Saturday night, Brandon and I grilled bratwurst and squash for dinner. There are two types of people in this world: those who adore bratwurst, and those that think bratwurst is disgusting. As for Brandon and me, we are in the former category. Perhaps it's my memories of the best street hotdogs in the world in Prague (that probably should have killed me), or my secret love for fatty chunks of meat stuffed inside crispy intestine casings, but the marriage of pre-burned wood and pre-chewed meat is one of magical results.
Recently, National Geographic had a small article about the "green" nature of various grilling methods. Not surprisingly, charcoal was hailed as the end of all civilization as not only does it emit greenhouse gases 1. when you burn it (and don't forget the silent killer: lighter fluid!) and 2. when it is produced. Of course any sensible citizen would eschew such an environmentally damaging source of pleasure for its much cleaner and guilt-free distant cousin: the solar grill.
But then, where would be the joy of tending a smoking fire in the cool of the evening in one's own backyard? The smell of smoke that drifts over the neighborhood, broadcasting the smell of good food to come? And the most important, that never-duplicated, mysteriously delicious, blessing to all meat - smoke flavor? Many malign man for his destructive impact on our world. But he did something right when the first Cro-Magnon pulled that flaming torch from the nearby forest fire, looked at it, and thought, "meat, fire, good."