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The Amazing BBQ Race

Today (Saturday) we had a big belated July 4th BBQ – with 15 people coming over, we knew it would be quite a bash! It turned out great – fun, great food, great conversation…but it almost ended half an hour into it.

I bought a brand new outdoor gas grill earlier this year, and it has been working great. My roommate popped a fresh tank in, but the flames were pitiful. There stood Millie with her gigantic platters of chicken, pork, and steak and this sad little flame was simpering from beneath the grate.

I had put on the regular coal grill as well because I wanted to grill potatoes, fennel, and onions for a warm grilled salad (mmmm, with a yummy buttermilk dressing with fresh dill, fennel fronds, and green onions). But it quickly became obvious that this was not going to be big enough to cook the loads of meat!

I decided to run to Home Depot to give them back the defective tank. Our friend Frank volunteered to drive me and we raced – hoping to save the BBQ for our hungry guests. When I got to the Depot garden section, the cashier told me I would have to go to the main store returns – I said, “Oh no, we bought this yesterday and it’s defective. We are in the middle of barbeque – you can just switch it for another one.” He just looked at me and said, “OK.” (I think he could tell it wouldn’t be a good idea to start arguing about store policy at that moment.

Fortunately I remembered putting the receipt in the mail basket – so I had grabbed it on my way out. The idiot security guard who JUST SAW me walk three feet past him at the door and had to hear the whole exchange, actually asked for it.

Frank raced us back home and the party was saved! But wait, no! The flames were still pathetic. Leave it to Millie. She pulled out a pair of plyers, detached the tank, and started fiddling with the regulator. Other guests – Geoff, George, and Virginia – were sitting right there next to the grill. I had visions for a moment of our guests going up in flames. But lo and behold – Millie fixed it and the flames kicked in. Woo hoo!
Steaks and pork grilled away!

The party ended up being a total blast (did I mention the cold summer fruit soup that ended up all over the counter? Oh well, there was plenty to go around still).

The Menu
Cold Summer Fruit Soup (wonderful recipe from Food Network’s website)
Grilled chicken (Millie made an amazing homemade bbq sauce)
Steaks
Pork
Millie’s homemade chutney (oh this was soooo good)
Grilled potato and fennel salad with a buttermilk dressing
Grilled corn (Millie wraps them up in tinfoil with butter and salt in advance and it is so delicious you don’t have to add any more butter to eat it!)
Millie’s homemade apple pie (yum) with ice cream
Vera’s homemade three berry pie (yum if I say so myself) with creme fraiche

The last guests left at about midnight – so it was a grand success!