Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Never has that phrase been more apt than these last several years spent living in New York without outdoor space and hence, no back yard barbecues. In Austin, where we lived for a couple years after college, we'd make burgers and hot dogs all the time on our big shiny gas grill that had a special spot just for baked beans on the left side. Unless you're lucky enough to have a friend with a yard, it's mid summertime when it really hits home that you're missing out on the great American past time of cooking meat over flames.
On a recent weekend trip upstate, my friends and I took full advantage of the great outdoors and the charcoal grill and ate like kings. Beer, chips, salsa, guacamole, honey goat cheese, smoked mozzarella and aged gouda from Stew Leonard's; on the grill: corn on the cob, vegetable kebobs, hot dogs and burgers. The hot dogs were insane. One of the best things I have eaten all year–it's so easy to forget the difference cooking over charcoal flames can make. I'll be thinking about those hot dogs until I'm able to have another which, sadly, might not be for quite a while.
In addition to the traditional BBQ goodies we ate this year, Mike wowed us all with his brand new Dutch Oven (master camp cooker C.W. 'Butch' Welch, better known as CeeDub, refers to it as his “ten inch doo”): a cast iron pot that goes directly onto the coals, much like cowboys used to cook with on the open range. With a few dry and wet ingredients, he made a superb blueberry cobbler which we topped with Grand Union brand “Chocolately Chippy” ice cream. Any fan of outdoor cooking would be wise to get a Dutch Oven for his or her next cook or camp out.