Last night I had a mind-blowing experience. I have TiVo to thank for it. Well, TiVo, and America’s Test Kitchen.

You see, we got a TiVo back in April or so, and signed up and we love it. It’s been worth every penny. TiVo has been kind enough to grap stuff off of public TV (it does so using a smart heuristics engine) and it grabbed the afformentioned cooking show. We watch this show BECAUSE TiVo recommended it, and it was a good watch, so we keep watching it. These guys TEST stuff that you use to cook, and explore the different methods – they are GENIUSES.

So, when they threatened to grill steak on a BBQ grill, I was interested. When they used a charcoal grill, I was well pleased (for I use one myself.)

When they pulled out some silvery contraption to heat up the coals I was in awe. Such a device seems like such a brilliant invention – I can’t beleive how fricking awesome it is.

That, and they used hardwood chips instead of black briquettes.

So yesterday we went through WalMart and I saw one of those chimney things and I had to get it. We had decided we were going to get hot dogs for dinner anyway, and so we got briquettes and 88 cent dogs and went about it.

I was just giddy to use my new toy, so I loaded up my new chimney with about 3 lbs of coal and followed the directions and fired it up. It’s supposed to take about 20 minutes so I stuck around and waited to see if there would be problems – now, when you light paper and send it up through a chimney like we just did, and have the flames licking at charcoal, there’s a lot of smoke.

It was cool looking, at least 🙂

Anyway, so it looked good to go and I left it for like 5 minutes and when I came back there was no smoke. There were no hot briquettes, either. It occurs to me that I didn’t put enough paper under the briquettes so I put what was left under there, lit up an incense stick (which was doubling as my lighting medium for the day) and poked it at the papers. It took a second but when it took off it TOOK OFF.

I was giddy and let my hot new friend dance in front of me for a while. Then I went inside, washed my hands and checked up on the wife and son. When I BBQ, I usually run such a relay – check on family, check in, go run, check on the grill. Well, kids, I had run this once or twice, let my chimney have it’s chance to get hot, and to my surprise when I checked next it looked like there was MORE smoke. Curious I peaked down the chimney and it appeared as though the bottom coals were getting HOT.

As more coals ignited, the heat only went up – when the top coals were white enough (the entire process taking about 20 minutes) I turned on the backyard hose (in case I needed to douse something quickly) and went for the chimney.

The chimney itself wasn’t hot to touch (the handle), but the metal appeared to have been tempered by the process. Anyway, I poured the coals out and they were RED HOT. RED RED HOT. Wow!

I’ve never had it so hot before! w00t! I ran inside and grabbed the hot dogs and threw all 8 on the grill. I watched them for a second and ran inside to get a plate (to put the dogs on.) When I went back out, I expected the dogs to have appeared to cook under the heat. They didn’t look like they had moved at all. I turned over the dog I put down first and it was already charred. It occurs to me that the fire was soooooooo hot that it was cooking the dogs very quickly 🙂

That was at about 7pm. When I went to bed at midnight, there were still hot coals in there. So, I spend about 10 bucks on coal and a chimney, and 88 cents on the hot dogs I cooked. Next time: steaks and polish dogs.

Oh, and I need a stronger grill brush.

Oh, and Sukie fixed my PS2 woes. I can’t hook up to the ‘net without a memory card though. I’m super excited 🙂

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