Houston, we have cook off! Free BBQ time!

I’m sure you’ve heard ‘put it to the universe and the universe will respond’? Well I’m now refining that to ‘Put it out to your work mates and sooner or later one of them will surprise you.’ Like when my radio co-host revealed that she had a BBQ not doing anything in the shed and if I wanted it, it was mine.

A free BBQ? To me that’s like Christmas come early! And this weekend after a very boozy staff xmas party, Lu was good on her word.

It’s been a solid two years without one

Because when we made the move from the Gold Coast Queensland to Albury New South Wales, I had to cull a few things to save space on the removalist truck. And when it came to my old BBQ, I just laughed and scratched it right off the list. It was now so far gone, it was never coming back..

And here it is:

I paid $80 for it originally off a guy moving back to New Zealand and really should have looked at it a little better on the inside before parting with the case because it had seen some serious cooking and a fair bit of rusting to go with it.
But since I so wanted a big BBQ with a hood, I paid the man and spent almost an hour dismantling it to fit in the back of my Nissan Wagon, getting covered in sweat, grease and very old fat-zorb drip tray contents in the process.

And when I got it home for a clean and a better look? I realised I’d need a fair bit more to get it up and running including a new starter, non rusted plates, a new gas line, new burners and a tonne of degreaser. Suddenly my $80 was costing me three times as much to put back together – but I got there in the end and when it was up and running, it was glorious!

The first meal I cooked with it – I can still taste the awesomeness!

I also used it to brew beer with it! After discovering one night that the pot I was using just couldn’t hit a rolling boil on the induction cook top in the house, I ran the beer project outside and fired up the wok burner which turned out to be perfect for the task!

This actually worked so well, it’s how I brewed beers from then on – wok burner all the way baby!

But while picking it up initially and rebuilding the thing had been quite a chore, trying to get rid of it before moving turned out to be migraine inducing. Who’d have thought it’d be that hard to give away a free BBQ?

But when there’s freebies and a free bbq, there’s weird people and boy did they make themselves known. From Free BBQ – the story of the six burner on the side of the road, allow me to share you this time line:

Day 1 – BBQ listed for free

Day 2 – 10 people contact me about the BBQ, nobody comes around to grab it.

Day 3 – five more messages about the address, even though it’s clearly in the end. Send the asker’s the address again. BBQ still there.

Day 4 – Someone tries to organise a time to come round and look at the BBQ. I explain that it’s out on the street and they can turn up anytime they like to look at it, make appreciative noises about it and take it home. BBQ does not move from where it stands.

Day 5 – someone asks about the BBQ so I text my wife to see if it’s still there. Apparently it’s gone! Someone has finally taken the free BBQ! However when driving home, I see it right where I left it…
…turns out my son was playing with my wife’s phone at the time of the message and looked out in the back yard for it before reporting back. Of course I only discovered this after I deleted the Facebook ad. Bbq is now missing the thermometer and rusted grill plates as someone took them and left everything else there. Also the pile of stacked up burners? Someone also set them back up for no reason I can see. 

Day 6 – A message from Gumtree asking if it’s available from a name I recognize from one of the Facebook messages. I don’t bother replying back.

Day 7 – Incredibly satisfying feeling taking to it with a power drill and unscrewing it down to a million pieces. Pieces taken to nearest transfer station where it ends up in the giant metal recycling bin, hurled at great force next to the other piles of unwanted BBQ bits.

Day 8 – bracing myself for the next message asking if it’s still available..

So there’s been this Bbq shaped hole..

Because I make no bones about it, I love BBQ. The cooking, the attending, the standing round having conversations with mates and family around one, the time outside, the sizzling smells, the great food, sipping on a cold beer while flipping snags, the everything. Bbqing makes me happy, being happy rocks – yum. Which means that one has been on my list of things to get for quite some time now, especially after last summer when we thought ‘You know a BBQ would look great sitting out the back there..’ But of course life gets in the way and sometimes you’ve got to put your wants on the back burner (BBQ pun intended.)

Well now thanks to workmate Lu and her hubby Michael, I’ve got one and it’s a ripper.

free bbq
Kiki the cat is thrilled by the new edition.

‘It’s a little dusty and will need a clean..’ -Lu

‘Don’t care, will happily take it!’ -Me

And before anyone could ask ‘Hey have you got a gas bottle’ it was hear and I was hitting it with every cleaning product I could find in the shed. Impressively aside from the wheel blow out above (the plastic just shattered so it’s resting on a couple of planks of wood to solve this atm) this one was in far better condition than the one I paid for – that’s not usually how luck goes with a free BBQ.. All it needed was a new gas line (I had one I salvaged from my previous BBQ but it turned out to be too big) and gas of course as well as a few cleaning products from Bunnings to get the whole shebang up and running.

By the time I’d gotten everything hooked up the wife and kids had opted for sandwhiches but that was fine by me, I’d get to taste this new glory by myself. Just a couple of snags and whatever else I could find floating around in the fridge and voila-

BBQ’d snags, chilli tomatoes and capsicum severed on toasted bread.

Operation Free BBQ a smashing success and even better, I’ve now crossed off one of my many plans that this page was built for. Here’s to a tonne more BBQing across the summer with this beauty and some home brewing soon to go with it..

So who’s up for a snag?

Edit – I’ve since learnt after this weekend that my free BBQ was originally given to Lu and Michael for free too! It’s the freebie that keeps on giving and all going well, I fully plan to pass it on for nothing when I’m done with it. I’d like to think this Free BBQ will keep on going long after I’ve finished turning my last chop or snag..

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