The Musical Sound of the Sizzle

By Keith Fisher

How could I resist? It was big and shiny, and it pulled me down, down, toward . . .

I exercise a ritual every spring—perhaps you do the same. I head to the home improvement store to pick up sprinkler parts. I also check out, (covet rather) the collection of new barbecues.

The store displays thousands of the little beasties, chained together to keep them under control. There are no gags on their mouths, however, so the units call out as they lie in wait for me.

I try to resist, really I do, but the voices are too strong. The price on the bigger unit makes me laugh. It costs more than my first car, but I don’t care. I secretly succumb to the testosterone driven desire to posses one of the little beauties.

My hand quivers as I read the tag. I learn the manly grill has all the features. Including the AM/FM, satellite radio, with surround sound and CD exchanger. It has chrome plated controls that think for themselves, making it impossible to burn anything. The grill knows the difference between medium and rare, and scoffs at the whimp who orders steak, “Well done”.

The manly grill is too large to carry home in the back of my truck, but for a few dollars more I can purchase the optional motor and licensing to ride my unit home, grilling steaks along the way. Oh, please . . . hold me back.

Finally, the practical side takes over when I realize I would need financing. I go home, hanging my head in dejection. I skulk into the backyard and find my old best friend, the barbecue I purchased years ago, sitting on the patio waiting for me to fire it up. I sigh, and lovingly strike a match.

You know, there’s nothing like good food with old friends, and I can get steak with the money I saved.
Men have been enjoying the art of charring meat since fire was discovered, but today the options are endless. We even have a choice of fuel type. Propane is perhaps the most convenient. A propane grill stands just outside your patio door, ready to be fired up.

Charcoal takes time to get going, but the smoke adds flavor to the meat. Natural lump charcoal tastes better, but pay attention to the container. Chemicals in some types of charcoal can actually be tasted in the food, and it isn’t good to breathe in the fumes. However, you can use charcoal almost anywhere. In a fire pit, even in a wheelbarrow.

All things considered though, if you really want to be a manly man, place a raw steak on top of the coals in a fire. Turn it over and brush the ashes off before you eat it. It works great, and you’ll have something in common with your thousand-year-old grandfather. It’s all about the musical sound of the sizzle anyway. Happy Father’s Day.

Join the Neighborhood Newsletter . . . Subscriptions are free and joining is easy. Just by signing up and maintaining your subscription to receive the yourLDSneighborhood.com newsletter, you become eligible for our "Thank You" prizes. Our dozens of giveaways range from a trip for two to China, to iPods® (each with a $50 gift certificate for LDS music), cruises, and more.

Learn about our amazing monthly, quarterly, and annual giveaways by clicking here.

Return to the Neighborhood.


Tinfoil Treasures

By Keith Fisher

In this blog, I’ve talked about all things outdoors when it comes to cooking. I’m reminded today, of my teenage years—when cooking at scout camp meant burned food, poor cleanup, and starvation. If I only knew then, what I know now . . .

In scout camp, I learned a few vital lessons. One of them was; unless you’re roasting hotdogs, a roaring fire is not the place to cook your food. The heat of it drives you back, the smoke is hard to breathe, and you have to dodge the people standing around. I’ve since learned to trust the heat from coals.

When we are young, we tend to seek the flames. Have you ever watched a child roasting a marshmallow? The child isn’t content to leave it over the hot coals. They have to have it over the flame. Seconds later, the marshmallow bursts into flames and turns into soot.

Sooner or later, the child gets older and tastes a perfectly roasted, golden brown morsel that melts in their mouth. We get hooked by both roasting over coals, and by taking our time.

Getting back to the scout camp experience, A trick I learned, not only uses coals, it exploits them. It’s a quick and easy way to cook in camp for your family. It also gives you time to chat with your fellow campers. I’m talking about the tinfoil dinner.

You can prepare your dinner at home in minutes, pop it in the ice chest, and take it to camp. When the campfire has provided a healthy bed of hot coals, use a shovel to dig a hole in them, or take some coals out. Put your foil bundle on top, and cover it with coals. Sit down and relax. The dinner will be done in the same amount of time it takes at home in your kitchen. If the coals are real hot you might want to check it using your leather gloves.

All you need are two sheets of aluminum foil (double or triple the thickness. Protects against tearing. Some kind of meat (hamburger works best) potato chunks, and carrots. Surround the meat with the veggies and when the meat is done, the vegetables will be too. Wrap your dinner bundle and roll the seams to lock them closed. Roll the ends up the same way. See the picture I borrowed from the internet.


  • Mark the spot where you put your bundle.
  • Keep your spot away from the main fire.
  • Use thick aluminum foil.
  • Hamburger is good. Thick steak doesn’t work as well. Cook veggies separate since there is a shorter cooking time.
  • Fish works great (leave the skin on while cooking).
  • Always have some tongs to retrieve your bundle and gloves to open it.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. Maybe use ketchup.
  • Mix and match, try different things.

By the way, when you want smores, try fudge covered cookies in place of graham crackers and chocolate bars. It’s easier.

Return to the Neighborhood.