Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Adventures in Grilling

Posted July 5, 2007

Have you ever opened the lid to your backyard grill and found a surprise? I did a month or so ago.

It was one of those perfect evenings: light breeze, low humidity, golden sun going down. My platter was full of succulent salmon marinading in a delicious lime and herb sauce. In another dish I carried asparagus coated with olive oil and spices. They were to be grilled as well. Oh, what a wonderful feast we would have in just a few minutes.

I really enjoy grilling out. Two days earlier we tried a new burger recipe with lots of different spices. They were a great hit with the family.

Usually I’m good about cleaning the grill, letting the flame burn off the grease and then cleaning with a brush. But it was getting late when I had cooked the burgers and my bedtime is 7:45PM because of my 2:35AM wake up for the morning news. So I vowed to clean the grill the next day.

Well, I forgot.

So, when I opened the grill to begin cooking the salmon and asparagus I found a young possum who had squeezed through one of the ventilation holes on the grill lid. The possum was smiling at me with grease stains all over his snout. You would expect an animal to jump and run. Not this possum. He was living large and he wasn't going anywhere. A forced evacuation was needed, however. A nudge from a broom handle did the trick.

The incident spoiled everyone's appetite for grilled salmon and asparagus that beautiful evening.

This week I bought a new grill. The ventilation holes are smaller. This grill is officially possom proof.

But I did clean it well after grilling for July 4th. I wouldn't want to attract any smaller furry friends.

What about your grilling adventures?  Please share.


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  • Steve Crisp Jul 6, 2007

    Oh, and if you're finding spiders in your grill, you're not grilling enough.

    Via con carne!

  • Steve Crisp Jul 5, 2007

    Should have just picked him up and moved him along. The little ones won't try and rake you with their claws. In fact, we feed a lot of cats on our front porch and a possum joined them last year. We called him Little Buddy. He would let me scratch him, but once he grew up and started the whole drool thing, he would run when approached. Anyway, on to the perfect steak...

    Run your grill up as high as it will go. Put on the steak. Wait two minutes. Turn the steak 45 degrees. Wait two minutes. Turn the steak over. Wait two minutes. Turn down the grill and turn the steak 45 degrees. Then let is cook on low. The searing locks in the juices and it also give the cool grid marks on the meat.

    Oh and with hamburgers, make them in a hamburger press and slam them as tight as you can. Knock all that air out of them. Smoothing the surfaces and compacting them tightly seals in the juices as well. Follow the same procedure as with steaks, but turn the heat down a bit.

  • wilfhh29 Jul 5, 2007

    My husband and I come from non-grilling families, and we only started grilling out last year (at age 30) after a friend "donated" a charcoal grill to my husband. Surprise! My husband can cook after all, and I am enjoying letting him prepare dinner one or two nights a week this summer. We haven't found any critters in our grill yet, but it could happen. I am going to share this blog post with him.

  • ajstarrrn Jul 5, 2007

    We've never found any animals in our grill (except a few spiders), but when we first got married and bought our house, I thought my husband was going to burn down the neighborhood when our little charcoal grill caught on fire; he's still not quite sure what he did wrong! He uses a gas grill now, with no near catastrophies to report; we had hot dogs, pork chops, and chicken yesterday for the 4th-it was delicious.

  • justmark Jul 5, 2007

    745pm bedtime? Wow, i cant imagine going to bed at that time OR having to get up at 230 am for work. Your tougher than i am, Sir. LOL

  • bleslie Jul 5, 2007

    I'm not worthy! Brian Schrader reads this blog. You're right about the voracious newsroom appetite. 24 Krispy Kreme doughnuts will vanish in record time as will just about everything else.

  • Brian Shrader Jul 5, 2007

    "My platter was full of succulent salmon marinading in a delicious lime and herb sauce. In another dish I carried asparagus coated with olive oil and spices."

    Bill, please bring some of this food to work! I'm guessing it would last about .092 seconds in the newsroom.

  • bleslie Jul 5, 2007

    I now know why so many possums die as roadkill. They seem terribly laid back and in no hurry at all.

  • .Milky Jul 5, 2007

    I have suprised a possum on the grill but never in the grill. In my neck of the woods that would be a dangerous place for a possum to hang out.

  • packandcanesfan Jul 5, 2007

    I bet he was a cute little possum..and I know he was thinking that he wanted you to go away Bill and leave him with his tasty find. lol I have noticed that spiders like our grill as well. I am very careful when touching the handle to move it when it hasn't been used in a while.




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Bill Leslie