Yesterday, I broke down and did it. I bought a gas grill. I feel a little like a traitor, but I’ll get over it. I, after all, unlike most of the rest of you, know the difference between grilling and proper barbecue. I have a proper charcoal/wood fired smoker. And you’ll never hear me refer to the food that comes off the grill as “barbecue.”
What I’m trying to say is that I’m morally superior to you and, maybe, more of a man.
But not so manly that, when the weather turns nice, will get home on a week night open a bag of charcoal, wait fifteen minutes to half an hour for that to get going properly — BECAUSE WE DO NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID, PEOPLE! — and then cook, and then clean it all up.
So I wanted a gas grill. Nothing too big, just something to grill up some burgers or sausage or chicken. But nothing so small I’d have to put it on a table or squat over it like a chimp digging up grubs. I did a little online research and came home from Lowe’s with a Master Forge 2-Burner Gas Grill (and a grill cover, seven bags of topsoil, two 10-pound bags of grass seed, two different types of cultivating tools and some 42-gallon contractor garbage bags. Because that’s how a trip to Lowe’s goes.)
I haven’t even cooked with the the thing yet and I’m willing to give it a five-star rating. Why? The assembly instructions. There should be awards for this genre and Master Forge should win all of them.
The instructions were written in clear, concise English. Note: They were written. Not a series of drawings of vague humanoid shapes riding arrows around squares and circles. This is doubly amazing considering this is a Lowe’s store brand completely manufactured in China.
The screws came in a little bubble wrap thing, each in their separate pocket and each pocket labeled on the front and back.
The parts were all labeled with stickers (that were still stuck on). And a couple of the parts even had arrows stamped into the metal so that you were sure to put them on the right way and avoid the Ikea Moment (defined as putting your completed piece of furniture against the wall only to notice that the particle-board side of one shelf is staring out at you from the front of the unit).
There were the proper number of holes for the proper number of screws and they all lined up. When the instructions say all I needed was a phillips-head screw driver, that’s all I needed. I didn’t need to grab a hammer, a crow bar and a couple of friends. (As much as I love my smoker, there were a couple of times where we basically had to beat it into submission to get things to line up properly.)
I only had two problems with this thing. The first was at Lowe’s, where I discovered the box was too big to fit into the car. So I just took it all out of the box and tossed the packing at Lowe’s.
The second problem concerned me a little more. After set-up, you are supposed to set the thing on high for 15 minutes and let it cook out all the gack that might be built up in there. So I turned the thing on and went about tearing up all the dirt in the yard for grass planting. But I noticed the temperature wasn’t getting above 350. Maybe the thermometer was broken. So I retrieved my digital thermometer. Nope. 350.
Crap in a bucket. I was going to have to do an online search or something. But first I looked at the instructions one last time. Under troubleshooting, among the two or three troubles to be shot, was “low heat.” Turns out if you turn it on too fast or some such, there’s a safety valve that kicks in and keeps the flames low. Turn off the unit, shut down the cylinder, and turn it all back on slowly and in the right order and … voila. Hot, hot fire!