Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 05.19.08
Stanstead, Quebec


Barbeque Choices

STANSTEAD, QC | Once again, I find myself in the market for a new barbecue. And what a market. So many grills, so much shiny metal. If you're a barbecue lover, it's like being a kid in a candy store, except instead of candy there's charred animal parts. Here are a few models I've come across:

The Mega Fire-Breathing Beef-Tacular Grill Master

This stainless steal behemoth features 150,000 BTUs, 16 burners, three main grills, a warming grill, a side deep-fryer, an ice dispenser, a walk-in closet and four-wheel drive. When you fire it up, it makes a deeply satisfying and patented Voom.TM. Can also be programmed to play "Ride of the Valkyries." Requires a municipal permit to store in your yard. For the chef who's clearly compensating for something. Will not grill vegetables or other sissy foods.

The Venus 864

Not just a metaphor, this barbecue actually heats up to 864 degrees F, the atmospheric temperature of Venus. That's some searing action. If you're one of those people who are impatient with how long regular gas barbecues take, this might be the cue for you. A whole chicken ready in only ten seconds (crispy skin only).

The Venus 864 was invented by a group of MIT astrophysics students and so-called "beefadours." They are reportedly working on a barbecue called the Wormhole Deluxe that will not only cook your burger but transport it instantly to another barbecue in a parallel universe. How this satisfies the cooker's craving for charbroil is unclear.

The PETA Inhumane-E-Q

This barbecue manufactured by the animal rights lobby group is shaped like a headless pig lying on its back. When you open the lid, you hear a squealing noise and a plea, "Please. Have mercy. Go eat some tofu."

The inside of the lid features a heat-proof video screen depicting footage from various slaughterhouses. In addition, the gas jets randomly shoot flames at the unsuspecting cook to offer, as the manual states, "a taste of the genuine barbecuing experience... FOR HELPLESS ANIMALS."

The only barbecue less popular than the PETA Inhumane-E-Q is the Mr.Gassy 2000.

The Hauflem-Schlemefer Bar-B-IQ

The retail price on this baby is equal to that of the lakefront property you're likely to find it on. A real status symbol of a barbecue that guarantees perfect grilling every time. In fact, it does it for you. You calibrate the settings for the cut of meat, type of basting, desired doneness, and the overly priced wine you plan to serve it with to impress your guests. And it does the rest.

Or you can program the barbecue to tag-team with you, alerting you with an automated voice that sounds just like Sophia Loren back in the day. Phrases include: "Your pork is perfect," "You have only two litres of propane remaining," and "This ribeye steak will reduce your life expectancy by .07 days."

Microsoft BarbeCue XP

For those who like to multi-task while they grill, Microsoft introduced its own barbecuing suite in late 2007 as an add-on to its already successful LawnPro platform.

As they cook, users can download cooking shows, browse the Internet or instant message other users. ("G2G, stk brning on Q.")

Installation requires a Philips screwdriver, a wrench, and 30 MB of memory.

To turn on the barbecue, press control-alt-F5, then enter "config.sys/lighter_nub6" followed by "run." The Grill Wizard will then guide you through the barbecuing process. ("Are you sure you want to remove the chicken from the grill?")

This barbecue does tend to crash without warning. Beware the blue flame of death.

The Zen Master

The barbecue for those who ask not only "What's to eat?" but "Why?" This simple number has only one BTU but it's one with the universe. One does not simply grill on the Zen Master. Instead one contemplates the essence of grilling in an attempt to achieve a higher state of grillingness. It is not for us to barbecue the hamburger but for the hamburger to want to be barbecued.