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Help! I started a fire in my gas bbq (again)!

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  • Mandy Sep 9, 2009 08:05 PM
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So I put two deliciously marbled prime steaks on the bbq tonight. After turning them, I went into the house for less than five minutes, which was enough time for smoke to start pouring out of the vents. By then the flames were too big for me to open the lid, so I stood helplessly by as my steaks charred. (We ate hot dogs.) How do I avoid this in future, or, fix it if it does happen again?

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  1. take your food off, leave the lid open, and let it burn off. you likely have a build up of grease that will catch fire with little provocation. letting it burn will get rid of it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tommy

      Weber charcoal kettle grills will not flame when closed. That and the flavors are why I love them. The oxygen is insufficient. Many others with lids will not flame when the lids are closed; that is a bonus.
      Eternal vigilance is the key to not losing steaks to the flames, and when caught early, a squirt bottle or squirt gun may be sufficient to tame the flame.
      Like Tommy said, you can also move the steaks away from the flame ( or take them off) and wait until the dripping grease burns off.

      1. re: Phood

        If a Gas grill, why not turn off the gas at the knob? Your grill must be putting out some serious BTU. If your grill is that hot, grill steaks lid open, turning steaks about every 3-5 min. Dont leave until steaks are done and off the grill.

        1. re: Phood

          it sounds to me like this was more than just an issue of dripping grease, which is why i'm suggesting the burn-off.

          with regard to BTU's and turning off the gas mentioned by SAguy, that won't necessarily help if built up grease is burning on the interior of the grill (and it's not a function of BTUs).

      2. Fire good! It's a great way to get a nice char on the outside, while leaving a nice pink center.

        But, you ask, how to avoid in the future? Clean your grill, esp. the bottom.

        How to "fix" it (if by "fix" you mean to put out the grease fire)? Pour salt or baking soda over the fire and NEVER use water.

        1. This just happened to us this past weekend when we were cooking salmon. The problem was not so much the salmon alone but the accumulation of gunk in the tray below that ignited when salmon fat was added to it. Have you cleaned that out lately? FYI, we didn' t open the lid, we just took the garden hose and sprayed underneath, put the fire out and saved the fish (except for the skin).

          1. Jfood has been cooking on a gas Weber wor 25+ years so he can give some guidance from the been there done that school. In fact jfood had this occur last night with a nice ribe eye, but easily saved.

            For well marbled prime, DO NOT close the top. keep the flames on high if you can cook fully with a char on the outside. If the steak is too thick to handle this process, turn one of the three burners off immediately after you light the grill. jfood usually does the front as the "off" burner. Then cook the steak with an open lid on the back half where the grill is hot. When the char is there, move the steak to the front where there is no heat and close the top, creating a convection oven to finish the steak to the 130-135 temp

            Hope that helps

            1 Reply
            1. re: jfood

              What he said. Don't close the lid, and don't walk away. Prime ribeye has more than enough fat to feed a major conflagration even with a clean grill.

              One more thing - keep a squirt bottle full of water handy. If you start to get flare-ups, you can knock them down with a quick spritz. Once the grill's in full bonfire mode, it's too late; your best bet is to pull the steaks off and let the grease fire burn itself out.

            2. Never close the lid and walk away, especially if you're grilling high fat meats. I never close the lid when grilling steaks -- I grill over a high flame, lid open. At the end, I turn off the burners, close the lid, and let the meat sit for a minute. Never had a fire this way.

              And keep a water bottle on hand in case you need to douse a fire.