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The nifty Weber Genesis

Those who do not own a grill, either charcoal or gas, might relate to this. You are walking out your front door around suppertime, minding your own business, only to be stopped in your tracks, seduced by the aroma of meat-on-the-fire. Invariably, said meat has been doused with some delectable concoction. It is wafting your way from the general vicinity of the neighbor down the street. Hunger and envy ensue.

Eight years ago, some months after my divorce, I vowed never to be caught so off guard again. I took a deep breath and purchased a gas grill. My former husband was the grill chef in the family, and a fine one he was (and I imagine still is). But now I was on my own. And since I love the taste of char (although I have yet to try the seafood variety), a grill—and the wherewithal and knowledge to use it—was essential. It would also be my first real test of single-dom.

I Googled the various brands on the Internet, finding that Weber grills won consistently high marks. I also knew enough to know that I needed a guru; someone who could take me step-by-step through what I was sure was a complicated task, fraught with danger. Steve Raichlen’s book, How to Grill, struck me as nicely remedial, with lots of pictures and some seriously large fonts. Among gas grills, he too seemed to favor Weber. I don’t remember how I got the Genesis three-burner model home. I must have had it delivered. But guess what? It’s a great grill and John and I use it to this day.

Incidentally, I highly recommend Raichlen’s book. I recall studying with Talmudic zeal the section on how to smoke and grill spareribs, and I bought many accessories to make his Kansas City Sweet-and-Smoky ribs leap from the page to the plate: heavy-duty aluminum foil with which to encase the requisite smoked wood chips; two plastic spray bottles—one for dousing any errant flames, the other for the apple cider with which I was going to spray the ribs; and, among other necessities, hickory-smoked salt, a key ingredient in Raichlen’s basic barbecue rub.

It’s been nearly eight years, but I vividly recall the taste of those ribs: succulent, moist, tender, flavorful, sweetly smoked. Ask me how many times I’ve made them since. Right. Exactly none. I was either afraid I wouldn’t attain the perfection of my first attempt, or I remembered just how much work was involved. In any case, I’m here to tell you that I overcame my fear of the open flame and have been happily (but simply) grilling away for years.

Yet now, happily married to another fine grill meister, I have gladly ceded that role to him. Truth be told, I think I’m slightly more comfortable in the kitchen, taking care of the various preparations and making the side dishes. I can always step in front of the flame if called upon, but this has worked out to be a nice division of labor.

Tomorrow we’ll be grilling Mahi Mahi that I bought today from the Yellow Umbrella, a wonderful seafood shop in Richmond’s near West End. I’m going to let the fish soak overnight in a delicious Teriyaki marinade; a recipe I acquired in the 1970s from Anne Morse of Hudson, Ohio. I’ve only ever used it with swordfish, but the shop wasn’t getting its shipment until tomorrow. We’ll see how it works with Mahi Mahi. I’ll be sure to post a photo. In case you’d like to try this along with me, here’s the recipe:

TERIYAKI MARINADE
For swordfish filets or chicken pieces

1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons dry white wine or sherry
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
(if using ground ginger, just one teaspoon)
2 teaspoons grated orange rind

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Place fish or chicken in a shallow dish or plastic Ziploc bag and marinate overnight. For fish, grill five minutes per side. Allow a longer grilling time for chicken; Raichlen recommends five to eight minutes per side.