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Early Morning Emergency - Egg out of control!

ThinkandDriveThinkandDrive Posts: 84
edited 7:49PM in EggHead Forum
So, somehow I agreed to make a turkey for the office luncheon this afternoon. I am reprising my Mexican brined Pavo al Horno De la Brasa.

I set up the fire last night following Max's directions. The top layer was packed pretty tightly with small bits of charcoal. I woke up this morning and lit the fire at 6AM, an hour ago. It was doing pretty well. But it's raining here and I think there's a lot of moisture in the air. The fire was climbing up through 300 steadily with the platesetter in place, but I needed to get the turkey on to make the time.

Threw on a handful of soaked mesquite chips. I noticed that there were flames coming up around the platesetter. I thought the fire was just still in it's flaming up stage and would settle. Temp dropped to 200 but started climbing again.

Now, with the turkey on (temp was at 350), the temp is out of control. At one time, the thermometer read 500, there were BLUE FLAMES shooting out of the top. I closed stuff down a little and got those to go out.

The thing will flashback if I even fart at it now! I'm worried about the turkey inside. It's only been on for ten minutes. I closed the draft and the daisy as much as I felt I could to get the temp to drop. I tapped the thermometer and it immediately dropped to 350 again. I think the thermometer might be stuck (moisture inside rusted something?)

Is she this volatile because she's packed so tight and has no oxygen? I placed a small fan at the bottom directed into the draft (while lighting) and the flames definitely reacted. So I think there's a good airflow.

Even though the bird is on, I'm going to be babysitting this fire to keep it from climbing out of control.



  • Okay. So in the time it took to post this, walk downstairs, and go back out to check, the temp is holding at 300 and no signs of flames.

    I guess this was just her way of telling me she didn't appreciate being woken up so early. :lol:

    Still going to monitor this one VERY carefully!
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    sounds like you lit it, kept vents open, and put the turkey on right away?

    did you?
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • If you had enough air for the mesquite chips to ignite, that would account for flames and a temp spike.
    The Naked Whiz
  • Stike, I had the vent to about an inch. Usually to get to the 300's, I close it to about a half-inch. But I think the extra fat load of lump required it to be open a bit more. The daisy wheel was swung closed with the vent turned to full open.

    I think Whiz might be on to it. Just that little bit of flames from the chips (WHY doesn't anyone carry chunks around here!?) might have been enough to kick off a flash when opened.

    I just basted the bird for the first time and it's looking pretty good. skin is already splitting on the wings , but I never eat those anyhow.
  • Eggs don't think, sulk, or get a TUDE. They may huff and puff, but it's mostly us. After all we're only Solient Green. What do we know. Relax and enjoy. Miles out.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the chips won't ignite unless you have too much air. the chunks would ignite too in the same environment.

    i think the W is right. you were reading flame temps, not dome temp.

    still sounds like the chips and turkey may have gone in before you had a stable temp. hopefully the turkey will not taste like charcoal at start-up, which is a very different sort of smoke.

    just to reinforce the point about chips. even at 700 degrees, you can toss in chips (or sticks or whatever) and they will not burst into flame. i know it's counter intuitive, but it's true (for the most part). dry chips still need air to burst into flame. in a stable egg (temp-wise) all the air is consumed as it comes up through the lump. if there were excess air, the dome temp would rise. once it tops out, though, there is virtually no spare air in the egg. and wood sitting on the lump will flare up if the dome is open, but once shut, the flames die quickly. a chunk of wood that burns around 400 degrees will be sitting on a bed of 1200 degree lump, and will simply smolder.

    cool thing.

    that's why you'll find newly made charcoal in your egg the next time you use it. after shutting down, any left over wood is sitting in a high-temp low-oxygen environment. ...and that's how you make charcoal.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Yeah. I thought it was a clean fire by that point, but I guess it wasn't quite.

    It's been almost two hours now and hasn't given me another problem. In fact, the smoke is sweet and clean now.

    I think it, at the most, got five minutes of the unclean fire. Not too worried about it.

    Thanks for your help, guys!
  • crghc98crghc98 Posts: 1,006
    just ordered some chunks from and the price with shipping wasn't too bad....

    the 1 cf box is about 38 bucks including shipping and weighed in at about 24 lbs of wood.

    They don't have apple or pecan chunks though they do have sugar maple and cherry.
  • Nice. I might have to stock up.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    that is an awful lot. i'm going to go into the chunk business.

    go buy a board or two of cabinet grade cherry, maple, etc. and cut it up. save yourself some money!
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Just to pick a little nit, the "air" is not consumed, the oxygen is consumed. The air is still there. A vacuum has not been formed. It's just that the composition of the air has been altered. Oxygen is what is necessary for flame, not necessarily "air". You got it right in your closing sentence, but throughout the previous paragraph you talked about "air" being consumed.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you are correct on both counts. i did say 'air', and you were nitpicking.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Ebay has tons of wood chunks and so does amazon. shipping is not too bad when you get chunks from them.
    I got 2 giant burlap bags of hickory and apple from some guy in south bend, IN. He sanded them and cut them into nice semi-uniform chunks. Also check your local craigslist. People are always trying to sell something
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    Well if you truly want to nitpick about it. Oxygen is not "consumed". It combines with the Hydrogen and Carbon to form Hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are rapidly transformed into energy when in the presence of heat which releases CO2 and H2O.

    The Oxygen still exists, but it is now combined with other trace elements.

    No stike I didn't google this one.
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    You are correct. Transformed would be a better word than consumed, but then, it was Stike's word. Nevertheless, the air is still there, it's make up has changed, and the oxygen available for combustion has been transformed, therefore, no flame.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it isn't transformed either, if you two are going to pick nits.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    Just plain don't care at this point. "Air" is not consumed. Oxygen is used, converted, transformed, whatever you want to call it, it is no longer available as what fire or people need to breathe.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    don't get me wrong, i don't care either. i simply used everyday speech. i won't make that mistake again. nothing but subatomic particles and avogadro's number from here on out.

    i just enjoyed you and CW going around and around saying the same thing, although somehow managing to argue, and simultaneously still ignoring the actual point i was making.

    because most of us don't have oxygen tanks attached to the egg, we do need air for it to burn. your hairsplitting that it's the oxygen in the air that we need is correct. as for consumed/burned/transformed. that's all horseh!t semantics.

    one can say it's consumed without meaning we violated physics and 'destroyed' matter. just as you two can assert that it's 'transformed' when it isn't. we know what you meant, and i'm pretty sure you knew what i meant.

    gold star for you today. you want it on your paper or your forehead?

    just to be utterly clear here. i'm enjoying the banter, not being adversarial. i don't use enough smileys sometimes to get it across, but this is more about good fun than proving who had better grades in Mr. Nussbaum's Physics 101 class.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Errr Just for the record, he bird turned out great.

    Back to science class. :)
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