Once More into the fire…

Once More into the fire…

Photo courtesy of Popular Mechanics – May 1968

When we were kids, my dad lived for the Popular Mechanics Weekend Project. Summer 1968 endeared us to the Wishing Well BBQ project …an attractive addition to any patio!

Unfortunately, my father was a very cautious man, and felt the project as shown invited a few too many opportunities for disaster.

  • The charcoal bin and coal hopper offered just a ream of chances for fire – so it was eliminated.
  • The roof was just a bit too close to the fire – so the pitch was changed and raised
  • The low grill deck invited tiny fingers – so it was raised and reinforced.

The resulting finished BBQ didn’t really look very much like the project. It was a substantial fortress in which to provide charred meats to the family… and protect everyone for even the slightest chance of burn injury.

And, it didn’t really work. The base redesign cut off most of the air supply needed to feed the coals, and the reworked roof funneled copious amounts of smoke directly into the eyes of the grill master. But, it was a beautiful thing – solid, massive,  permanent. My dad was so proud of it, and it graced the southern end of the patio for as long as I can remember. Even now, I think about it and smile.

If you would like to build your very own Wishing Well Barbecue, I’ve located the original excerpt from the May 1968 Popular Mechanics – you can find all the instructions HERE.

The cooler weather, increased chances of rain and slim pickins at the curb markets may make this one of the last chances to really grill out for the season.

So, with a salute of my tongs to my Dad, we’re going once more into the fire…

Sticky Soy 
Marinated Rib Eye
Makes Marinade for 6 to 8 Steaks
6 to 8 Well Marbled Rib Eye Steaks
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1 Cup Molasses
1/4 Cup Light Oil
1/2 Cup Rice Wine
1 Clove Garlic – Minced
1 Tablespoon Red Chili Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Ginger
1 Teaspoon Salt
Medium Sauce Pan
2 Large Zipper Bags

  • Place all ingredients into the pan and bring to a boil
  • Boil for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and all to cool completely
  • Place 3 steaks in each of the bags and divide 1/2 of the marinade to each
  • Allow steaks to marinade for 1 to 2 hours
  • Grill steaks over medium coals for 5 minutes per side – 1/4 turning the steaks at 2 1/2 minutes to make your grill marks
  • Brush the steaks at each turn with of the left over marinade

Citrus ~ Balsamic Eggplant
Serves 6 to 8
6 to 8 Jewel or Fantasy Eggplants
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Pepper to Taste
Small Mixing Bowl
Zipper Bag

  • Mix all the ingredients except the eggplant in the bowl
  • Cut the eggplant in 1/2 leaving the stem tops attached
  • Place the halves with the liquid in the zipper bag for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • Cook on the upper rack of the the grill – cut side down – for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Eggplants are done when the skin side depresses easily to the touch

Charcoal Asparagus
with Dragon Marmalade
Serves 6 to 8
You Will Need
1 Bunch Asparagus
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
Pyrex Baking Dish
1/2 Cup Dragon Marmalade – get the recipe HERE (or Yuzu Marmalade – buy it at Marx Foods – Here)

  • Place the stalks into the dish and liberally oil them
  • Remove and apply a good amount of sea salt to the stems – the oil will aid in the salt adhering
  • Set the grill on the lowest setting to the coals and grill the asparagus turning constantly until the tips  just begin to char and the stalks blister
  • Serve with warmed Yuzu Marmalade (or Dragon Marmalade)

6 thoughts on “Once More into the fire…

  1. We have a rib eye enthusiast in my house. This will be a great little surprise for him when I try it 🙂 And the bbq article has me rather amused – I can't believe how much he thought to change. My dad would have lit the roof on fire with my fingers stuck in the grate.

  2. I love your article on the barbeque. I agree w/Melinda that the guy in the pic looks like Uncle Charles. Daddy always loved getting his Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines. Those Corn boys were great! Thanks for sharing the memory and your recipes. I can't wait to try them, when the rain stops.

  3. The man in the photo almost kinda sorta looks like Dad, too. (Except for the high-water pants and goofy little hat.) The wishing well grill was home to many nests of wasps, as I recall. I usually stayed far away from it. 🙂

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