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I’ve heard Al Green sing, so I know he was born to sing. I’ve seen Ric Flair wrestle, so I know he was born to be in the ring.
I’ve eaten Michael Spilotro’s barbecued ribs. So I know he was born to shill gas grills.
And so he shall: Spilotro, a longtime and now-former City Paper photographer (whose 1996 shot of Baltimore Mike holding a “Show Us Your Titts” sign in the Pimlico infield accompanies my recent column about new booze restrictions for the Preakness) recently won a national contest looking for the most devout Weber grill devotee.
His winning, um, essay found Spilotro recalling the day he picked up his grill at a retail outlet for cooked meatheads.
A sample: “There she was waiting for me on the loading dock. I gently lifted my precious cargo into the car like a man carrying his new bride over the threshold.”
Anybody who knows Spilotro, and I’ve known him for about 30 years, can vouch: He meant every word. (He’s pissed at City Paper for removing a boast he left about his prowess with ribs in the comments section of the Best BBQ entry in the latest Best Of issue.)
“I figured a married guy could never get away with treating a grill like a woman,” he said with a huge laugh. “I’m not married.”
Spilotro said Weber has told him they’ll use his prose in an upcoming radio ad campaign. In return, last week the company shipped a state-of-the-art Weber Genesis to his Springfield home.
He’s already given away the old grill he wrote so lovingly about.
“I was laughing when the new Weber showed up. You could bury a family in the box,” he said. “It’s 197 pounds of griddle, with every feature I ever wanted.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard him so happy.