The Fellowship of the Coals: A Pep Talk For Winter
“We are men. We eat meat. And half the year we grill in the dark. We do it in part because not doing it chews about as well as a half-cooked brisket.”
I was out at the pit the other day, grilling up some supper, and noticed it then. Like a long-lost and once-upon-a-time house guest peering over the bushes. Darkness. And it stirs folks to action. It is getting to that point in the year where good people are rolling their cookers into garages and sheds, or barring that, getting comfortable with the mind-set of putting the BBQ toys away for the winter. We do not understand. These were once upstanding citizens, you see, capable of much smokey goodness. Able to roll a brat or flip a burger with the very best of us. Now regressed, cowering in their flannel sheets and cotton afghans, supping herbal teas and watching the Wheel of Fortune. That sort of Tom Foolery seldom sits will with a patron of the pit. You will nary see a white flag waving over our cookers, nay, not if we can still lift a bag of charcoal you won’t. There is a better way. So stand tall brethren of the brisket, for now is not the time to become lax. It is a smokey imperative that we bandy together, and stoke the fires tall, for a great darkness is coming, and snow is coming with it.
Go henceforth to the market and secure yourself a plunder of meat and coals, and stock your larder at once. Let there be no excuses whence the gales of November come howling. Devise a wind break if we must, for to thwart that icy wind, and light the fires strong, boys, for there is still meat to be smoked, and joy to be had, patron to the pit. There is. It is our time now to rise and to revel in the quaint ambiance of the night shift. To where as my elder brother is fond of saying, “the metal meets the meat“. To warm our hands over a beautiful bed of coals. To be out-of-doors, under star-spangled nights, aside smoking pits, grilling at the end of blue-tinted moon beams. Glory!
Or, I suppose, we could dawdle inside our thermally advanced housing units, in designer slippers, watching that wheel spin by, and nary see any of this.
Indeed, it is wired into our manly nature to put meat to flame, and declare for all the world that it is good. It is just what we do. And to do outside, under magnificent skies, is how it was always meant to be done. The heck with heat waves or blizzards or any other inclement for that matter. And as this fair Autumn ebbs into darkness, which it will, we will be there too, pit-side, with our tongs in one hand, and lovely beverage in the other. There is no off-season for the keeper of the flame, you see. Nor would be wish for there to be. This is our twinkle. Our humble opus. So let us treat it as such.
And so together we will stand stalwart at our pits, leaning into the wintry tempest. You are not alone. We are the fellowship of coals. And there is camaraderie in flame. And meat.
This concludes our pep talk. Grill on and sally forth!