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runaway heat

I have been doing a lot of low heat slow cooks this summer as well as normal grilling of steaks. I have a large egg and a BBQ Guru Pit viper controller.  Tonight I fired up the grill for 425 indirect heating and the grill smoked more than normal.  Normally when I add new charcoal it smokes until it gets to 300 degrees then it is clear.  Tonight it smoked heavily with no signs of stopping and when I opened it up there were flames all across the top of the plate setter and I  had a fully developed grease fire going.  Propping the lid so it opened by about 1" only made it hotter even though the smoke was less. Ended up I couldn't use the grill and had to burn it out to clean up the grease by burning it off.  The egg went to 750 when the blower was removed and the bottom opened fully and no top grate to restrict airflow.  After about 1/2 an hour the flames subsided and the coals were all glowing.  I decided to allow it to burn all of the coals completely and really bake out all of the accumulated grease.  

I have been up to 450 between slow roasts for a steak and I assumed that would burn off any residual fat that I couldn't scrape off the grid or the top of the plate setter.  Apparently I was wrong.  

Has this happened to anyone else?  And what can I do to prevent this from happening? My egg is in a nest on my enclosed screened back deck with a large natural drafting canopy hood over it feeding into a triple wall duct chimney.  But runaway fires even under a canopy are spooky as it is essentially indoors.   


  • GregWGregW Posts: 1,735
    When I do any kind of low and slow that has the potential to render any amount of fat, I always use a drip pan. The pan prevents accumulation of grease in the egg.
    If for any reason I'm using the plate setter without a drip pan. I always cover it with aluminium foil to prevent grease buildup on the plate setter. 
    Birmingham, AL
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 17,083
    As above with @GregW - eliminate the grease accumulation (don't let it accumulate anywhere on a surface or pan where you can remove it).  The BGE may run on small fires but where the fire is, it is quite hot and a shot of combustible grease fueled with increased oxygen and watch the the show. FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • While I don't use a controller, I would ditch it for any cook over 325. With it all you did is force feed the fire more fuel, and I'm sure the tempature probes can't handle much above 500. Once you got to that point you probably had a runaway fan. And as @GregW suggested, cover your PS with foil and use a drip pan for low and slows that will render a lot of fat. 
    Medium BGE , iGrill2
    Virginia Beach, VA
  • Thanks for the comments, I only use the controller for low temp, long burns and I always use a drip pan but I guess I got sloppy.  Actually obviously I got sloppy!  Well I burned it all clean with a full hot controller less fire and now I have to be more careful.   
  • Glad your experience was not a fire in your cooking "shack". Low and slows that render fat must have a drip pan that has some air around it. Support the drip pan on the setter with foil balls, copper T's, strips of tile or some kind of rack, air between the pan and the deflector will minimize any chance of the drip pan catching fire. Easier to throw out the rendered fat than to burn it off. The fat that the ceramic absorbs is a different thing, alternating hot and cooler fires helps avoid the accumulation. 
    Further, when cooking something like a burger, direct heat with fat dripping on the lump, it is best if you let the egg run at 500º or so for at least 5-10 minutes after you take the burgers off, this will burn off the drippings and you will have no issues when you fire up the next time. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • dougcranndougcrann Posts: 1,129
    drip pan...elevated off the plate setter..I use a controller as well, but only for extended temps under 300 or so, anything over that I go naked....
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 27,293
    Yep, like others said, you need to manage the fat.
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Great input.  I am having a difficulty getting the egg above 300, I am cooking Pizza and need 500 which I do get at times.  The issue is that I cannot predict when I get the upper temp I give it about 2 hours, should I start with more fuel, I am filling to the top of the ring and starting with a Weber starter can and BGA fuel.  thanks, Dkardo
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