Grill Man

We’ve all met know-it-all’s before. But there’s a very special kind of know-it-all that you meet only at barbecues: the Grill Man.

So this past weekend, at Gunther’s Fourth of July barbecue, I had the privilege of meeting Chuck, Gunther’s Grill Man.

The first thing a Grill Man will tell you is that gas is for pussies. Grill Men only use charcoal, presumably because it’s a lot harder to ignite. That means Grill Men get to use a lot of lighter fluid. Not like in a Simpsons episode where you cut away to a super-wide shot and see a mushroom cloud, but still, it’s a lot of fire.

Upon meeting Chuck, I was presented with two choices, antagonize him, or play along. I chose not to argue with Chuck, because even though he might not know as much as he thinks, he still knows more than me. What I found is that a Grill Man likes nothing more than to educate you. So I played dumb.

“Wow, cool grill. Did you get this at Sears?”

The Grill Man looks at me contemptuously. “This is a Weber blah blah blah, the blah blah blah best grill ever made.” [I’m sorry if I don’t remember the details.]

“I heard gas grills are better.”

Ten minutes later when he’s done explaining why I’m wrong, I ask, “So let me ask you, Chuck. You seem to know a lot about grilling. What’s the best way to grill a steak?” His eyes lit up.

Ten minutes later, I asked, “Can you cook vegetables on a grill?”

At this point, Chloe caught on that I was just asking dumb questions so he could talk endlessly. And it’s not like I was making fun of him. I was just letting him do what he enjoyed doing, talking about stuff he knows.

Some of my other questions:

  • “I bet chicken is tricky, though. How do you keep it moist?”
  • “Do you use those cedar chip things?”
  • “Is this safe to use indoors?”
  • “What’s the best cut of beef?”
  • “How hot can this grill get anyway?”
  • “Do you have any opinions about the best knives?”

Chloe got bored early on and left to talk to some other people. But something about talking to the Grill Man was weird. After a while, I almost liked hearing the sound of his voice. Maybe it was the Stockholm Syndrome, but I was falling in love with the Grill Man.

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2 thoughts on “Grill Man”

  1. Sometimes when I hear people talk about something they feel extremely passionate about, it puts me in a state of light-headed euphoria… in those moments, my brain is wiped clean and the only thing I need in the world to be happy is to hear them keep talking. Was this what happened to you?

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