The evening began with a fresh, chilly pacific breeze. What had otherwise been one of the warmer days I can remember in the city, quickly turned into one of the more typical nights. Windy and cold. But that was absolutely no matter, we had a goal: to grill over charcoal on our roof while the Outside Lands concert was happening. (Dave Matthews was the main act, a fact which brought varying levels of enthusiasm amongst the members of the bbq.) Anyway, G and Jesse literally crossed paths, G on his way out after hacking Unix with me all day, and Jesse on his way in to provide bbq expertise and Trader Joe’s carne asada.
So, the plan was going to be fairly simple. Earlier in the day I had swung by Ace Hardware on Clement in the Inner Richmond, and bought a little twenty dollar grill, a bag of coal, and some lighter fluid. Rocci took care of the other element in the process: he and Liliya picked up the skewers and veggie array for our feast. So yeah, there we were, lights rigged, q assembled.
Now, being from Jersey, Murray took the reins of the operation and packed the grill up with coals. None of us had really done anything like this for a few years, and it didn’t seem like the flame, on the roof, was gonna be that big of a deal. Really, at this point, I was 99 percent stoked on the initial success of the project. (But the 1 percent uncertainty began to grow.)
The initial setup looked promising. Sure, we had tossed some lighter fluid on the coals, and the flame jumped a few inches, but we figured that transitioning those coals to a glowing red state would be right around the corner. We even brought the skewers up to the roof and started stoking out on the whole thing.
But the fire began to get pretty gnarly. We liberally applied lighter fluid on the coals, and would get a foot or two of flames coming up, but the heat would just not stick, and we weren’t seeing those little red gems glow very much. For this to work, we were going to have a gnarly flame coming from the roof — yeah, we were gonna need to use a lot more lighter fluid. Or, we were going to have to think of moving the grill, with partially burning coals, down the 10 foot fire-escape, through my bedroom window, through the family room, throught the kitchen, down one flight of stair indoors, and then down another flight of stairs outdoors … onto the sidewalk in the front of hoouse.
… And we did just that … Successfully. And then out front, we got the grill cooking and had a really great evening on the sidewalk. Having a few beers, chatting it up with the kids leaving the show, grilling … The night ended up excellently.
Indeed, the veggie skewers and carne asada were superb.Cheers.