Grillin’ in [a small apartment in] Narnia



My girlfriend makes a pretty cool roommate. So after we moved in together last Spring, I came to realize that the most difficult adjustment I’d have to make to our new digs had nothing to do with co-habitation. Because we chose an apartment, I’d have to learn to live without a grill. Even typing that out makes me want to punch and curse. I HATE not having a grill. In my previous life with grills, I had exalted them to the highest status. They’re like slutty angels on Earth. Easy, social, fun, delicious, smoky, drippy, dynamic, versatile, outdoor goodness.

Since I began cooking, the grill has always been my favorite medium. When I was in High School, my friends ruthless gang and I would grill all of the time – every week, sometimes every day. We cooked hot dogs, burgers, steak, brats, kielbasa, italian sausage, pork roasts, chicken, ham, bread, tricked out civics, books, virgins, christians, everything. For a while I used to carry one of those cheap gas Coleman hibachis in my trunk, just in case. We grilled in the summer, the winter, at midnight (Midnight Steak Team Represent), in the snow, in the rain, at the beach, at the pool, at Burke Lake, damn; everywhere that Sam’s buddy, that furry goose looking thing, wouldn’t eat Green eggs, we grilled. That was about 10 years ago, and I never lost it. Since then, I’ve always lived with people that shared the love. In college we got stoned to the bejesus belt and grilled pizzas in donuts in the front yard. And they were f*n good. I love grills.

So yeah, enough fecking background. All of that rant for one simple reason – the other night, I decided to grill Christmas in July, or whatever. Click below to keep reading, sucka.

The menu: hot dogs, baked beans, and grilled salad. Damn straight. Before we get to straight and narrow recipes, let’s get one thing straight. Never buy your hot dogs in the hot dog aisle. Always hit the deli. The best hot dogs in the world are the ol’ style joints with natural casing. All beef. Look for Dietz & Watson or Boar’s Head. They seem to be the cream of the crop in the DC/VA/MD arena. One bite on those suckers, and the tough skin pop makes a world of difference between that and mushing into an oscar meyer trash stick. So yeah, go get some good dogs, the rest is real easy.

1 can veggie Baked Beans
– 2 TBSP ketchup
– 1 TBSP mustard
– ¼ cup brown sugar

Put the beans in a med/large pan on low heat and stir in your fortified flavorings. You can’t get enough lycopene if you don’t eat ketchup, people. Keep hot until served, but don’t burn ‘em.

1 pack Hot Dogs (from the deli)

Turn oven to Broil with the broiling pan inside. Just like the grate on the grill, it needs to be HOT when you put down the meat. Use the broiling pan to get those good grill marks on your hot dogs for that real fake authenticity.

Grilled Salad
large unbroken leaves of romaine
other lettuce if desired
spinach, strongly salted
crumbled asiago
o ¼ cup brown sugar
o 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
o 1 ½ TBSP olive oil
salt & pepper

That’s right, grilled salad. Nevermind that I heisted the idea from a local restaurant that I don’t feel compelled to give credit to, the ish is nuts. Make the dressing first, ‘cause you’ll want to serve everything as soon as the lettuce comes off the grill. While you’re making the dressing, lightly steam some spinach and salt it like a slug. Crumble some asiago. You can use parm or blue cheese, but asiago has that nutty flavor that’s gonna offset the sweet dressing and they’re gonna bang in your mouth like V and Beckham.

Take the broiling pan out of the oven post dogs but as hot as possible and put it on the stove top. Put the right amount of lettuce directly on the pan. Let it cook until it’s just visibly wilted and a bit translucent – a matter of seconds for single leaves, or a minute, minute and a half for a whole head of romaine.

Take the lettuce off and put it on a large platter. Top it off with a generous portion of dressing and the cheese. I don’t like walnuts much, but I know they’d be damn good on this.

You gotta get one of those cheap picnic table dropcloths and put it on your dining room table – you’ve gotta work hard to achieve that real fake summertime authenticity. Now, listen carefully, get the mustard out of the fridge, and put it on the table. This is the only condiment that belongs on a good quality hot dog. Shut up, no, just shut up. I’m serious. Shut up. Mustard only.

Now just put Will Smith’s “Summertime” on repeat at 100 dB. Enjoi.


(No, there aren’t any pictures. Alice’s camera is broken. Cook it yourself if you want a picture.)

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  • BS February 14, 2008  

    mmmm…grilled salad – I love it for both the taste, and the in your face factor to people who think you can’t grill every single food known to man

  • gansie February 14, 2008  

    first, “salt it like a slug” is like the funniest thing i’ve ever heard. brilliant. i hate slugs.

    and very, very with you on the MUSTARD ONLY paradigm.

  • bobbyc February 19, 2008  

    amen to mustard only.

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