ES/Food Network Contest: We Have a Winner


I knew that we would learn something valuable as part of this little exercise.

I thought we might learn a wonderful new grilling technique.  I thought we might learn a valuable tip for keeping your burgers juicy.

But what we really learned is that Endless Simmer’s readers should not be allowed anywhere near an open flame.

We asked for the craziest grillers out there to chime in with their war stories.  The folks at Food Network stoked the fires with some sweet swag to help celebrate the arrival of grilling week on the network.  And you, dear reader, came up with some of the most harrowing stories we’ve ever heard from a cookout.

Our blue ribbon panel of experts reviewed the entries, notified the senders’ local fire safety officials, and came up with our winners.

And so, without further ado…

Third Place: Suneet
Making a commitment to vegetarianism takes an astonishing amount of devotion.  Being a vegetarian and still grilling up a big-ass rack of pork ribs for guests and not being able to enjoy the spoils of your work takes super-human resolve.

I used to eat meat. I still crave the hell out of it but don’t eat it for health reasons. One of the best ways around it is to find creative ways to cook it for others After cooking in large quantities, the last thing I want to do is eat. Last Memorial Day I was inspired to make Indian-style pork ribs for my friends. I came up with a curried ribs recipe (my own rub and an Indian inspired bbq sauce) that they still ask me to make. They say it’s amazing. I have to take their word for it…I couldn’t try them. 🙂

Second Place: Patti
This one was short and sweet.  That’s just as well because, if it went into any additional detail, I would have lost my lunch.

My sons and some of the neighborhood kids grilled cicadas a few years back when we had the whole 17 year bug infest.  Someone told them they were edible and all the children are still alive. So, I guess they are.

First Place: Scott
I don’t know Scott.  I’m sure he’s nice enough guy.  That’s why I feel bad about potentially putting a damper on his social life by doing what I’m about to do.

Ladies and gentlemen…if Scott ever invites you over to his house for a cookout, for the love of all that is holy, don’t go.

Imagine a large pig, a ton of coal, a shoddy spit motor, and a rain storm.  10 friends and I tried our best, but the pig was skewered off center so it spun half way around labored and slow, before flopping to the other side.  Each flop showered our coals with pig fat.  Then the rain started.  Not wanting to get wet we attached a big golf umbrella to the rack holding the pig, and ran for cover.

I’ll never forget my Brazilian friend in broken English yelling, “The Pig, the pig!”

Pork fat hit the coals, and ignited, the pig ignited, the umbrella ignited.  It was an inferno.  We had to hose the pig down, start a new fire and find a new umbrella.  Long story short?  Black pig on the outside, Raw pig on the inside, and 3 people hospitalized.

Now I just stick to shoulders.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all of you who entered!

(Photo: Pirate Alice)

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  • 80 Proof May 22, 2009  

    A fitting winner. Great story.

  • Pingback: Feed Us Back: Comments of the Week May 22, 2009  
  • BS May 22, 2009  

    I cannot believe you actually cooked and ate the cicadas. gross! amazing! gross! amazing! I really don’t know what to think

  • erica May 22, 2009  

    I don’t know… I was telling someone just yesterday that if I ever started eating meat again it would probably be bugs.

  • Maids May 22, 2009  

    @erica – I get that. Like if I was on a desert island with no edible vegetation, I think I could try to survive on bugs. Certainly would try that before I tried to eat wild boar or something of that sort. I wouldn’t be happy about it.

  • Maids May 22, 2009  

    and by the way BS, I think the cicadas should have won, hands down. What’s so crazy about grilling pig? it’s done all the time and the fire departments across the country complain of improperly secured summer bbqs as the major cause of summer house fires. I was hoping the winners of the contest would have tried to grill more peculiar items and less the common place grillable meats and veggies.

  • MonkeyBoy May 22, 2009  

    Did they skewer the cicadas first or just throw them on the grill? Alive?
    Actually I call shenanigans on the seriousness of this post. Knowing these teenage boys in particular, and having been one myself, I can attest to the fact that eating bugs isn’t anywhere close to the grossest thing going on in their lives.

  • Patti May 27, 2009  

    Just put them darn cicadas on the grill alive. Yep. Saw it with my own eyes. Chomped ’em down and lived to tell about it.

  • dad gansie May 27, 2009  

    omg # 1 stay away from that tri-combo

  • Mike Donlon May 27, 2009  

    Patti: Do you remember Scott O’Grady, shot down in one one of the Communist Bloc countries during the “cold war’. He survived by eating ants, grilled cicadas may be better than raw ants

  • Omg, I love the mental image of the pig carcass flopping around. Hah!

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