Tools Make the Man (And the Meat)

What was the dumbest story of the past week?

Answer: An online article posted to the Food and Wine website that was titled, “The Only Grilling Tool You Really Need, According to a Meat Guy.”

What? Only one tool? Are they serious?

Look, grilling is an art form, one that requires serious skill. And as every guy — not just some meat guy — knows, “skills” mean “tools.”

Like hot dogs and mustard, you can’t have one without the other.

“With the grilling season in full swing, it’s easy to covet all those expensive, high-tech tools you can now buy to make grilling easier,” the article began.

I’d amend that lead to read, “… all those expensive, high-tech tools you now need to buy.”

For example:

  • The professional-grade ThermaQ 2 Channel Thermocouple Alarm that’s both splash-proof and equipped with K thermocouples (whatever they are) for only $139.
  • Or to downsize a bit, the Thermapen Mk4 Foldaway thermocouple probe, with an auto-rotating display and motion-sensing sleep and wake modes, for only $99.
  • Or the hands-free Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaner with three high-powered electric motors and a sophisticated CPU to control movement and speed, for only $89.95.

I’m not sure how anybody makes it through the summer without such essential grilling accessories.

Outright Blasphemy
Apparently, so-called Canadian celebrity chef Roger Mooking — actual Canadian; alleged celebrity — disagrees. Mooking, a self-described musician  as well as the host of the Cooking Channel’s “Man Fire Food” show (in which he travels about seeking new ways and novel methods of barbecuing), claims that only one simple implement is all anyone needs to perfect the subtleties of outdoor grilling.

Pretend drum roll: All you need, Mooking claimed, is “very long tongs.”

“A long pair of tongs is so important," he was quoted in the Food and Wine article. “Just get a long pair of tongs.”

My fellow males: Don’t ever let your significant other read that last sentence. The barbecue grilling station is one of the very lasts outposts of undisputed male superiority, possibly the only bastion of dominance most guys will ever get to experience in their entire adult lives.

Don’t let some wise guy Canadian celebrity musician-chef-blasphemer ruin that for you!

You need those high-tech thermocouples suitable for monitoring the temperature on the outside of the space shuttle as it descends into the Earth’s atmosphere; that automated grill cleaning robot with enough artificial intelligence to take over the actual cooking, should you imbibe a few too many brewskis; and of course, a high-powered, multi-burner, stainless steel, triple-level 15,000-BTU FlameMaster barbecue unit with a price tag equivalent to the airfare, hotel and rent-a-car needed for a week-long visit to the in-laws living several states away, a trip that, sadly, just doesn’t fit into the family budget anytime soon.

Don’t listen to some cost-conscious Canadian, even one whose Wikipedia page notes that “he has a lifelong love affair with cooking over fire.”

Grilling is a job for a man, and men need tools to do anything worthwhile, and like any other essential male activity — lawn mowing, car washing, assembling kid’s toys — the requisite tools don’t come cheap.

That’s just a fact of life, one that humans with an extra X chromosome are genetically capable of understanding.

Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.