When it all goes south


Jason in CA

TVWBB All-Star
Having a get together around the BBQ is one of the best things in my opinion. Grilling and good company doesn't get much better. But sometimes things don't go the way we planed. Sometimes the weather decides its just not going to cooperate, a failure of cooking equipment, in the distractions of a lot going on something gets forgotten on a grill. I've had all those things happen to me. One was my wedding. We didn't have it catered, and one gas grill that was brought in had a propane line fail. The other gas grill on site wasn't ours and just wouldn't work. There was however a Ranch Kettle that was there and we brought lots of coal, so that ended up being the work horse that cooked everything that day. At least a couple times from juggling too many things at once I have forgotten about something on the grill only to find food that looked like charcoal when I got back to it.

Sometimes the best story's come from when it all goes haywire. I was wondering if you would be willing to share one of those with us.
Before I started working with Weber, I was a chef at a winery. My main job was cooking for people in the wine business. I prepared meals for retailers and distributors visiting Napa Valley. It was great for a while, but then my bosses had me cooking for huge groups of people at weddings and big corporate events. I had a tiny kitchen and almost no staff, so at times it felt like trying to put out a fire with water pistol. So I rented some giant rolling braziers and grilled in the vineyards, literally. One night in the middle of summer, when conditions were really dry, I was grilling fatty lamb chops over lump charcoal for about fifty people. The grills were flaring up big time and the wind was blowing sparks around. You can probably guess what happened. A couple of the grapevines caught on fire. I nearly burned down the vineyard! Good thing I had more than a water pistol nearby. I put out the vineyard fire and managed to get dinner on the table – all with the woodsy aromas of grapevines in the air.
When the wife and I got our house my father-in-law gave us his gas grill. I didn't know much about anything back then, but thought I knew it all. Anyhow I tried to light the grill for the first time and didn't open the lid. You got it, with a woosh my eyebrows were gone and the lid was in the front yard. Lesson learned.
Whoa! That must have been quite a woosh. I'm glad you are here to tell the story. You might have saved a newbie from making the same mistake.
Thanks for taking the time to answer all of our questions. Not only did you avert what could have been a disaster, but still stayed in (and won) the game. The woodsy aroma was for ambience.

On another note, I've already been that newbie. :(
We were all newbies one day, Jason. Myself included. Here is how I started Weber's Ultimate Grilling:

I’ll admit it. In my youth, I approached grilling the same way an unskilled, super-psyched teenager picks up a shiny electric guitar for the first time. Forget lessons! I’ll just fire up the grill, throw some meat on it, and know intuitively how to manage whatever happens next.