Cleaning the grill grates


Terry and I enjoyed our first meal off of the grill of the year today.

That’s a bit weird for us. Usually we keep a path to the grill clear throughout the winter. Heading outside to cook something is typically a year-round possibility for us. Not at all uncommon to have steaks or chicken cooking under the hood while we shiver on a deck with a foot of snow covering most of it. But, for some reason, it’s been a few months.

Funny thing about our grill. When we moved, overall it was in amazing shape. A great piece from a solid company, and we had a few propane tanks around to keep it fired up. Only problem was the grates. They were falling apart and needed to be replaced.

We decided on official parts. It’s a Weber… again, grill in good shape from a good company… and we figured we’d be using it for a few more years (which we have). This is where the story takes a bit of a twist…

For reasons I cannot recall, the grates weren’t immediately available. I found them easily enough on the internet. But every possible source claimed it was going to be a few weeks before they arrived. I mentioned this earlier, Terry and I use our grill fairly often. So, I ordered the Weber grates and then off to the nearby home improvement store I trudged, hoping to find some replacement grates that wouldn’t be too expensive and could serve us for roughly a month.

What I found was mind-boggling then, and seems even more farfetched now. Three grates, on clearance special, for less than five-bucks each. (Sold!) I got home, did the new-purchase-cleaning and placed them on the grill. Perfect fit.

Those low-cost replacement hold-on-until-the-delivery grates are now headed into their fourth summer of service, and show absolutely no signs of needing to be pulled from use. In fact, I really like them. To the point that I’m kind of ticked that there weren’t more when I picked these up. (In my retrospect thought process, I tend to ignore the idea that I only needed three for our grill and likely wouldn’t have purchased more if there were more to purchase.)

Tonight, I made some steak kabobs. Nice marinade. Some rice and veggies on the side. Although cool, a beautiful sunny late afternoon for grilling. Great food. Great meal. And while cooking, I stared at the grates for a few moments.

They weren’t exactly an amazing steal. After all, we’re not considering something where the result was thousands of dollars saved. Heck, I still have the Weber grates in a box in the garage, which means if I never break those out, I actually overspent tremendously for these replacements. Still… I think of it as a good buy.

How often does that happen?

Good buys. Things where we not only are happy with what we’ve purchased, but incredibly happy with the price we paid and get a ton of use from the item involved.

More often than not, I suppose the key word involved is clearance. I said it for these grates. They were being offered as limited-supply, get-it-while-they-last, we-won’t-be-stocking-more-and-you-can’t-order-any, take them off the shelves because other things need the space grill grates.

Ever wander into a clothing store and make a beeline for the clearance racks? I have never—and I mean NEVER—had anyone look at a new jacket and tell me it was from last year’s line. Found quite a few fantastic bargains over the years.

Wife and I were in New Hampshire a while ago. Factory outlets were involved on one of the days, and Timberland had a store that was closing. I picked up a pair of heavy-duty winter boots that day, and those things have been amazing. In fact, we were so stunned by the things that we scored on that visit, we discussed it over lunch… still couldn’t believe the boots and shirts and more everyone in our group picked up… and we went back to the Timberland store that afternoon to buy more.

There’s something memorable and satisfying about unexpected bonus buys. I find myself recalling where I was when I stumbled across a mega buy. Seriously… I could be heading out to the garage to grab some gloves and fire up the snowblower, and as I put on my boots I’m thinking about that great trip to New Hampshire fifteen years ago. (And kicking myself for not buying a second pair, even though these are lasting incredibly well and I just might never need a second pair.)

Tonight I was flipping kabobs on the grill, enjoying a pretty terrific evening at the end of a great day. And things seemed right. It’s hard to explain… perhaps, hard to believe… why the grates on the grill could be involved in such a feeling. But they were.

I wonder where and what my next great find will be.


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