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Don't Try This at Your Home-Nearly Massive Fail Cooking Pizza

jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
edited January 2013 in EggHead Forum
I often feel we learn more from our mistakes than our successes, and tonight I learned some lessons. The good news is I managed to pull my chestnuts out of the fire and save the meal. This was a repeat cook of the CPK BBQ Pizza I posted last Friday so I wasn't taking pictures. 

The problem started with human error (me). For some reason I can't seem to get it through my thick head that the Egg behaves virtually the same in warm weather or cold weather. I fired up 4 fire starters and let them burn for about 8 minutes before inserting the plate setter & pizza stone. My intent was to stabilize the Egg at 600 degrees and let it stay there for 30 minutes before cooking the pizza. This is my normal procedure using a pizza stone. I opened the bottom draft door fully & left the chimney wide open (uncapped). When it came time to go take a look at the Egg I decided to wait another 5 minutes. After all it was a very cold night and the plate setter & pizza stone had been stored out in my new Egg so they were 20 degrees when they went on too.

To my great surprise when I went outside to check on the temperature, the needle hadn't budged off it's peg. not even a smidge. I had never seen this behavior before and I began to worry because I hadn't cleaned out the bottom grate and ash drawer  after my first pizza cook Saturday. Perhaps clooged openings in the firebox explained the lack of temperature rise. Then it occred to me I had seen a little condensation when I installed the temperature gauge in the new Egg. I went back inside and returned 5 minutes later to find the temperature had FINALLY risen to just under 200 degrees. Better, but still not right. Something just wasn't making sense here. I quickly touched my fingers to the side of the dome and it wasn't warm. No it was scaldingly hot!! Ouch!! I looked down the chimney & I could see all the coals were lit. 

Now I was puzzled. I was back to my first theory that the temperature gauge was messed up. I decide to set the lower draft door where I usually keep it for pizza and I'd give the Egg 5 minutes to stabilize at that temp. I figured it would get me in the ball park and I'd cook the Pizza at that temp. When I checked again in 5 more minutes, the temperature gauge was now at 725 degrees. WTF!!??!! Finally the light bulb went off. When I went out the first time the temperature had already gone past 600, gone past the highest reading on the gauge of 750 and just happened to be at 775 which was the same point on the gauge as the zero mark. When it rose to "200" degrees, it was really 1,000 degrees.  Yikes!!!

So I put on the DF metal cap and dialed the lower draft door way down to drive the temps back down to 600 degrees. This took about 10 minutes more and I then let the Egg sit at that temp for 30 minutes before cooking the pizza. I wanted to let the ceramics of the plate setter and pizza stone shed some excess heat. So other than being 60 minutes late, my pizza came out perfect despite my efforts to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.

LESSONS LEARNED:
-Repeat after me three times: "The weather has very little effect on the Egg". 
-Check the Egg early and often when doing high temperature cooks. With the lower damper wide open and a wide open chimney the temps can rise incredibly fast. 
-I didn't know the temperature gauge could go around more than 360 degrees. It can
-If you are reading too low of a temperature after too much time, carefully feel the side of the dome to make sure the temperature gauge hasn't gone around 360 degrees. If the gauge reads 200, the side of the dome should be slightly warm, not scaldingly hot. If it is wicked hot you are probably at 800 degrees higher than what the reading says. 
-Repeat after me three times: "The weather has very little effect on the Egg". 

Hopefully some other folks will learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. There are plenty of other mistakes to make, no need to repeat this one.

Jim

P.S. "The weather has very little effect on the Egg."

Comments

  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,358
    Been there, done that but it wasn't cold. Just didn't figure the egg would get that hot that quick. I enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing.
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • njlnjl Posts: 780
    Yep...you gotta watch out for the dome thermometer wrapping around.  During my post steak clean burn last night, it got a little out of control and wrapped around to a little over 200F (second time around).  That's probably something like 900F.  Open the dome fast and wide at that kind of temp, not knowing that it's on its second time around, and you will lose some hair.
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 6,059
    Some folks should not be  allowed to play with fire..... :))
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,619
    I've seen that before at a buddy's house during a pizza night he hosted. He prepped pizzas while the other 4-5 of us (all Egg owners) stood around yapping over beers. When the host came out ready to put on the pizza he found his thermometer had wrapped around and said "who the h*ll was watching the Egg!" :\"> Oops. Unlike you, we lacked the patience to wait for things to cool down enough and we had some burnt crust pizza.

    Yeah, as you stated Jim, with everything wide open the temps can rise incredibly fast!
    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs
    Bay Area, CA
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
    edited January 2013
    njl said:
    ... Open the dome fast and wide at that kind of temp, not knowing that it's on its second time around, and you will lose some hair.
    Fortunately after burning the hair off my left arm and then the right arm about a week later, I think I am now trained with a built-in Pavlovian-like response. I now lift the lid of the Egg and do a double burp even if it is not lit!! Oh and before Skiddymarker lets loose with another one, I did burp the Egg both times. It seems my newborn required a double burp.
    Some folks should not be  allowed to play with fire..... :))
    Yes, but we still let you because you amuse us all so much around here...  =))
    R2Egg2Q said:
    I've seen that before at a buddy's house during a pizza night he hosted. He prepped pizzas while the other 4-5 of us (all Egg owners) stood around yapping over beers. ...
    Sadly I can't blame beers. "Yeah, That's it: I was drunk. Now that's the ticket!!"

    Jim

  • jfm0830 said:
    . When it rose to "200" degrees, it was really 1,000 degrees.  Yikes!!!
    Jim,   So, how is your gasket?


  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 3,632

    Happens to the best of us. It happened to me last night when I was firing up for wings. Went inside after cranking it up. Came out and eggepcted it to be around 450 or so based on time inside and it was at 1100.

    Just a really gusty night and the draft was hitting the bottom vent at the right speed I guess, All part of the eggsperience. It is really fun when you have blue flames coming out the top and the bottom vents. That is when you get a little nervous.

     

    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
  • BjorgBjorg Posts: 233
    I to did pizza this week end and overshoot the temperature to like 750 (I aimed for 550) in a minus 20 c winter climate. My already partially burned gasket came loose a bit and after cooking the pizzas, during the cooldown, the egg sat at 300 for quote a while, I was curious so I tried to open it and it wouldn't budge! Even while hot! I could literally lift a XL with the handle. 

    Now that the egg is cold, I made some research and I figure the glue melted and welded the lid to the base. I think I need to use a paint tool to scrape in between the base and the lid so I can open it again and that, in a -20 weather. Fun times ahead...


    Quebec - Canada
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
    edited January 2013
    Wow @Bjorg , that is a pain! We normally get down to that temp or -25 C several days every Winter. It has been mild and only gone down to -11 C so far this Winter. But thanks to you I now know you can still overheat an Egg at any temperature I'll be cooking in. I have been warned.

    Hope you are able to restore your Egg to working condition without too much trouble.

  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
    jfm0830 said:
    . When it rose to "200" degrees, it was really 1,000 degrees.  Yikes!!!
    Jim,   So, how is your gasket?
    While some might consider that a rather personal question, I am happy to say the new high temperature grey gasket looks as good as new. <BR><BR>

    I had no troubles on this Egg getting virtually perfect alignment of the lid and bottom and the metal ring bands. So no over or underbite and it passed the dollar bill test with flying colors. I'm sure this helped protect the gasket too.

  • Plano_JJPlano_JJ Posts: 448
    Jim, I learned the same lesson Christmas day (although not as extreme). I had rain, then ice then snow hitting the front of my egg while cooking a turkey and the needle never budged off 350.
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
    jfm0830 said:
    jfm0830 said:
    . When it rose to "200" degrees, it was really 1,000 degrees.  Yikes!!!
    Jim,   So, how is your gasket?
    While some might consider that a rather personal question, I am happy to say the new high temperature grey gasket looks as good as new. 
    Oops. Upon further review under sunlight as opposed to dim light at night, I must report there was some damage done. So ignore my first assessment. There was some burning in 3 places and the whole gasket is now a slightly darker color grey. After poking around the burnt spots they still are sound and aren't flaking away. I think if I don't do anything silly like this again I will still get a lot of use out of this gasket.

  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 901
    edited January 2013
    Plano_JJ said:
    Jim, I learned the same lesson Christmas day (although not as extreme). I had rain, then ice then snow hitting the front of my egg while cooking a turkey and the needle never budged off 350.
    That is good to know. When I was expecting imminent rain I used to crank up my CG Smokin' Pro 20-30 degrees just before the rain moved in to try to compensate. I was also just thinking the welders blanket I bought for it last Winter wouldn't take kindly to getting wet-so I'd need to take it off in the rain. 

    I remember thinking a few years ago that all the great things the Eggheads said about their Eggs just sounded too good to be true. Boy have I been proven wrong. And I don't mind being proven wrong one bit.

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