Full disclosure: I’m a vegetarian. Have been for twenty years. So summer barbeques don’t mean exactly the same to me as they might to your average Canadian carnivore. That said, I have no problem admitting nothing smells better than something cooked on an outdoor grill.

I remember, as a kid, walking home in the early evenings, smelling a variety of meats and sauces being grilled in my neighbourhood – desperately hoping that one of the sweet, wafting, saucy smells belonged to my backyard.

Now, my favourite grilled dinner usually consists of veggie burgers and dogs, veggie kabobs, grilled corn and foil wrapped potatoes. Considerably less meaty, but still perfectly summery and delicious.

Sadly, my adult life has been a bit stingy on the BBQ goodness due to a serious grill-ficiency. Some of you may have seen this mysterious creature lurking in the background:

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Pssst. Wanna see what’s underneath?

(cue the ugliest BBQ in the world music….)

Ka-blam!

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About 10 years ago I bought a crappy little BBQ for my apartment balcony. I think it cost me a hundred bucks back in the day, and it was very much a case of ‘you get what you pay for’.  It had two temperature settings: incinerating blow-torch or off. The grill was the size of a postage stamp, the igniter stopped working the third time it was used. It made a wonderful shelter for wasp nests on more than one occasion, and it needed to be put out of it’s misery.

Then, my quirky, sweet and endearingly nosy neighbour passed away in March. His home is currently in a state of limbo and I’ve been taking care of the property so it doesn’t become too derelict. His sister generously offered to give me his BBQ as a thanks and although I was reluctant at first, (because it seemed a bit run-down and more trouble than it was worth) further examination and a bit of market research proved it is actually a high-end model that was practically new (albeit filthy). I decided to take them up on their offer and dragged it over to my place this past weekend.

I’m pretty sure there were actual angels singing when I snapped this pic:

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Although it literally looks like it was placed in my backyard by the hand of God, It really was a hot mess inside and needed some serious TLC. And before I could even get started, I also needed to scrub the existing BBQ pad (under high scrutiny by my  furry friend)

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Then I moved the new ‘que to its new home and start a thorough cleaning. It was FILTHY – inside and out:

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Ugh.

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More ugh:

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And, as they often say, three ughs a charm:

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After a couple of hours vacuuming, washing and polishing all the stainless steel and plastic parts with dish-soap and vinegar, then gently scrubbing the grills with a plastic scrubbing pad and giving them a run through the dishwasher on pot and pans I ended up with this:

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Not perfect, but definitely not bad:

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Although my BBQ-lovin’ heart was now starting to go pitter-pat with the results of the deep clean, there was still something not quite right with my new BBQ nook. There was something about the raggedy grass and trashy cement blocks that screamed trailer park to me.  And, although I’m sure these locales are lovely and charming, it definitely wasn’t the aesthetic I was going for. So in came the rocks for a more charming, less trashy, fix.

(Side note: There is a multi-dimensional back story about the rocks in my yard – I’ve spent years taking them out, and I cringe every time I bring some back in….so each rock is a hotly debated issue in my brain. This project just about did me in.)

End result, however? Adorable, if I do say so myself.

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BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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That’s it. See you around.

~T xo