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flashbacks can occur at 350 degrees

deepsouthdeepsouth Posts: 1,796
edited 12:35PM in EggHead Forum
just a heads up.....

i was going to put food on my Big Green Egg last night and i had the bottom draft door about 1/3rd open and the top was set to hold a temp of 350-400 degrees.

when i walked out to the egg, i noted the temp to be 350 degrees. i slowly lifted the top to "burp" the egg and noticed no smoke coming out. everything seemed fine.....

i then lifted the top of the egg and everything started happening in what seemed to be slow motion.

a fire started in the bottom and for some reason, i began backing up. the fire traveled up into the top of the egg and big long tongue of fire came toward me, head level, and i could actually feel the heat on my forehead and shoulder. fortunately, i had backed far enough away to avoid any burns whatsoever.

just a heads up.... your grill doesn't have to it's hottest possible to get a pretty decent flashback.


  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i have found that there are different kinds of "flashbacks". i use the quote marks only because i am sure there are some pyro experts who say flashover and flash backs are different, but i dunno...

    the low temp 'flashes' occur when i have a full load of lump and not quite a fully involved fire. it seems like the fire will sometimes chuff out of the lower vent opening, looking for oxygen.

    and other times, the lower temp flashes occur repeatedly, when opening the dome. had it happen once where you could open the dome five times in fairly quick succession and you'd get a "whoomp". in that case, i was thinking it was maybe the charcoal dust. all those ignition points ready to go, like dust in the air of a silo, and when the oxygen hits them, they ignite.

    anyway. you are right. under the 'right' (or is it 'wrong?') conditions, you can gets ballz-o-fyre shooting from the BGE at any number of dome temps.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,673
    I got a couple last night around 350-375 as well. Brand new lump. Needless to say I have no hair on the knuckles of my right hand anymore.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • srq2625srq2625 Posts: 262
    I had a similar event last week-end. Temp was between 350 and 400, both vents fully open, but the fire was not fully evolved as there was still a lot of the early smoke coming out the top. Once in while it would chuff out the top and the bottom vent and, for a moment, exhaust gases would be clear .... followed by more smoke.

    My conclusion is that the chuffing was caused by a combination of a fire that was just hot enough and an abundance of VOCs in the smoke. Every once in while, the oxy concentration would get high enough to explosivly combust the VOCs. After about 5 such episodes over the course of about 10 minutes, the exhaust gases went completely clear - I figure the fire had finally finished boiling off the VOCs.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I wish I could have gotten a pic from yesterday. ;)

    30 min's after lighting my egg I noticed my fire stalled (it just sat there at 100F)so I poked up from the bottom with my wiggle rod and got a whoosh out the bottom! :woohoo: Then it took off like a jet engine. I was shooting for a 250F dome but, I let it shoot up past 500F for a couple minutes then I set the egg up for 250F dome with the bottom draft and daisy wheel. It was fun to watch this animal I created because my egg was snorting out the bottom then the top back and forth like that until my fire and oxygen equalized with the lump in the egg. :laugh:
  • Well if this is the only disavantage to the egg... I'll take it :laugh:
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    You are right,they can.I have noticed flareups seem to occur more frequently when cooking with the bottom vent partially closed.I have started leaving the bottom vent completely open and regulating my temp with the Daisy top.Except for lo n slos.I also open the daisy for a few seconds before opening the lid then reset when I close the lid.I don't have near the issues I used to have with flashbacks.
  • KMagnusKMagnus Posts: 114
    I've had the exact same things happen.

    There have been times I've thought the dome temp wasn't raising as I expect and decide to peek and see what's going on. After the "whoomp" flame that engulfs the full interior, the temperature shoots up a couple of hundred degrees very quickly.

    Seems like the oxygen flow is being reduced by a combination of atmospheric conditions and the amount of lump I've got loaded - and then that fresh burst of oxygen sets everything off.

    Just lets me know to tone back on the liquid beverages until the cook is thorougly underway.

  • JasperJasper Posts: 378
    I've noticed myself not caring so much about flashbacks in the winter months. When I'm egging, I have a thick coat and thick leather work gloves on. The flames come up and I just keep my head back.

    Since I've been not so careful, last Friday, I didn't have my coat on as I was just going to quickly check on something and poof, there goes my arm hairs. :laugh: Had my sweater sleeves rolled up.
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