In the Waning Light: When Steak and Potatoes Are More Than Enough
Such is light’s brief serenade for the sun which has dipped below the roof tops now, at an hour profoundly prior from which the supper bell tolls. The cool wind rustles up the neighborhood streets and across the backyards freshly mulched and pampered and smelling of a sleepy earth. The old pond dapples in the moonlight as the mallards and stately drakes cavort in it’s still, liquid waters. All the leaves have all fallen now, once resplendent and grand, and the geese are in constant formation it seems, bugging out for the promised land, of…well, I don’t know where the geese go actually. Probably to you guys down in Florida, I suppose. Texas too.
It’s November in Minnesota. Outdoor life is shutting down. Most folk have wheeled their BBQ’s inside for the winter now. We Patrons of the Pit, however, and Comrades of the Coals, well, we stoically march onward still, trimming our collars to the tempest of night, and manning our pits in stalwart fashion, for to bandy some rather keen moments still, in the waning, pale moon light.
On the pit tonight, probably the first head chiseled on to my personal Mount Rushmore of Things You Can Grill…Steak! A nice big one for me, and a slightly smaller one for the little lady. It always amazes me, as the resident grill jockey that I am, from all the umpteen dozens if not hundreds of recipes I’ve tried over the years, my favorite things to grill still are usually of the most simpleton in kind. For example, I enjoy a good steak, like this, lightly seasoned in just garlic and onion salt, as much as I enjoy, say, an elaborate, 12-hour, pecan smoked brisket flat, or even a rack of spare ribs perfectly executed to the nearest square inch. These things are quite lovely, and they are satisfying to do. But there’s also just something pleasantly perfect about a simple fare of meat and potatoes. About steak on the grill. And more over, there is a magic in grilling it there, amid a November night.
I flipped the steaks, tongs in hand, and listened to them sizzle on the hot cast iron grate. Orange flames licked up from below, searing the beef, as I pulled my patio chair up aside the old kettle grill. I sat there with the lid off watching the steaks cook, and enjoying the flicker of the flame and the radiant heat bellowing out of the Weber’s steely bosom. It felt warm on my face, as I looked up and noted how the moonbeams dropped like angel kisses through the pit-side spruce trees. This was nice, I thought. Much better than most people think when they think of November grilling. I was not cold. Nor did the darkness matter. In point of fact, the darkness just seem to make the fire all the better. Something poignant and lovely to bandy by. And so by fire and by moonlight I sailed the culinary seas there, however briefly to the shores of edible succulence from whence I’ve longed. It didn’t take much effort either. Steaks are like that. And I already had the potatoes done in the kitchen, so… I plated up the spoils, turned heel as any man would, and sidled inside for the night.
After sliding the patio door shut, and locking it, I took another glance out at the grill, like pit keepers do. There it sat in the dark, quietly puffing away as if it didn’t have a care in the world. No, it didn’t mind doing its duty in November. In fact, it was just doing what it was born to do. And for a while at least, come to think of it, so was I. Amen.
Meat and potatoes. Some days I tell you, people, it’s all you need. Well, and a piece of coconut cream pie for dessert wouldn’t hurt none either.
That looks sooooo good!
November 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm
Rest assured it was! Good to hear from you!
November 11, 2016 at 4:03 pm
Looks amazing hope you make something special under the super moon on the 14th!!
November 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm
Oh thanks for the reminder! Just my luck tho it’ll probably be cloudy that day. But yeah good idea!
November 11, 2016 at 9:31 pm
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Lots of room on that plate for some fresh brocolli. Come on my friend, you are not getting any younger.
Just kidding! Meat and potatoes will do it every day. Matter of fact, that is what I am eating right now. Life is good!
November 11, 2016 at 5:11 pm
Well I do fancy some broccoli now and then. Most vegetables I like. Just didn’t have a proper vegetable in stock this time less you count a terra cotta pot full of parsley. I just don’t know what to do with parsley. But yeah, we’re all stocked up with veggies now. You’re right, I am getting up there. Sorta…
Take care John and Mary in Ecuador. You eat your veggies too!
November 11, 2016 at 9:42 pm
I’m curious, how do you do your spuds? also … I agree with john and mary, you need something, anything green as well dude!
November 11, 2016 at 9:14 pm
Well spuds we do so many a splendid way. Most times I chop them up and wrap them in foil with butter and chunk it on the grill for 20 mins. This time however I did them in a very novel way. A way I hadn’t done them in years. I baked them in the oven! Rubbed in oil and not foiled for a nice crispy skin.
And yes mam Auntiedoni on getting some green on to my plate. In essence here you’re telling me to eat my vegetables! And you’re right of course. Golly, you really could be my auntie! Anyways, I shall seek to rectify such antics next time around. It’s just that some nights you just don’t feel like running to the store for broccoli. Yet I would for ice cream. Hmmm. I need to think about my life now.
November 11, 2016 at 9:52 pm
Delicious. You really painted a pretty picture with that post. Thank you for the wonderful imagery. Makes me want to drive straight away to the airport and catch a flight to the land o’ lakes to share that steak with you. Cheers!
November 11, 2016 at 10:05 pm
Thanks Todd. That would be one expensive steak!
November 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm
I think your name should be change to Poems by the pit 🙂 Such beautiful words and whatever you cook it always makes me hungry.
November 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm
Poems by the pit. That does rather have a nice ring to it. Yeah I guess I never think of it much as poems, but when you boil it all down to its essence, well, it kind of is. Just another way to convey the joy patron to the pit. Anyways, many thanks!
November 13, 2016 at 1:56 pm
You describe such simple pleasures. You do it so well.
November 13, 2016 at 2:29 am
Thanks much, Conor. Some days it’s all I know how to do.
November 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm
Keep on barbequing, even in the depths of winter.
January 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm
Thank you kindly, Donald! Yes, it is a privilege to light the coals no matter the season. Everything just tastes better cooked outside. It just does.
Take care, Sir!
January 18, 2017 at 4:54 pm