REPAIRING BARBECUE GRILLS
~~by Tim Bryce~~
~~BRYCE ON LIFE~~
- Regardless of what you spend, barbecue grills last no longer than three years, tops.
I think it was President Eisenhower who popularized the idea of cooking on charcoal grills. Since then, grilling has gone from an art to a science. In the early days you had a simple Weber grill, a bag of charcoal, some lighter fluid, a match, and "voilà" you've got a burned piece of meat on your plate. The grills of today though have come a long way since then and are rather sophisticated (and expensive).
There's nothing wrong with the basic charcoal grill (in fact, purists prefer the charcoal taste), but the lion's share of grills today are propane driven simply due to the convenience. I believe a good basic propane grill goes for a little over $100, but they have models that are priced easily into the thousands of dollars. Some are behemoth cooking machines that can do just about anything, but it kind of makes me wonder if the owners are missing the point of outdoor cooking. Basically, all they have done is brought their kitchen outside with them.
Regardless of how much you've paid for a grill, they all will eventually breakdown over time and fixing them can try anyone's patience. In its simplest form the propane grill has the burner, the grill, and the lava rocks. Sounds pretty easy so far; that is until you decide to clean out the grill and replace a broken part.
The first thing that strikes you as you take your grill apart is the food gunk left over from the last couple of years cooking. I call it the "Cockroach Riviera" as God only knows what critters have crawled into the bowels of your grill after you have shut it off. The lava rocks look more like chunks of Alpo by this time rather than something from a volcano.
The two items though that usually need repair are the burner or the grill, both of which, conceptually, should be easy to replace, but not so fast. Unless you have the precise specifications of the grill or burner, you will undoubtedly buy the wrong replacement part, thereby causing you to return it to where you bought it which is probably Home Depot or Lowes (which usually has ample parking, and attentive sales people to answer your questions.....right?).
Assuming you have the right replacement parts, installing them is a relatively simple task. The real headache though is to clean the grill and find the right parts. In other words, a simple five minute job has again been turned into a laborious and ugly task.
Inevitably the time comes when you simply want to get rid of your propane grill and purchase a new one. This is no easy task. First, nobody wants to put a disgustingly foul grill in their car. Then comes the problem of finding a place to dump it as you will inevitably need a permit from the EPA to dispose of it. Instead, I've seen people in my neck of the woods deposit old grills on the bottom of the ocean as part of the artificial reef program (but God only knows what is growing down there now, probably "Grillzilla").
The sophistication of the propane grills may be appealing, but I now understand why the people at Weber keep banging out their charcoal grills year after year. Not only does the food taste better, but cleanup is a lot simpler (not to mention disposal of the unit when you are done with it).
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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