Friday, April 24, 2015

Flamethrowers, Street Skiing and Tree Fishing

* - Editor's Note:  This is a repeat from 2011, updated to celebrate Summer's anticipated arrival.  Time to put away the skis, get out the fishing gear and fire up the grill.

Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the nation.  We love the outdoors.

Sanders, my long-haired former-hippie neighbor turned libertarian, is one of those people who could look 50, or 25, depending on how you turned your head and what frame of mind you were in when you were looking at him. He acts like he’s 15 and sometimes wears funny hats or severe-looking heavy framed tortoise shell eyeglasses, which produces in me an odd combination of fear and amusement.

“Dude, you gotta get one of these!” he shouted as he cranked up the flamethrower he was wielding.

We were standing on his deck imbibing 471 Small Batch Double IPA's from Breckenridge Brewery, and when the blast hit his Weber kettle grill, I had to admit it did an admirable job catching the coals on fire. I also noted the singed branches overhanging the deck, and I made a mental note of the blackened portion of his guttering and soffits. He caught my casting glances and chuckled in spite of himself.

Of course I ignored his advice. I’ve got a gas grill anyway. The guy just ain’t all there. He’s got a medical marijuana prescription due to an injury he sustained when he hit a parked car while skiing. How did that happen? It wasn’t up at Monarch, where if you got really, really wild coming down Gunbarrel it could be technically feasible; it happened (appropriately) on Race Street here in town. His girlfriend (or ‘old lady’ as he refers to her), got him a nice pair or Rossignols for Christmas and he just couldn’t wait to try them out so he strapped on and headed down the street, in boxers, a ski jacket and WW II aviators goggles an uncle had given him.  

I can’t really knock him for it. I’ve done some dumb stuff myself. Every spring I test out my fishing rods by casting down the street with a one ounce weight attached. Almost put out a mail truck’s windshield once, and I accidentally tore a birdhouse out of a neighbor’s tree with my Eagle Claw open-face. I use the extra heavies to get the bale to completely unwind, but it can have negative and far reaching consequences.

My friends and I did some street skiing back when I lived in Denver. We were supposed to take a day trip up to Keystone, but ironically, a blizzard hit and all the snow closed I-70. I don’t remember anyone wracking themselves up like Sanders did, but I do remember us falling down laughing when Dave did a nice kick turn off of Jamaica Street onto Colfax and passed a snow plow that was diligently plodding along. Jim, a jolly black-bearded cable guy from next door came out with one of those huge bottles of Jack Daniels. After some generous chugging, one of us, can’t remember who, slid into a neighbor’s house, causing her to poke her head out the front door and threaten to call the police. That’s when we decided to go back inside.

If we aren't suppose to eat animals, how come they're made of meat?

Anyway, I started out wanting to post on grilling, and I guess I got sidetracked. If you enjoy grilling, smoking or BBQing, The Ugly Brothers have some pretty good tips on their web site. Their Grillosophy Page is a treasure trove of outdoor cooking wisdom. Whether you’re new to the grill or an old hand, you’ll find some worthwhile stuff there.

I’m looking forward to smoking pork ribs, beef ribs and brisket.  I'll be grilling beer butt chicken, hot wings,  marinated pork chops, lamb burgers and chicken sausages from Sprouts Market.  How about you?  What will you be cooking up this summer?

Will you be imbibing?  How about musical instruments to accompany your grilling?  Me?  I enjoy plinking out tunes on my banjo as I watch the smoke rise and I wait for the slabs of mean to reach juicy perfection.

What about you?

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