBQ. Sure saved me a lot of cooking though.”
What a pity my new WeberQ has achieved exactly the opposite.
Clearly I’ve hit a snag.
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