Have you ever done something and it didn’t turn out exactly the way you wanted it to? Have you done something that you wish you hadn’t have done? For one reason or another, as humans who are not perfect, in our lives we often wish we could have a “do-over” or be able to relive that moment and be able to do something again in a different way.
Did you know that when you live in the Philippines, having a do-over is entirely possible? It’s true. Read more and you’ll see what I mean.
Over the years, barbecuing has always been something that I enjoyed doing, and thought was fun. Nothing more enjoyable to me than firing up the coals, sitting by the grill with a good friend and sipping a diet coke or a beer while having a good conversation. When the “work” is done, you usually end up with some pretty tasty food too, which is a nice bonus!
Well, it’s hard to find a good quality barbecue grill here in the Philippines. Back in the States, I used to have a very nice (and very expensive!) gas grill that was really the top of the line. Since moving to the Philippines, we have had all sorts of different grills, but they have always been cheapie flimsy things that didn’t last very long, and also never was really a joy to cook on. Because of this, I really have not done any barbecuing for the past 10 years. Instead of having a barbecue being a fun family event, it is just cooking when you don’t have a nice grill. So, I don’t really get involved in the cooking now, I let Feyma or one of the maids, or a niece do that. However, I have missed the fun part of the “having a barbecue” party type of thing.
So, a couple of months ago, we had our carpenter build a new brick barbecue grill for us. It really turned out nice, and we have enjoyed it a lot. Basically, for the past 2 months, I would say that we have used the barbecue grill at least 5 nights per week, and I have personally done the grilling probably 3 or 4 nights every week. I have enjoyed it, and we have even had friends over to liven up the “party” aspect of it, and had a blast.
However, after using the grill pretty extensively over the past 2 months, I found that there were some things that just were not right about the design. It was nice, but if certain design elements were changed, it would be much nicer, and more useful. One of the biggest problems was that the grill area was just too small. Back in the States, we had Feyma, myself and two kids when we barbecued. Now, we have 11 or 12 people living in the house! That’s a big difference, and cooking food for a dozen people (plus guests if you have them) is a completely different thing than cooking for 4. I found that the job of cooking on the grill was taking a long time, because you had to cook food in 3 or 4 rounds in order to cook enough to fee the “army” of people.
So, with these few problems… it’s time for a “do-over,” don’t you think? I thought so. So, we had the carpenter come back over (yes, I know, a carpenter and a brick layer are not the same thing, but this guy is a carpenter, but also a jack-of-all-trades and can do anything) and make some changes. My brother-in-law Jun is his assistant. Jun-Jun is the carpenter. I explained to Jun-Jun that the grill area was just too small, and he went to work! He started chiseling away at the mortar, and knocking out bricks in order to make the pit bigger. Before I knew it, he had a grill area that was nearly twice the size! Perfect!
Next, I got an idea. I really wanted a rotisserie on the grill so that we could cook a lechon, or a liempo Balamban, perhaps put a few chickens on the rotisserie, or a roast. I explained to Jun-Jun what I wanted. He went out to some kind of welding shop and had what I wanted crafted from scratch, all in stainless steel. Wow! Beautiful!
So, why do I say that you can have a “do-over” here in the Philippines? Frankly, because it costs so little. The grill was not perfect, so the crew came back out and modified it to my liking! It cost me very little. I can come up with off the wall ideas for new “features” and they will build exactly what I want. This is one thing that I truly love about living in the Philippines. I don’t need to go to the store searching for the right BBQ grill, I can have it custom built exactly the way I want! If I later decide that what I wanted was not quite right, they’ll change it to what I now want! No fuss, no questions asked! Just do it!
So, now that I’ve had my do-over, my new Brick BBQ grill is smoking away, cooking some wonderful food, and I’m having a great time. I’m sure that I’ll come up with some new features to add later. If I do, my carpenter will be happy, it will give him a little extra work! Good for him, good for me. Tasty for all of us!