Longing for the Flame, But Stuck in a Studio With a Lousy Grill Pan
Damn you if you're one of those lucky bastards I see on occasion, leaving a trail of boot prints through the snow in the backyard with a beer in your hand, a warm hat on your head, and your eyes on a grill set ablaze.
Since I moved into a studio apartment in the District from Virginia, I've missed my grill. Anyone who's enjoyed the pleasures of cooking over an open flame, only to be relegated to the confines of a crappy four-burner stove, would be filled with similar longings.
I'm more envious than usual after a reading binge on Esquire's Eat Like a Man blog. Josh Ozersky makes an occasional cameo there, writing about burgers, steaks, and his hatred for turkey. His latest post on cooking a steak in a fireplace has, however, left me gloomy, missing my old house, grill, and a warm hearth.
Ozersky's unorthodox technique is rubbing salt in my wounds. Steak over a raging red-oak fueled flame? He's stoking my envy. My choice right now is a lousy grill pan. Sure, it's cute, that pretty enameled number Williams-Sonoma charged me an arm for. It's also about as satisfying as a Ford Pinto to a guy craving the acceleration of a Maserati.
I know I could head to Palena and enjoy grilled meats from Frank Ruta's indoor wood-fired monster. But grilling is as much about enjoying the process, as the results. I need to feel a heavy pinch of kosher salt grind between my fingers as I season my steak from above. I need to listen to the sear and sizzle of cool flesh hitting an almost red-hot grate. While I write this, I can almost hear the pop and hiss of a drop of rendered fat hitting the hot coals below.