All Up in my Grill
Wanted to give a little update on the post I did a while back that covered some of my kitchen essentials on the boat.
I still have all of the go-to appliances and tools (recently adding in a garlic press that I LOVE! No more chopping garlic – woo hoo!) however, now that the weather has turned hot & humid, cooking inside the boat is no longer an option. In the time it takes to boil a pot of water, the salon is morphed into a hot, stuffy, miserable space that takes all the fun out of cooking. Seriously. The heat coming from a single propane burner will raise the temperature a solid 10 degrees in a matter of minutes. Awesome when it’s 22 degrees outside, but not so much when it’s 82. Also, the heat from the stove cancels out all of the cold air pumping out from our cabin air conditioner, which I’ve come to love/depend on very, very much over the past month. Hey, we live on a boat, not in a tent. We like our creature comforts here.
Seems like it’s time to take the cooking outside, and onto the Magma Grill. Party Size.
I became the grill master sort of acidentally last summer. I attempted to make pasta salad on the stove for a 4th of July picnic, which literally left me sweating into the pot of my freshly cooked tri colored noodles. Not good and definitely not hygienic. It was clear that I needed to learn some grill skills – and quickly – if we were going to eat anything besides canned tuna and salads during the hot summer months. So it did. And I loved it! It’s such an easy little gas grill to use, mainly because it only has one burner which isn’t as complicated (read: intimidating) as some of those mega grills with ten knobs controlling multiple heat zones. I’ve even grilled when we’re at anchor in some windy conditions and everything stays put perfectly.
I was super excited to fire up the ol Magma and start enjoying some grilled goodness once again. However, during the first few dinners, I noticed some thick white smoke and more flare ups than usual coming from old reliable. So much in fact, that I was afraid that someone from the marina staff was going to come rushing down to our boat with a fire extinguisher and a stern lecture about the dangers of grilling on a boat. It was so bad the other night, that I could probably forgo the VHF and hail boats across the creek using smoke signals instead. Not something I wanted our boat to be known for.
I opened her up and this is what I had. Please keep in mind that I hadn’t cleaned it from the previous night’s dinner yet. (which was garlic pesto chicken and delicious despite the smoke, if you’re wondering).
Eww. Looks like the grill was saving some leftovers… from last summer. No wonder it was flaring up and smoking so much. Look at all that crap!
After closer inspection looks like I may need to replace some parts, especially the burner plate and dome, both of which appeared to be corroded. The metal was practically flaking off to the touch. I don’t remember it being this bad last year. Maybe it was and I was just too new at all of this to know the difference.
I scrubbed and scrubbed, using everything I could think of to cut thru the grease and grime, including Windex, Simple Green, vinegar and a variety of scrubbing brushes and steel wool pads. In the end the only thing that even sort of worked was good old dish soap.
Even after all the scrubbing, I still couldn’t get it to look like a brand new grill again, but it definitely looks much better than it did before I gave it some love. We’ll see how it does for dinner tonight (salmon – yum!). Hoping it cooperates and I don’t need to get a new one. However, with as much as I use this thing, it may not be a bad investment.
Before & After (including and After of Me):
I attempted to use the grill tonight for dinner and the darn thing wouldn’t stay lit. It was pretty windy, but not worse than other conditions I’ve cooked in. Maybe it was all that crap in the bottom of the grill that was really keeping the flame going before. Also, it seems that the igniter button isn’t working either, meaning I need to light the grill with a lighter which is not something I like to do. I’m going to give it one more attempt, but those shiny new ones at West Marine are looking pretty good to me right now…