On the Grill: Love at first bite | AspenTimes.com

On the Grill: Love at first bite

Nate Peterson

For the whole winter it sat idle – like a sports car under its tarp – next to stacks of old newspapers. There was no use for it in January or February, when the cold weather kept us inside to eat our lunches and dinners. We still left it alone in March and early April, as we tried our best to ignore the inevitable conclusion of the ski season at our local mountains.When we finally came to terms with spring, however, we embraced our old, forgotten friend as if not a day had passed since we shoved it into a corner at the back of the building.Oh, how we missed you, Aspen Times Grill. Now that it’s sunny and warm nearly every day, what would we do without you?To make amends for the nearly six months of silent treatment, we didn’t push our luck when we fired up our old pal for the first time last month. Burgers and dogs helped us get back in good standing the first night, and we kept it simple with chicken the following evening.Since then, we’ve only continued to get more creative. It’s become customary on most evenings for the night crew to make the march down to Clark’s like a hunting party in search of raw meat. We rarely have a plan, just a few bucks in our pockets and a taste for something hot off the grill. All of us are poor working schlubs, so we tend to search for the tastiest cuts of meat that are marked for quick sale. After a few minutes of bargain hunting, there’s a meeting of the minds before we make the final call. Last week, it was a full rack of tender ribs. This week, we did steaks – twice – and then brats. We cook veggies, too. We’ve had fresh corn twice, and just last night we hit a home run with some asparagus that we coated with olive oil and some onion powder.Some of us combined the bratwurst and the asparagus, a creation called a bratagus or an asparabrat – the debate is ongoing. We may be thrifty when it comes to the meat, but we never skimp on flavor. We’ve got rubs and spices, and not one, but two kinds of barbecue sauce.Our favorite flavoring is an orange concoction of spices that comes in a jar with a pig on top that’s named “Rub of Love.”The stuff tastes great on nearly everything. Even better, it lets our new favorite friend know just how much we appreciate its company every night. At least until November.

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