It was a few days before Christmas and we were gathered for a week’s visit at my Dad’s place in the woods. It was snowing gently and I was left, in spite of my protests, in charge of barbequing a large and very expensive prime rib roast. Just so you know, I hate cooking meat. I’ve managed to avoid cooking large pieces of meat very successfully in my 25 years of homemaking and my barbequing skills extend to burning hotdogs. But SOMEONE left me in charge of barbequing this slab of meat. “Don’t worry” he said. “It’s easy” he said. “I will put it on the rotisserie, you just check it in an hour. It’ll be fine.”
Fine. I hoped to do a bit of writing and have a little rest.
So, I was sitting there at the table trying to write. I glanced out the kitchen window, there was a little smoke coming from the barbeque. Nothing to worry about, barbeques smoke.
I continued writing and glanced out the window again. This time there was more smoke. Well, barbeques smoke.
I continued writing, feeling mildly aggravated about being left to tend this chunk of meat. SOMEONE said “check it in an hour.” I was determined to follow instructions, so I ignored the smoke, thinking opening the “oven” too often can ruin the final product. Given my previous experience I didn’t know whether this applied to barbeques or not but, I had my instructions. I looked at my watch, only 20 minutes had passed.
I continued writing and out of the corner of my eye I saw the barbecue engulfed in billows of smoke. I raced outside to find flames shooting out from under the lid. I turned off the gas. Flames were still shooting out. My brains left me and I opened the lid. The entire roast was on FIRE. One glance told the tale. The string binding the roast had burned away, the unbound meat jammed the action of the rotisserie (and burned out the motor) and the layer of fat surrounding the meat provided fuel. I slammed the lid in hopes of smothering the flames.
My initial relief at putting out the fire was extinguished as I realized I have no car and no way of feeding a large and soon to be returning family. Strangely, it was at that moment I panicked.
I heard the snow plow coming down the drive. I ran out, grabbed the snow plow operator (a friend of Dad’s) and made him look at the charred remains of the roast. “Is it burnt all the way through?” I asked. “Do you think it’ll taste burnt if I cut the charcoal off and cook it in the oven?” He looked at me like I was a lunatic and shrugged.
I cut two inches of burnt meat off the outside of the roast and popped it in the oven to finish cooking. The roast was much smaller but still delicious.
To this day, SOMEONE still jokes about his broken rotisserie but NO ONE leaves me in charge of barbecuing.
I’d love to hear any of your epic cooking fail stories in the comments below.