Well, with the Fourth of July on a Wednesday, I decided to just take off Monday and Tuesday too. As a per-hour contractor, I can still do a few hours here and there from home Monday or Tuesday to help pay the bills, but I'm now on a last-minute, unplanned, five-day weekend. Maybe we can get some barbecue and some canoeing in? I hope so...
Last night, after a singularly disappointing visit to a new restaurant we had heard about, we stopped in at Lowe's and I bought some much needed grill maintenance stuff: a can of high-temperature enamel grill paint; some concrete "stepping stones" to build out a fire-proof section on the deck; a grill cover for the Santa Fe (the old one finally wore out); some S-hooks; and another flame-resistant grill pad (one of those little rug-like things you put under a grill to keep the grease and embers falling on your deck).
First order of business was the Santa Fe. It had been getting a little rusty, but a few minutes with sandpaper and the can of grill paint cleaned that up smartly. Here's a before-and-after:
Well... those pictures aren't totally honest. The "before" was shot on a hotter day with my cell phone camera. The "after" was shot with my actual camera. But you get the idea. A little sandpaper and some spray paint make a ton of difference.
Turns out my brother-in-law is interested in my Santa Fe, so I guess the offer of a free charcoal grill is over. But since he has no concrete plans (or at least none that I've heard) to actually claim it; I intend to get some more use out of it until he actually takes it away. So hurry up, bro., if you don't want me to waer it out before you ever see it!
I also cleaned up my Bar-B-Chef a little. It's stainless, so it doesn't require a ton of maintenance, but the hand-crank and the charcoal bed are moving parts. They soaked up a bit of oil today. I also finally removed the vanity cover from the cart, and I can't help but think it's a huge improvement:
I now have a functional shelf under my grill! I'm still thinking of taking the grill off the cart and remounting it backwards: that would let me put the vanity cover back on as a backstop to the shelf. But that grill's heavy, and will require some man-handling.
I also noticed a lot of the grills I see in stores now have S-hooks on towel racks to hang tools. I think that's a brilliant idea. Towel racks on grills are great, but hooks are a bona-fide necessity. I installed the hooks on my Santa Fe (I scavenged the hooks from my gas grill), but my Bar-B-Chef had a few already from the store:
But those hooks are tiny, and too close together. So last night I bought a couple S-Hooks, and they seem to be the barber. Except, of course, I bought them too small. So I'll get some larger ones next go 'round. This one hook took me far too long to coerce over the towel rack:
Still, it's a brilliant idea and a huge improvement.
I also wanted to share thes photos: these are the venturi tubes I melted off my late gas grill. I know I've said several times that I melted them right off the grill, but I think these photos might make that claim more real:
That's the same venturi in both pics. I only ever found one of them, and if you look closely, you can see where there is still a seam from the casting... I can't find a picture of the bottom of the gas grill, but the hoses actually melted from the grill body, and there was a one- or two-inch gap where each venturi had been.
I now treat chicken leg quarters with more respect.