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Doug Clark: Just one fellow Feastmaster heeded my call

August 23, 2016 GMT

A winner has been crowned in my Feastmaster Barbecue Bonanza contest.

True, Spokane Valley resident Steve LaCombe was the only Feastmaster-owning reader who contacted me.

But then I told you these babies are rare.

This, however, doesn’t mean that LaCombe – who will receive a whopping $25 gift certificate from the Rosauers’ meat department – is the only winner.

Not on your rump roast. I’m also planning to give a special $10 meat certificate to the very nice woman who left me a long and spirited voicemail attempt to turn me into a vegetarian.

“Go ahead,” she urged, “and become a vegetarian.”

More on her and the counterproposal I came up with in a moment.

But first …

“Hi Doug, does this look familiar?” LaCombe wrote in an email that came with an attached photo of a Feastmaster 400 that looks like mine.

The photograph shows a black rectangular metal grill that has been set precisely into a square brick firebox with chimney.

Unlike my Feastmaster, which is in an outdoor patio area, LaCombe’s grill is located smack-dab in the living room of his 1950s-vintage Spokane Valley rancher.

“It’s so convenient when it’s winter and you want to cook,” he said. “I can fire up the grill any time I want.”

I called LaCombe on Sunday to tell him about his good fortune and the rare barbecue bond we share.

LaCombe’s excitement level wasn’t quite up there with hitting the Powerball, but he seemed appreciative all the same.

Last week I put the call out for anyone who, like me, has experienced the thrill of grilling on this oddball and pretty much extinct apparatus.

What makes the Feastmaster so unique?

Well, besides the groovy built-in factor, it has this ingenious handle that will lower and raise the pan containing the hot charcoal.

This allows the griller to get that steakhouse-quality char by putting the blazing heat directly under the T-bones or whatever.

Once the char occurs, a crank or two will lower the coals for a more modest cooking temperature.

“It’s tremendous,” agreed LaCombe. “And a real talking point for the house.”

I had never laid eyes on one until earlier this summer. My lovely wife, Sherry, and I moved into a new home (circa 1965) and there it was.

I’m hardly a stranger to the barbecue arts.

Not to brag, but I have a Big Green Egg and not one, but two Weber gas grills. Plus I’m the son of a true barbecuing pioneer.

When I was a kid my Old Man, rest his soul, turned the fireplace in our modest home at 15th and Regal into his personal indoor rotisserie.

Every Sunday, a beef roast or skewered chickens would be turning slowly over glowing charcoal briquettes that he’d placed into a steel grate.

There was only one flaw in this system.

And that was the gray heat shield that my Old Man came up with to protect his rotisserie motor from the inferno.

He cut the sheet out of raw asbestos.

After consuming all those Sunday dinners I’m actually surprised to have lived this long.

Too bad he didn’t just go out and buy a Feastmaster.

LaCombe told me that he has seen a few of these dinosaurs at other ranchers near his home. Adding Feastmasters, he speculated, might have been a trademark of one of the Valley builders.

Hmm. Maybe we should start a club. If so, I will extend a hearty invitation to the aforementioned woman who wants me to go green, as in asparagus or kale.

Her message was so good-natured that I’d like to send her a $10 certificate for the nice try.

Unfortunately, she didn’t leave a name or phone number. She just gave me a lot of cryptic advice, like …

“Being a vegetarian is no easier than finding an owner’s manual for your Feastmaster or Grillmaster.”

So here’s the deal. Call me back and leave a phone number and address. I’ll send you the prize along with the following proposal.

I promise to become a vegetarian for two weeks if you’ll promise to go carnivore for the same amount of time.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll both see the light.

Record funds raised

at Street Music Week

Speaking of winners, it turns out that last June’s Street Music Week set an all-time record of $27,605, up slightly from the $27,421 raised in 2015.

This happened thanks to a few donations that trickled in the days after the event.

All proceeds go to Second Harvest regional food bank, as always. So with each dollar translating to five meals, the 14th annual will furnish “138,025 meals for our neighbors in need,” said Second Harvest spokeswoman Kathy Hedgcock.

“Wow. Thanks to you and everyone involved in Street Music Week. (This) unique way of getting people involved in the fight against hunger makes such a difference.”

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.