High-End Hype


“Pimp My Grill” reads a New York Times headline that grabbed my attention. What’s that about? I’ve heard my teens using the new “pimpin'” slang. Words evolve. Lost to my kids is the questionably slutty meaning I associate with it. Now, they seem to be saying “pimpin'” means to be turned out in first class style or to be cool and know it. (Ex: “Lloyd looks pretty pimp!” Kathie described our cat, Lloyd, lounging on the back of a recliner, his legs lolling over the edge and ears twitching at hearing his name.)
Now, about the grill – the Times writer, Allen Salkin, declares that “super grills are becoming backyard status symbols as Americans, mostly of the male variety, peacock with an object that harks back to the earliest days of human existence (peacock used as a verb, here).” He describes a Kalamazoo grill that “[sucks] a standard tank of propane dry in two and a half hours.”
In 1990, a California company introduced the DCS professional grill with a price tag of $5,000. The high-end grill market, which generally refers to any grill costing more than $1,000, was on its way. Now, Viking and Weber have premium lines starting around $2,500 going all the way to the top with Frontgate, a luxury goods retailer, and their Talos Outdoor Cooking Suite for $35,000.
One York, Maine couple doubled their gas line capacity to accommodate a Kalamazoo Bread Breaker Two Dual-Fuel grill with infrared rotisserie cradle system and a side burner. The Bread Breaker has a temperature gauge that reaches 1,000 degrees and a price tag of more than $11,000.
A Pittsburgh lawyer, now living in Texas, bought an enormous Weber grill because he says his smaller Weber “wasn’t big enough for my ego. … Grilling has become my creative outlet. The only two extravagances I have in my life are my car (a Mercedes) and my grill.”
A New York couple installed a custom-built grill on their patio with an outdoor refrigerator and followed up by spending another $100,000 renovating the backyard (deck, whirlpool and waterfall with the grill as the “central altar”). They’ve only cooked on the grill three times, but the men gather around it at parties lifting up the hood and playing with the knobs.
Rising along with grill prices is a new grill cuisine with recipes like “Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Sauce served with Poached Pears in Wine Sauce.” I wouldn’t mind trying this, and I could use a new grill.
Our local super market touted a display of Traeger Handcrafted Wood Pellet grills. To snag the attention of shoppers, they featured the longhorn steer and lil’ pig (bright pink) models. Snag they did; I took home brochures that ask only $1,129 for the model I like best – I guess I’ll have to cook my salmon on the old wheel fire-ring Mark has out back.
Still, the most commonly prepared foods on outdoor grills are hot dogs, burgers, steaks, and chicken. According to A.C. Sinnes, author of The Grilling Book (Aris Books, 1985), “The way most grills get used, even the expensive ones, is you turn it on, you cook some chicken breasts, and you turn it off.”
“Does anyone really need to spend thousands of dollars to do that?” asks the Times. “… It might impress your friends, but it’s not going to cook you a better steak.”


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!