The New York Times runs this story today on how hundreds of thousands of American men are now wasting thousands of dollars buying absurdly big and basically useless 'mega-grills'.
It's the new affluent American status symbol, you see.And from what I've seen in Australian stores, Aussie blokes are not that far behind their American BBQ-loving comrades.
American and Australian men are having a love affair with mega-grills, fattening a marketplace already worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year as they splash out BBQs that can drain a propane tank dry in two hours, that can cook whole turkeys in 90 minutes, that have chrome-plated warming racks, stainless steel "flavour generator plates", smoke generators, multi-side burners, hand lights, rotisseries, in-built speaker cabinets, refrigerators, beer coolers...you get the idea.
According to the NYT Magazine, this is :
" the Queen Mary 2 of outdoor cooking...the $35,000 Talos Outdoor Cooking Suite.....The sprawling stainless steel temple features a searing station with a restaurant-style griddle, a hardwood cutting board, two side burners to heat sauces, a warming drawer, 3/8-inch-thick cooking grates, a 16,000-B.T.U. ceramic infrared rotisserie, a bartender module with a sink and a nine-volt electronic ignition system."
Apparently you can get some of these monsters hot enough to melt brass and lead. If you're into that kind of thing...
But for all the extras, all the amazing ways these grills can be used to cook food, and the huge array of meals that can now be prepared on grills that offer such control and diversity, the majority of food cooked on any and all grills in the US is still burgers, hot dogs, steaks and chicken.
BBQ and Grill chef expert Chris Schlesinger says these monsters are a waste of money.
"Give me two bricks and an oven rack and some wood, and I'll cook you a better steak than any expensive gas grill, hands down. It might look good in your garden, it might be more convenient, it might impress your friends, but it's not going to cook you a better steak."