As some of you know, my Art of Grilling post was shown on the main blog a couple weeks ago. At the time I last read it, 40 people had responded, most of them praising the chimney, and poo-pooing the use of lighter fluid. There were comments that went as far as to say I lost credibility by using lighter fluid. I figured I would make a few observations here, rather than risk a flame war in the comments section of my post.

The primary point I wanted to make was that this was Grilling 101. I wasn't going into all the ins and outs of grilling. I wanted to introduce the uninitiated to the art. Most men don't have the time to work on finesse, or even a slow-cooked bbq. Most men need something quick and easy, so I focused on the lowest common denominator. I myself am in this group of men without too much time, so I often grill exactly as I described in the blog.

A quick point on the use of the chimney. The chimney method involves a cylindrical device which one fills with briquettes. The bottom is stuffed with newspaper, and then the newspaper is lit. This often erases the need for lighter fluid. I haven't used this method since I was 7. It didn't work so well, and we really weren't a newspaper family. Newspaper was scarce. As a technologist, I don't use a lot of paper nowadays either. I am interested to know why the people who think it is stupid to "taste" lighter fluid don't seem to mind tasting newspaper ink. I for one cannot easily discern the taste of the method used to light my coals. The important thing is to get them lit.

Someone else commented on setting up a zone for slow cooking. This entails a coal-free section on the grill, so the meat can cook a little slower, and won't burn. I regularly use this method for large steaks, such as london broil. I refer again to the primary point, in that this was Grilling 101.

I was surprised at how quick people were to diss a post that was clearly not intended for them. As more experienced grillers, they should have recognized the post as a tutorial, and not a doctoral thesis. If nothing else it has given me incentive to write positive posts to the guest authors, since people are so quick to tear down. If I haven't taken the time to write a post, I don't really have a right to tear down those of someone else.

So, if you are a seasoned grill vet, or are just getting started, best wishes to you. Make grilling your own, and keep on grilling. I'll be posting more about successes and even failures over the course of the summer. Until then, happy grilling.

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Comment by Jared Padgett on June 19, 2009 at 1:11am
Gregory, that would be a sight to see. My son would have loved it. He always wants the flame to be bigger. Sometimes I indulge him, though being in southern CA I am extra careful not to start a statewide wildfire. :)
Comment by Jared Padgett on June 19, 2009 at 1:10am
Brett, no worries. I found it more amusing than anything else. Thanks for your comment though. I am glad the post was worthy enough to make it to the main site.
Comment by Native Son on June 14, 2009 at 10:58am
Jared--Some of the anti-lighter fluid folks would "would have a small herd of goats" (that's supposed to be worse than having a cow) over how one place I worked would light the pit for large group bbq. (The pit was about 10'x4' as I recall.) First, a layer of oak firewood. Second, two or three 50 lb. bags of chunk mesquite charcoal. Third, TWO QUARTS of charcoal lighter fluid. Throw a lit match onto it. It resembled a refinery fire for the first few minutes.
Comment by Brett McKay on June 12, 2009 at 10:14pm
Thanks for the follow-up Jared. I was a little disappointed in how many people were dissing your post. I've gotten used to people hurling criticism at mine, but when I have a guest post, I really feel like the person is my guest, and I'd I wish people would be more respectful to someone's guest.

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