First of all, I apologize to family and friends who are regular readers of our little blog. I know I am behind in reporting the rest of the Christmas and New Year’s activities. I may (or may not) get time and energy to report more on those activities soon.
But…Today I wanted to report on something that we have been looking forward to for some time. We got a new barbecue grill!
When we prepared to move from Ohio in 2011, two of the hardest things for us to part with were our smoker and king-sized barbecue grill. They were clearly much too large to cram into our over-stuffed suitcases and would have cost far too much to ship. So we consoled ourselves saying that we could buy replacements after we settled in Ecuador.
Well, for some reason certain items are much more expensive in Ecuador than we can find in the U.S. – particularly imported items. Our funds were limited, so we ended up buying a very small charcoal grill that cost at least twice as much as a similar unit would have cost at Home Depot or similar large outlet up north.
It served us well, but I regularly would read one or our favorite blogs, “Patrons of the Pit” published by avid grillers in Minnesota (http://patronsofthepit.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/the-coldest-place-on-earth-grilled-chicken-thighs/) and secretly coveted the larger smoker-grills at departments stores in Portoviejo.
Last September we noticed that the price of grills had fallen dramatically at the, “Mi Commissariato” store. Grills that had been imported and priced at over $500 dollars were now made in Guayaquil and could be purchased for about $220 dollars. I went directly to the back and asked if they had the one we liked in a box. If they had, we wanted it! But I learned that the only one available was the floor unit and it was too large to fit into a taxi.
Anyway – to make a long story short… We gave the clerk our phone number and asked him to call when a boxed unit was available. No call ever came. We checked each time we came into the store (about twice a month). One time the clerk told me they had an available unit in the box, but when he went back to get it for me he found another employee working to assemble it for the floor display!
On Monday I went to Portoviejo for another reason and, out of habit, strolled back to the barbecue area. There was no unit available, but the clerk told me one was to be delivered that night and he would hold it for me if I came back in on Tuesday.
I had some reason to suspect that the unit would not be available on Tuesday, but I needed to go back to Portoviejo for another reason, so… Yesterday morning I ambled back to the familiar garden area and the clerk told me a new unit was in the box and ready for me!
Voila! I got the box into the taxi and lugged it back to the patio area for the, “easy assembly” we all know about from Christmases Past!
Note the old small barbecue nestled back in the corner behind the box.
Proudly made in Ecuador!
I have always been the meticulous sort who carefully separates and counts the parts and then follows the assembly instructions but I had no idea they could fit several hundred separate parts (a small exaggeration!) in such a small box!
I got working on assembly (luckily the instructions were mostly diagrams with some English included) and got a lot done last night before I ran out of daylight and energy.
This morning I resumed work and now we are the proud owners of a large charcoal barbecue grill with a side smoker unit!
I plan to work with it later today to burn off the packing odors and see how well I can regulate the temperature with smoke from the side box. After I master the technique, I will be making another trip to the meat markets to get some cerdo and carne de vaca sufficient to feed a small army.
So if you smell smoke wafting up from our patio area later today, do not worry! It will be John and his new baby playing here where…
Life is good in Ecuador.