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Learning process (2nd/3rd cook)

Ellen aka GormayEllen aka Gormay Posts: 63
edited 1:23AM in EggHead Forum
First cook sucessful. Decided to get wild and crazy on second cook and make two things in one session! Planned on "Quik Chik" (from "Smoke and Spice") using on sale, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and "Easy Grilled Grits" from the forum. According to the forum gurus, it is easier to go from low heat to high than the reverse. Despite this, I started the grits first as I was getting a late start and this was more time efficient. While the grits were grilling for 10 minutes at 300-350, the chicken breasts were having their 20 minute rub and rest. When I opened the dome to turn the solid grit squares, a small flame arose
from the center of the lump. The rapid growth of the flame and the resulting smoke caused me to forgo turning some of the pieces.[p]Lessons learned, part 1: Opening the dome allows oxygen to cause "flare ups". Dome temp will plumet intially as heat is released. Temp will rapidly rise (exceeding target temp) from the resulting flame and new supply of oxygen. Getting high temp down is tricky.[p]On with the chicken which needed a 200-210 temp. The mop was drizzled on and the chicken baked at 310, the lowest the Egg seemed to want to go with top closed and vent barely open. I cooked the breasts less time to compensate for the higher temp. They were not turned and the remaining mop was poured over on removal as the recipe dictated.[p]Lessons learned, part 2: The rub saved the chicken from being too bland, but it was dry on the thinner edges. Flattening the chicken breasts and one turn on the grill might have promoted more even cooking. Skin and bones may be less healthy and less convenient to remove afterwards, but they definely add to flavor and protection from dryness. The mop added little to the dish. I thought of renaming it, "Poultry in the Puddle".[p]For the third cook, I tried a 1" top sirloin steak which was marinated briefly. 3 mins. on one side and 3 mins on the other at 700-750 temp with no dwell and it looked good enough to eat. Tender,juicy and kissed with mesquite, I devoured half my steak before I realized that I had forgotten to use my usual ketchup. It was that good![p]Lessons learned, part 3: Long, leather gloves were life savers when dealing with such intense heat. Each cook has seemed to aid my sense of timing. I am beginning to understand how better to control the temperature. It's certainly been an Egg-citing adventure as the learning process continues....[p]

Comments

  • elFloydelFloyd Posts: 50
    Ellen aka Gormay,[p]Regarding Lesson 1: Before opening the dome, close off the bottom vent completely. This will reduce the amount of available oxygen and delay or totally prevent the flame up. Don't forget to open the lower vent when you close the dome.

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    elFloyd,[p]NOOOO!! Closing the vents is what creates the conditions that make flashbacks possible in the first place. Flashbacks occur when there is a shortage of oxygen. This allows the buildup of volatile organic compounds from the lump, since the VOC's are not able to burn due to lack of oxygen. The shortage of oxygen can occur either because you close the air vents (for example when dwelling steaks) or even if you have lots of small lump pieces which prevents adequate oxygen flow to the fire. Then, when you open the lid and fresh oxygen flows into the fire, the VOC's ignite all at once and you have a flashback.[p]To prevent flashbacks, you want to allow the orderly entry of fresh oxygen into the fire and the orderly burning of any built up VOCs, as opposed to one big rush of oxygen caused by opening the lid. You can achieve this either by opening the bottom and top vents for a few seconds, and then slowly opening the lid, or you can open just the top vent for about 45 seconds and then slowly open the lid. This allows the fire to consume the buildup of the volative organic compounds which are the fuel of the flashback, rather than allowing it all to burn at once in a great flame. [p]Below is a link to my website. Check out the page on flashbacks.[p]TNW
    [ul][li]The Naked Whiz's Web Page[/ul]
    The Naked Whiz
  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    The Naked Whiz,
    There is a theory here that suggests that opening the bottom vent after a dwell may contribute to cracked fireboxes. The basis of the theory is the rush of cool air against the hot firebox may cause thermal shock to the ceramic. I have since only removed the top of my egg for a few seconds after a dwell. Also, a couple small up and downs with the dome helps cut down on flashback.[p]With a little more practice, I will give up the dwell all together.[p]Nice catch,
    RhumAndJerk[p]

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    RhumAndJerk,
    Yes, I know. My website covers that in more detail. I started using the top vent off for 45 seconds method, but my firebox cracked anyway. But then, I had probably done it the other way 6 or 7 times before I switched and that may have been enough. So, I say do whatever makes sense to you. However, closing the lower vent is NOT a way to prevent flashbacks.[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    The Naked Whiz,
    Wow! That is cool and it shows how dangerous it can be.[p]Thanks for the research!
    R&J[p]

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    RhumAndJerk,
    Yeah, I could talk about selfless devotion to duty and self sacrifice, but to be honest, any excuse to have a big fire or explosion!!![p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    THe Naked Whiz,
    Ughhhh.
    Fire Goooood.
    R&J

  • The Naked Whiz,[p]I had read your page before and want to thank you for helping us newcomers. When my first cook ended with ash in the middle and a lot of unused lump on the periphery, I was told to use more lump. With each cook I add more lump to keep the level up and that may account for more gas build up. I was not expecting a flashback on my second cook when temp was 300-350, but I was much more cautious with the third cook when temp got up to 750. I used the "belch" method and raised the lid an inch several times before opening all the way. I also wore long leather gloves as protection just in case. I reread your page and will try the 45 second open top prior to any dome opening to see if this helps.
  • elFloydelFloyd Posts: 50
    The Naked Whiz,[p]I know what you are saying, and I agree with you.... if the fire has been starved for oxygen. However, we are talking about a differect situation here. Vents are open, then the dome is opened to turn the cook. Flames (not flashback) from the charcoal made it difficult to turn the cook. My suggestion to shut the bottom vent just before opening the dome would only disrupt the flow of oxygen while the cook was turned.... and it wouldn't be closed long enough to starve the fire from oxygen.

  • ravnhausravnhaus Posts: 311
    Ellen aka Gormay,
    Ketchup and steak in the same sentence?
    Ahhhh... the humanity!!![p]

  • elFloyd,[p]Not to butt in :) But I do that all the time... never had a flashback.... ever.[p]I only get them when I forget to burp after a long dwell.
    Especially with a brand new load of lump.[p]Alas... I have hair on my arms once again... I must have learned something :)[p]Happy Egging.. BB

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    elFloyd,
    Gotcha! I see what you are talking about.[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • ravnhaus,[p]Cute. I was born and raised in Bklyn. We use ketchup on *everything*! I had a little steak sandwich for lunch and it was still heavenly.Snuck some ketchup on the ancho-pasilla chedder bread, though. Old habits die slowly....

  • ravnhausravnhaus Posts: 311
    Ellen aka Gormay,
    I understand. The Raveness likes ketchup on her Eggs Benedict!

  • djm5x9djm5x9 Posts: 1,342
    ravnhaus:[p]Wean The Raveness to salsa!
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