Sunday, October 16, 2011

Al's Picnic Ride 10-15-11

This picture was stolen from Dr. Keith. I'm glad he's a doctor
and not a lawyer who might sue me for a copyright violation.
I reached the highwater mark of my working life back in high school, when I flipped grilled meat at the Big-T Burger in Clarksville, Virginia. The restaurant is long gone. Sadly, it has been converted into a laundromat, and the big boys, McDonald's and Hardees, have shuffled in to take its place. That's a shame, but even the Golden Arches can't rob me of my golden memories. Because when this boy met grill, the magic happened. It's true what they say -- a short order cook has such a supple wrist, and in my own deep-fried coming-of-age epiphany, I realized that we were selling the sizzle, not the steak.

Once a year or so, I get to relive those glory days, when Fearless Leader Al or ROMA RBA Matt Settle turns me loose on a gas-fired altar and lets me lord it over the open flames, flipping burgers for my riding buddies. I am transformed: Grill.Effin.Master.

Saturday was a glorious day. Thirty-five randonneurs under a deep blue sky, puffy clouds, perfect temps -- but enough about the bike ride already. The main attraction was a propane gas grill about the length of a 1967 Buick, with a glorious side burner for baked beans. I had my way with 8 boxes of Bubba Burgers (slogan: "You'll never bite a burger better than a Bubba!"), each one a 1/3-lb slab of juicy, 100% USDA choice chuck. The flames leaped three feet high, curled the hair off my arm, each time hot grease hit the flames. I roasted the red right out of a dozen red hots. I had Boca veggie burgers begging for mercy. I showed none.

Now, I'm not saying these were the greatest burgers I've ever flipped, but I did see a couple patrons swoon, although that may have been caused by a slight propane leak.

Thanks to all for a great day on the grill. Thanks to Al for hosting. Let's do it again next year.


Cap'n said...

It is great to read some prose from the master. I just wish that I could have been there to sink my teeth into one of those patties o joy.

skiffrun said...

Since I know that Mike (and Andy) were "counting" on me to provide the picnic stats ... ;-) .