Weekend Parting Shot: Your Smoker Will Kill Us All


Happy Friday Gentle Readers,

I hope that this missive finds you well. Rain is the forecast for this weekend. The bad news is that I won’t be able to get to the yard work. The good news is that I won’t be able to get to the yard work.

Death by cooking

Orthodox Lent is over, and I am writing this while digesting two cheeseburgers cooked medium rare on my grill/smoker. There is nothing like the taste of a burger, flame-cooked over hickory pellets, unless, of course, you have one of those high-end smokers that use fruitwood, in which case I bow to your grilling superiority. At any rate, throw two burgers on the fire, pair them with an IPA, and you sir, are officially in business. 

I had no idea that I was contributing to the death of the environment. Not that I care, since at this point, opening your eyes in the morning hastens the destruction of the environment. But it wasn’t just the smoke from the burning flesh of cows. it was the scent! As horrible as it is to contemplate, the very odors produced by cooking, whether alfresco or indoors, are speeding us toward an untimely end. I know this because some experts said so. 

This new exercise in doom speaking comes to us from NOAA, and if it comes from the government, it must be true! Right? According to a new study, the odors from cooking food are creating a danger that has heretofore gone “unrecognized and underappreciated” as a source of urban air pollution. The introduction to the study literally warns that if one can smell it, there is a good chance it is “impacting air quality.” Specifically:

“What we’re looking at from cooking are primarily oxygenated VOCs, or volatile organic compounds,” said Matt Coggon, a research chemist at CSL and lead author of the study. “These are quite reactive in the air, so we expect they’ll be important for air quality.”


The discovery that cooking emissions could account for nearly a quarter of the urban VOCs was unexpected, particularly given that the U.S. National Emissions Inventory (NEI) estimates this source at an insignificant 1%. On an absolute basis, the NEI underestimates cooking emissions by a factor of 5–10. 

Coggon said based on the new findings, cooking emissions could be the single largest missing source of urban VOCs in current air quality models, which could have important ramifications for air quality management.

One of the ways researchers reached their findings was by driving around Las Vegas in June and July measuring air quality. So a study done during the summer months in a large city, which also has a very high number of restaurants, in a state known for high temperatures somehow managed to produce these “results.” Call me crazy, but does anyone else suspect that someone anticipated the “results” before the study began? Would anyone like an extra helping of foregone conclusions with their burger? Get ’em while they’re hot! And smelly! 

This is yet another nudge or “shark bump.” It is another attempt at setting us up for restrictions, regulations, or, worse yet, another executive order. Eat bugs if you want, hippie. I’ll be outside with the men, grilling. You can have my custom spatula when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

With this dire environmental warning now troubling my conscience, I have decided to take matters into my own hands. I am pursuing a new grilling menu item: The Thunburger. 

As we say in the VIP pitches: I need your help. Please submit your recipe ideas in the comments below or via email through PJ Media. All entries must be received by Monday. I shall spend the next week trying each of them out. I know that spending a week grilling and drinking beer will be tough, but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make for science. The winner will get a shout-out on Friday. I may try to talk the editors into giving out an actual prize. Don’t get your hopes up. 


  1. The recipe must call for the burger to be grilled outdoors over an open flame.
  2. No recipes involving soy burgers or any other variety of plant-based meats. Violators will be banned for life and consigned to reading the CNN website in the outer darkness. Take that noise someplace else.
  3. Toppings may be added at the contestant’s discretion. Toppings may or may not affect the judge’s decision.
  4. I am the judge, so take your best shot.
  5. Offer void where prohibited by law.
  6. Employees of PJ Media are welcome to submit recipes but will not be eligible for a shout-out. You already have your name on the website. What else do you want?

Wine recommendation

Because you might want something to go with your Thunburger other than a cold beer, although I can’t imagine why. 

I have not forgotten my promise. I still need to get to the Wine Store in SLC and track down a Chablis. And I will. In the interim, enjoy the 2022 Albamar Estate Series Sauvignon Blanc.

This wine comes from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. I found it to be a very nice, refreshing wine. Look for a little melon and some light citrus, mostly lemon, and maybe just a bit of lime. Some reviews detected some hints of green apple, but I couldn’t taste it. That is my problem. There is also just a touch of fresh-cut grass. It is nice and dry right off the starting block but not too acidic. Overall, it is a very pleasant and drinkable wine.

You can get out of the store with a bottle for around $13, which makes this wine a pretty good deal. Eventually, it will be summer here, and if it is warm where you are, try a chilled bottle in the backyard with a good sampling of cheeses and fruit or even some chilled shrimp.

That’s it for me. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next time. 

Las Vegas News Magazine

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