A quick glimpse at a portable grilling paradise

A trip to the nearby Home Depot to buy some energy-efficient lightbulbs for the back porch ceiling fans earlier this week led to a parking lot discovery that proved some more that summer, she’s a coming.

Burger truck?

Burger truck?

Orange-coned off in the outskirts of the big box parking lot was a lonely tractor-trailer that was drawing a whole lot of attention. Over walked I with my iPhone 6 at the ready.

I'm the public.

I’m the public.

I needed that closer look. The Private Event sign disappointed me greatly because my mind already was racing with thoughts of that big, juicy burger pictured on the side of the truck.

Up the stairs walked people wearing the official employee apron of Home Depot.

When the door opened, my leering and picture-taking was noticed by one of the hosts. He waved me up the stairs, too.

Alas, the invitation came with a caveat.

“Take a quick look and one shot,” said the man who, my brain figured out as I was taking that quick look and the shot, worked for the folks who make the Weber charcoal grill.

You put those black thingies in the top part ...

You put those black thingies in the top part …

I had walked in on a traveling classroom set up by Weber, a place where they apparently show the sales force of America how best to convince folks like us to buy their brand.

No cooking was being done, said my eyes and my nose. Maybe that would come later. I waved my thanks and walked back down the stairs.

Old bulb, new bulb.

Old bulb, new bulbs.

I went inside Home Depot and found the perfect four-pack of energy-efficient bulbs, those loopy-looking kind that are one-step short of the really expensive new LED bulbs but, oh, four times the cost of the traditional bulbs we’ve been monkeying with as they burn out too frequently all our lives.

The in-store signage told me that these would give me 9.4 years of light, with 13.3 watts of usage providing 100 watts of brightness. I’m estimating the decimals, but you get the idea of the big sell. Anyway, I’ve been buying these bulbs and putting them in every time an old-style bulb burns out.

Meanwhile, I’ve yet to ignite the propane gas grill in the backyard of the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood. Coming to its third season, I hope it does not need replacing. When that time comes, I don’t think I’ll be going back in time to the charcoal grill.

Sorry, Weber.

By coincidence, the freelance story I’m working on for the July edition of Central New York the Good Life Magazine will take a look at a few great grillers.

What would your reaction be if you saw this tractor-trailer in your big box parking lot? Do you prefer charcoal or propane for backyard grilling, and why? What kind of light bulbs do you use in your house, and why?

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88 thoughts on “A quick glimpse at a portable grilling paradise

  1. Hmm, I use the swirly type of bulb – I think that is all that is available here in Ontario now. We had about a 3 year phase in where both were available. There have been some issues with them though. There have been cases of the bulbs overheating and smoking (the base is a powerful ballast). There has also been a growing roar about the fact that they contain mercury and are being thrown out in the regular waste – they are supposed to go to the dangerous goods disposal site, but who will do that? I haven’t seen LED home lights yet Mark, but I can tell you that I have had some experience with other LED lighting and it is awesome. I have a flashlight that has LEDs and it has been going on the same batteries (cheap kind) for over three years and is just as bright white white light as it was originally. I bet it has easy 500 hours on it and shows no wear at all. LED clearance, stop and turn lights on tractor trailers have been around for about 6 or 7 years. The last I was working, we had all our trailers converted. They were about 10 times more expensive but they just never wore out – at all. I have never seen one have to be replaced (sometimes the wiring to the light would have to be repaired or replaced but not the light). They were the cat’s derriere. it will be interesting to see if the home LEDs work as well.

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    • I know that our LED TV is the best thing ever, and our LED light fixture we hat installed on top of the kitchen sink with three tiny bulbs is fantastic, Paul. The separate package bulbs have just hit our market — or my mind’s eye, at least — and I couldn’t pull the trigger on $24 per bulb. Your description, though, will make me rethink my position. My stance on the swirly bulbs for the porch is that with the amount of time they are on, they might last 20 years. Lifetime for me, quite possibly. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I thought, for a moment, that the trailer was that “in and out” burger place. I first became aware of them In LA at a fundraising conference. YUM! I like the taste of charcoal grilling better, actually I like the taste of wood burning in a fire pit grilling best Mark. โค
    Diana xo

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    • Some people die for charcoal or mesquite grilled food, Diana. I know. I go for the convenience in my backyard of the gas. Waaaah-waaaaaaah. That’s the sit-com sound effect when I torch my eyebrows off because the little red ignitor button doesn’t work anymore and I have to light it by hand now. So much for convenience, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. so funny and i would great definitely check it out too, if i came across a huge trailer. my middle son in law loves to grill and has been in competitions and classes of all kinds for a couple of years. he’s more of a charcoal or smoker guy, but uses gas too and loves it all. i’m the lucky mother in law )

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    • Nothing is worse than a made-up story of a brain surgeon who dies of a brain injury because doctors didn’t catch his symptoms, Rachel. Oops. I hope everybody watched it already.

      That burger on the truck, though, is such false advertising, unless they whipped up a feast later. The Private Event sign is a pretty good attention-grabber, too. Those Weber people are smart marketers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can smell a burger cooking now. Thanks a whole hell of a lot! Now I have to grill in the rain today. ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE the Weber, good fun good taste, and I know how to do it. I used gas grills in the past for work but I am wary of them. I would probably blow up the house.

    The new bulbs don’t last a long time like they said they would.

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    • Gas is scary, but as long as you’re careful, Rose … To me, lighting the dang charcoal is equally as frightening, and the fluid taste remains, too, although that just might be a placebo effect in my mind. And then there is the waiting period for the charcoal to take the flame proper and heat to cooking temperature. I’m so impatient for my barbecue.

      Now you tell me about the loopy bulbs. I must say anecdotally, I put two in the Tiffany lamp in our living room a year ago, and they are going strong. Knock on wood. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      Have fun grilling in the rain today, Rose. I can’t believe I can type this, but: It’s sunny here in Syracuse.

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      • Did your folks barbecue with charcoal? We helped quite young so I guess I got used to it. When my kids were little we brought charcoal to the park and beach for picnics as well.

        Do you still have the male penchant for loving fire? At least the men in my life, including son, are pyromaniacs, seems like.

        Maybe I need to buy a better brand of bulbs. I’ll look that up ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Yes, my folks used coal. And when I say that, translate to: My father made me start the fire. And then he bitched to me about how I did it. Too much fluid. Not enough fluid. Too far away with the matches. Too close. Too many matches. Too scared. Not going to hurt myself. Going to hurt myself. Get my sisters back further. Do I want to blow up the whole block. Lighter fluid costs money. The coals are too wet now they’ll never start. The coals don’t have enough fluid on them they’ll never start. When will I get it started so he can put the burgers on everybody’s starving.

        See why I hate charcoal?

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      • Yes, that’s the same reason I don’t do a lot of things I used to do. We have to let this go Mark .

        I can’t help but think now about my father’s trips away. Maybe he spent time in NY grilling for his other family ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • I do let it go, Rose, but when it comes back, I allow it to rush out in a flurry of words like this, and it feels fantastic. It allows me to get in touch again with how I got from there to here, becoming better and stronger in many steps and ways. And yes, realizing my father’s very good and not-so-good is one of them.

        Your father may have been somewhere around Long Island hanging out with my father, once in a while, yeah.

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  5. Yes, that truck would definitely catch my attention as well but I would probably walk out pretty quickly if I didn’t have any attention of buying one. We had a really nice grill but had to give it away because there is no room for a grill at the apartment where we currently live. We definitely miss grilling. My husband was the grill master though. I once tried to turn it on and burnt my hair!

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  6. I’m not sold on those soft-serve ice cream bulbs. They seem to over-promise on the wattage output and some of them take time to warm up. Plus, there’s the mercury thing. But none of that is as bad as seeing a huge burger on a truck and not being able to get one. My condolences.

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  7. Hey what’s up with those energy efficient light bulbs? I have only those in all my lights and I certainly haven’t seen any decrease in my electric bill! (But I’m paying 4X the cost for these bulbs than the “less efficient” bulbs.

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  8. We are hard-core charcoal grillers and I know you would love the taste! A bit messy yes, but I just do not like the taste of food cooked on a propane grill. Crank up that grill Mark. We used to BBQ in Montana when it was 30 degrees F. (of course that felt like summer back then)! Here’s to wishing some warm temperatures your way… โค

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  9. I have really missed out on some fun being a vegetarian. Some veggies and cottage cheese is the extent of my palate, so grilling as such held little charm for me. It was the mood that made the moments ๐Ÿ™‚ Although, they are always in the backyard. Not quite like this!

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    • You are missing out on the aura of the backyard fun of grilling, Prajakta. But no, not like a parking lot scene here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Veggies and cottage cheese only. Hmmm. I hope you are very healthy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  10. I prefer the new bulbs. Like you, I’ve been replacing the old with the new, and I’m here to tell you, I’ve got two of those twisty bulbs that have lasted 12 years and two moves! The first one I bought was for the nursery and the second one for a lamp. I’m impressed. One of the newer ones died tragically in a kitten with lamp incident, and I did freak out a little about the clean-up. We only have one of the new LED bulbs, but I’m expecting good things.

    I prefer charcoal. I like that taste. I like adding different kinds of wood, too. Buuut, last spring we bought a propane grill. I don’t do the grilling, nor do I want to, so The Mister got his way. I must say, I appreciate how much speedier it is, and how easier to control the temp ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Jeepers! No Burgers! what the heck?? I would have went straight home and fried me up some! HA HA HA
    We use the new twirly ones but where they are seen you can get the twirly ones enclosed to look like a lightbulb. I like those!

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  12. I’m in Memphis and it’s nearly May. Those grillers are everywhere in prep for the big BBQ cooking contest to come. We’re used to seeing big BBQ trucks round here. I prefer charcoal and wood mix. I like the flavor better and of course the tradition.

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    • Memphis and BBQ go together, alady, that’s for sure. I mean, you have a rub and a style named after your dang city. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I’d be surprised and somewhat dismayed if you told me you prefered to grill with propane. Tradition holds serve. I’m happy for you. Pass the ribs, please. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  13. Well, that was certainly a disappointment to your nose, wasn’t it? I thought for sure they’d be grilling big hamburgers in there! (My Home Depot has a big hot dog wagon outside.) ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. I prefer charcoal to gas cooking, and I prefer my son in law doing the cooking. Both for the same reason: better tasting. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I prefer the old light bulbs MBM. I can see when I have them in. I can’t see anything with ANY of the new ones.

    I have to admit, I was a little sad that you didn’t get a sample of something sizzling in there ! That would have been wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • The photo of that burger on that truck is just misleading, MBC. It looks like the best burger ever is inside!

      I’m glad your S-i-L does a great job in the grilling. That takes a load off, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The new bulbs don’t do a thing for you, I see. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  15. I’m with Kerbey… don’t like the new bulbs… the look or the light. However, I’m replacing the old bulbs constantly. Re: Grilling.. Propane for me too…too impatient for charcoal. Of course, I have LUPOS Spiedies marinading for tomorrows bbq.

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    • I don’t see a problem with the light from the twirly bulbs, Debbie, and I have them in the lamp right next to me where do my main work in the living room. The little LED bulbs in the kitchen fixture, however, cast a dim glow in comparison, and not just by wattage. And I’ve been able to keep the look of the twirly inside all lamp shades and fixtures, so far. Old bulbs burn out constantly, sure they do.

      LUPOS Spiedies marinading is a grilling Sunday spectacular! For those of you stumped, click on Debbie’s blog and look for her ode to the food greatness that started in her hometown of Endicott, just outside of Binghamton.

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  16. Hey mark! I thought that was a dine in food truck! Wow to see a training room. And how nice of the Home Depot employee to invite u in. Home Depot seems to have taken this amazing uphil turn since 2009 and each time I pick between lowes or hd… I pick Home Depot now….

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  17. Oh yeah and I heard that LED us the way to go and as Paul said about the Mercury- wel it is not just the landfill coz some people get migraines and other body stuff from them. We r slowly changing out all of our HE bulbs

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  18. We’re dinosaurs – we grill the old way, on an antiquated, red-colored charcoal grill. Love grilling out in the summer and sitting on the back porch. Grilled burgers, corn on the cob sprinkled with OLD BAY (try it! yum!), grilled veggies… and a cold one to wash it all down. If the radio’s on and it’s an O’s game being broadcasted, well, it’s a little piece of summertime heaven!

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    • That sounds so appealing, Kate. Radio baseball is a treat for me, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not Old Bay, though. I drew the line when I lived down there and they sold potato chips with the seasoning I did not care for as the added-on. Ah, well, my loss and your gain!

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  19. I can see why you were tempted, Mark. It’s too bad the view didn’t include a sample of what that baby could cook up. We’ll stick with our little black grill. It’s served us well.

    As for the lightbulbs, we sitll get the originals. I was put off on the curly ones when I found they had to be disposed of in a certain way because they contain mercury could harm the environment.

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  20. I like gas grills, will eat stuff off of charcoal but don’t like it as much as I used to, Mark. I tend to ‘burp’ more after I eat things from a park grill with charcoal. My son and my brothers are the best gas grillers, ever!
    I would have been very disappointed about this misleading production. I also feel they should offer free treats to demonstrate the good use of these Weber grills.
    Mark, I like the new bulbs since I don’t have to replace them so often but they do have a purplish glow so in my living room I have the golden oldie light bulbs, 60 watts. Smiles and hope you had a great weekend!

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  21. Oh Mr. B, what a tease. I would have been salivating as I walked up those steps of the truck had I gotten the invite for a quick look and picture. How utterly disappointing that there were no samples to be had! Oh well, next time! We have energy efficient bulbs but I have to admit I hate it when it takes two hours for a bulb to get bright enough to see myself in the mirror. Especially when applying my lipstick on! How is a girl to do such important things with no light?

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