f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Mystery Solved: Barbecue Chef

Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2010, at 11:20 AM

Stop the presses! Oh, it's the Internet.

Sharon Sanders has just found this food feature by G.D. Fronabarger. It was printed July 19, 1956 in the Southeast Missourian.

Here is the caption:

With the family looking on, A.W. Zimmer as chief chef turns a steak on the grill as he demonstrates the latest outdoor cooking at the family home, 1243 Rockwood. On this occasion their two daughters and their children were on hand to help Mr. and Mrs. Zimmer. Shown in the picture from the left at the rear are: Martha Ann, Jimmy and Mary Beth Bucher; Mrs. W.C. Nitsche and son, Bruce Allen, of Seattle, Wash., Melinda Ann and her mother, Mrs. James H. Bucher, of Sikeston; Laura Ann Nitsche, Margaret Ritter, a neighbor child, Bradley W. Nitsche and Mrs. Zimmer. Mrs. Bucher and Mrs. Nitsche were fishing at the time the picture was made.


Mr. Zimmer uses a portable brazier on which the grill can be raised and lowered as well as rotated. He heaps wood charcoal in the center of the fire box, sprays it with starter fluid, lets it set from 10 to 15 minutes and ignites it. After the charcoal reaches a glow, he spreads it out evenly and permits it to burn until it becomes white hot. The hot coals are now ready for the steaks. The grill is placed at the highest position so that the steaks will brown slowly and evenly. Should any of the coals become too hot, they get dampened with a water-filled, "squirt-type," plastic catsup bottle.

To check for turning as well as doneness, Mr. Zimmer uses tongs to lift and bend the steaks so that he can see down into the meat fibers. This does away with forking and cutting the steaks which permits the juices to escape.

Mrs. Zimmer times the French fries so that they can be served piping hot with the sizzling steaks. She pre-cooks them in an electric deep-fat fryer--just until the point which they begin to brown--removes them from fat and drains them on paper towels. The pre-cooking is done in advance, which eliminates last-minute confusion. When the steaks are within 5 minutes of serving time, the pre-cooked potatoes are popped into hot fat to finish cooking.


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  • Early '60s? Hope he had more than one to grille considering how many have an eye on that one.

    -- Posted by Old John on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:53 AM
  • that's not enough meat to feed all those hungry mouths...

    -- Posted by TommyStix on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:54 AM
  • Ward Cleaver at his fashionable best. I guess people at less meat back in the day..

    -- Posted by johnboy25 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:22 PM
  • Best way to light charcoal is with a chimney starter...

    -- Posted by bobby62914 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:25 PM
  • One steak feeds all?

    -- Posted by voyager on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 1:03 PM