Can you smell the meat a-cookin’?

The feds are looking at a barbecue grill as a possible bribe. Which raises tantalizing questions. Like: Can you be bribed with a barbecue grill?

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Joseph Berrios.

Joseph Berrios.

Max Herman/Sun-Times file photo

That newly revealed federal grand jury subpoena digging into the world of former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios suggests an interesting question:

Can someone be bribed with a barbecue grill?

This is only a hypothetical question at this point, as we don’t even know if there really is any barbecue grill involved, let alone whether it was offered to someone as an inducement or reward.

But the subpoena specifically mentioned “barbeque grills” among a laundry list of possible benefits to Berrios and his political associates that might — or might not — have been exchanged for favorable actions from the assessor’s office.

As long as we recognize that we’re only discussing this as a hypothetical, I’d say: It depends.

It depends on the grill. It depends on the person.

For instance, it’s not likely you could bribe someone with your basic Weber kettle charcoal grill.

Don’t get me wrong. You can’t beat the Weber kettle grill for the money.

I sure miss mine. Had to give it up when we moved to a high-rise a few years ago.

It seems they frown upon the possibility of embers flying off the balcony and burning down somebody’s house. It’s not like I could deny that possibility.

Back when I was in the suburbs, I could even use my Weber grill as a smoker. You can make a darn good pulled pork that way, although I never quite nailed the brisket.

But in the condo you’re only allowed to have gas or electric grills, and you’re not supposed to create a lot of smoke because it would blow into the neighbors’ windows, and they’d complain. So no smoker, either, not even one of those electric ones.

This is the first time I’ve owned a gas grill. I know a lot of people prefer them, but I’d rather cook with charcoal.

Plus, the starter on the middle burner stopped working, and I can’t seem to fix it. So I light it by hand, which works fine, but it’s a constant reminder of my home-repair failings.

Where were we? Oh, yeah, bribes.

To be effective as a bribe, it probably would have to be a very good barbecue grill, at least an expensive one.

I see people going gaga on television commercials over those Napoleon grills, though I’ve never seen one in real life and don’t understand the fuss. The Napoleon Prestige PRO 665 Gas Grill on Cart with Infrared Rotisserie and Side Burner sells for something like $2,599 and would probably make a good bribe.

You can also spend that much on a Kamado Joe charcoal grill, which has an unusual shape that makes it a nice conversation piece. That might appeal to a certain kind of guy, bribe-wise.

My wife used to lust after one of those Big Green Egg grills, which aren’t nearly as expensive, but I was too cheap to buy her one. Anyhow, she can’t be bribed. I’ve tried.

I don’t know if Berrios even owns a barbecue grill, let alone where he got it.

But if one of his neighbors wants to take a photo of a grill in his backyard and email it to me, that would be cool.

Which reminds me: People don’t seem to know to call the newspaper with real story tips these days.

Like they say on my favorite radio station: if you see news, call — or text or email.

I’m thinking in particular of a situation in the near future when several black SUVs roll up on the office or home of your local elected official, and a bunch of guys looking like FBI agents troop inside. Please let us know.

Don’t think of it as snitching. It’s more like crowd-sourcing.

Back to that subpoena.Here is the complete list of benefits the subpoena recipients were asked about: “airplane tickets, alcohol, barbeque grills, boat access, books, cigars or cigar merchandise, concerts, contributions related to the retirement party for former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, furniture, gifts, golf outings, trips, the provision of meals, parties, private plan access, and sporting-event tickets.”

When you see it in that context, it makes you think there really is a barbecue grill in question, doesn’t it?

To borrow a phrase from the legendary Illinois politician Paul Powell, “I can smell the meat a-cookin.’ ”

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