Grease Fire in My Bull! What did I do wrong

JamesB

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I’ve been very careful to keep clean foil, clean grates, and clean sear plates in my RT-700. Last night I was cooking eight bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs along with mixed vegies marinated in Italian dressing.

I had the temp set to 395, and as everything reached the desired internal temperatures, I opened the Bull and had an instantaneous grease fire that just about singed my face.

Any suggestions about what caused it and how to avoid a repeat would be greatly appreciated.
 

SmokeOCD

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It must have been the veggies - I had 10 lbs of skin on thighs going last night at 400.
If it was my grill that went up in flames I would have blamed the placement of the chicken, so the fat missed the drip pan an seeped down towards the burning pellets. With 8 thighs, that seems less likely.
The Kamados do something similar sometimes, if you just crack open the lid a little and set it back down for a second - then open it up as usual; you can avoid the fireball.
 

JamesB

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Thanks for the input. I cleaned everything again, discovered that the pellet bin was empty, now it won’t light up at all
 

C. Keeper

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But…that’s not what you told me, @Homer !
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SmokeZilla

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You will need to sort out the variables and do a little forensics work. Was the grill level or pointing with the chimney side up hill? What about front to back levels? What about proper placement on the drain end? Was the drain pan covered or did something interfere with the 90 degree angles at the edges of it? Did any consumable extend beyond the drain pan? Was the grease drain blocked or covered? Were you cooking something that contained an unspent piece of ordinance? Was it unicorn meat that is known for its explosive properties? I guess you kind of get my point. If/when you find the root cause, please share. We could all be equally vulnerable and could use the “heads-up”.
 
Last edited:

Pacman

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@SmokeZilla has some good forensics. My Recteq is parked in my side yard. It really hasn't been an issue except for when my Grillgrates weren't positioned right and I dripped grease down the front of the grill as well as past the drip pan into the barrel. That was corrected.

I parked a Blackstone next to the Recteq and realized the wildly crazy slope everything was sitting on. Everything was pooling in the right front corner. I leveled out the Blackstone with a handful of shims. I can see that a leaning Recteq could also be problematic.
 

Waterboy

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@JamesB in addition to the slope issues others have brought up you mentioned that you foil the drip pan. Is your foil really smooth or are there wrinkles and high/low spots in the foil? That can cause grease from the chicken as well as the Italian dressing to pool rather than run off giving you a cocktail for a good grease fire.
 

JamesB

Member
Messages
18
You will need to sort out the variables and do a little forensics work. Was the grill level or pointing with the chimney side up hill? What about front to back levels? What about proper placement on the drain end? Was the drain pan covered or did something interfere with the 90 degree angles at the edges of it? Did any consumable extend beyond the drain pan? Was the grease drain blocked or covered? Were you cooking something that contained an unspent piece of ordinance? Was it unicorn meat that is known for its explosive properties? I guess you kind of get my point. If/when you find the root cause, please share. We could all be equally vulnerable and could use the “heads-up”.
I think the culprit has been identified. I’m inclined to think it was the oil in the Italian dressing, because my Bull is on a flat cement slab, the chimney is straight, there’s no clog in the grease drain, and I replace the foil frequently keeping it as smoothly flattened as possible. I have to admit that I didn’t check the veggies or the chicken thighs for unexplored ordinance though….
 

SmokeZilla

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Glad you were able to get it sorted. Wishing you some great future cooks.
 

JR2BAIL

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I’ve caught the drip pan on fire before while doing bacon @ 400, which produces a lot of oil on the pan and ignites on its own, which I never foil anymore. When using foil I’ve found grease just doesn’t flow as well and can puddle up a bit to put an off taste to the food I’m cooking..also when I foil my temps can be wonky…I know that’s odd but it never happens w/o foil. Just make sure to scrap it (drip pan) down between cooks. And regarding bacon…when using the RT Grill Matts the bacon comes out perfect shaped and flat as you use a lower temp to cook…and no fire.
 

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