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She ain't never done that before.

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    She ain't never done that before.

    My work schedule has really been cutting into my cooking time for the last year or so, and I've decided to see what I can do with the time I have. First up was a SVQ bone in pork shoulder. This was an easy choice since I had one bagged up in the freezer, and pulled pork is always a hit at work.
    Sunday was my first day off in a couple of weeks, so it was go time. Step one was to give it a nekked 165° bath for 20 hours. I then drained off the purge, rebadged it, and gave it a 3 hour soak in the sink filled with water and a bag of ice. At this point, I thought, "I should have taken a picture or two of this" I didn't, but I know most of you will forgive me. The ones that don't, will have to get over it, because I know I have. 😜
    Fast-forward to Tuesday, and it was time to do the Q of my SVQ plan. I cut the shoulder in half hoping to maximize bark, gave it a good rub of Spice House KC Rub. No way was I wasting my limited supply of Hanks for an experiment, the Spice House stuff is good enough for testing anyway.
    From here I went to the tried and true DLX 24 set for 275° and assisted by a smoke tube filled with hickory chips. Figuring out how to get smoke flavor and run higher temps on a pellet pooper is a wonderful thing that I highly recommend. The plan was to take the meat up to an internal of 160°, shred, mix in the reheated sparge, add some more of the rub, a little bbq sauce, and see what we ended up with. It was a good plan. It's simple, what could go wrong?
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    First hint of trouble was an hour in and the Fireboard said that my average temperature in the cooker was 220°, and the max had been 250°. That's odd for my pooper, but hey, I'm busy, it's pork shoulder, and really, what can go wrong? Well to start with you can get an alert that you cooker temp has dropped below 190°. Then you can go out and find out that the auger is turning, the fan is running, but your temp is dropping fast. Well crap on a cracker, I don't have time for this.

    First response was to get the oven heating up just in case, grab a sheet pan plus the tongs, and then back outside to see if we can get the pooper up and running again. Using the pellet dump I was able to see that the auger was actually turning, so all seemed good there. I could hear the fan running, so nothing to worry about there. And usually once things get going, there is no reason for the ignitor to fire up.

    ​​​​​ Gee Scooby, we got us a real mystery here. However, being smarter than the average bear, I knew exactly what to do. First , unplug everything, and then plug it back in so we are starting fresh. After all, what could go wrong? Those of you with pellet poopers probably know the answer to this, but don't ruin it for everyone else. The good old DLX starts up, and begins feeding pellets into the burn pot, the fan kicks on, and in short order we have climbing temps again. Phineas J. Whoopee, you're a genius! And the temp is still climbing. 275°, 300°, 325° and it's also getting louder. Hmm... We'd better take a look in there and see what's going on. Boy, there sure is a lot of bright orange under the heat deflector. I wonder what that means?

    At this point I decided that I had seen all there was to see in my colon, and it was now time to look elsewhere for the answers to this problem.

    First off, SAVE THE MEAT! On to the sheet pan it goes. Next up, save the temp probes and the Fireboard. With those secure, it's now time to deal with that other little problem I have.

    I did take the time to get a picture, and for those of you that don't know, this is what a pile of stupid, combined with a handful of bad decisions looks like up close and personal, this is it.

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    Like the farmer said when his cow died. Huh, she ain't never done that before.

    Luckily for me my dear Mother often battled for the title of Queen of the Kitchen Fire, so this was not my first time on this ride. Lid goes down, power is disconnected. That should cut the air supply down by a lot. Next, grab the hose. Yeah dummy, it's Winter in Wisconsin. The hose got put away a month ago. And why exactly do you think spraying water at a fire with a fair amount of grease in it is going to be a good idea? Oh, by the way, there is an ABC fire extinguisher, about 10 feet away, maybe grab that instead. Again, you have studied your colon in great detail, there is nothing more to see there.

    So, with the fire extinguisher in hand I did a mental check of my situation. There was no longer flames coming out of every crack and gap. That's a good thing. The source of the fire is under the heat shield, so there is no good way to get at it with the extinguisher anyway. Plus, to try and put the fire out means opening the lid and give my little orange monster a big rush of fresh air. Umm... I think we're going to take a step back and see how this plays out. All said and done, this was probably the best decision I made in the last couple of minutes. The fire put itself out, and I don't have to go search for the thread where CaptainMike explains how to clean up the mess a fire extinguisher makes. Life is good.

    I know the real question here is, how did the pork turn out? Well, I'll tell you. After finishing getting it up to temp in the oven, it was pretty good. There was not a lot bark, but some. The smoke profile was very light, but it was there. And after mixing in most of the sparge from the SV plus a little BBQ sauce, the end result was a perfectly eatable, and moist pulled pork. Not my best, but far from my worst. Normally I QVQ instead of SVQ meats, and I may stick with that going forward, but given what it took to get there, I was happy with the results. I was out time at this point, so no plated pics.
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    Last edited by willxfmr; December 29, 2021, 07:23 AM.

    #2
    Thanks for a great write-up. As someone with a PhD in study of my colon, I feel your pain.

    Comment


      #3
      Wow, Thanks for the pictures. Glad you were able to save the meat, which looks good by the way.

      Comment


        #4

        Comment


          #5
          Dayum! What an experience. Glad nobody got hurt!

          Comment


            #6
            Been there, willxfmr! My OG fire had gone out, check it, reset it and it was going great. I was in the kitchen and heard "BOOM"! The blast opened the sliding door and fire was shooting out. Unplugged OG (turns off the fan), shut the door and dumped pellets out of the hopper (to prevent burnback). Then got to thinking what caused it. The OG fire had been out for about 30 minutes. I didn't pull the deflector shield out and clean out the pellets that had been dumped for 30 minutes. Excess fuel caused explosion. This can happen with any pellet grill!

            So, lesson learned is that if the fire goes out, take the grill down to firepot and make sure there's not pellets where pellets shouldn't be.

            After cleaning, the OG cooks just as good as it did before.

            Comment


            • willxfmr
              willxfmr commented
              Editing a comment
              What saved me was not walking away as soon as the temps started coming back up, and having the hopper empty already. I'm not sure how this would have turned out if I hadn't been watching it.

            #7
            Great writeup. And folks, I think that's why most cookers are painted black.

            Comment


              #8
              So, I’ve, never heard of front sear on pork shoulders. But that was an interesting recap on how you set that up to happen! I kept saying, don’t use the extinguisher… glad you didn’t have to do that next.

              Comment


                #9
                Glad you were not hurt and the meat was saved. What is the status of the pellet cooker?

                Comment


                • willxfmr
                  willxfmr commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm not sure yet. It is back in the garage waiting for a good cleaning and inspection.

                #10
                Originally posted by willxfmr View Post
                After all, what could go wrong? Those of you with pellet poopers probably know the answer to this, but don't ruin it for everyone else.
                Can you recap the things to look out for, for those of us without a pellet unit yet?

                Comment


                • grantgallagher
                  grantgallagher commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Second this. Im still learning my pellet cooker and have had some wonky situations so detail appreciated.

                • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
                  ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If the fire goes out, clean the dang thing before restarting. Also clean the dang thing

                #11
                Originally posted by WillTravelForFood View Post

                Can you recap the things to look out for, for those of us without a pellet unit yet?
                As somebody with a pellet pooper that had a fire before, I think what he’s referring to is this:

                the auger was continuing to feed pellets on the assumption there was still a fire burning in the burn pot. And it was trying to add fuel to get the temp up. Those pellets can, and do spill over the pot and into the belly of the cooker. When you unplug the cooker and then plug it back in( or turn it off and on again), the cooker has no knowledge of all that prior fuel, so it does it’s normal startup routine, which is to feed some more pellets and ignite the igniter.

                the igniter now lights all of those pellets, and the convection fan blows the fire which sets fire to the excess pellets that spilled in the belly of the cooker where some grease has inevitably accumulated.

                Best case, uncontrolled pellet fire in the cooker that eventually extinguished when you shut the cooker off and the pellets burn out. Worse case, grease fire that burns itself out eventually like in this case and doesn’t catch fire to nearby structures. Worst case - well you can imagine!

                after having this happen once, I clean the burn pot and cooker barrel out much more often and have an extinguisher nearby.
                Last edited by GoDuke; December 29, 2021, 10:42 AM.

                Comment


                • CandySueQ
                  CandySueQ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You said it better than me GoDuke!

                • willxfmr
                  willxfmr commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That is a perfect explanation of how it happens. Bottom line is, if you have a flame out, strip it down and see what's going on before trying to re-light it. That means grates out, heat deflector out, and a give the fire pot a good look over.
                  Last edited by willxfmr; December 29, 2021, 03:34 PM.

                #12
                Originally posted by GoDuke View Post

                As somebody with a pellet pooper that had a fire before, I think what he’s referring to is this:
                Thanks for the write-up. Assumed that excess pellets was the issue, but didn't know for sure how/why.

                Might not be a good place for this particular question: which pellet units are *harder* or *easier* to get to the heat pot and surrounding area for cleaning/clearing in case this comes up, or is this access pretty much standard across all pellet units?

                Comment


                • Jfrosty27
                  Jfrosty27 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  My Recteq RT-700 is a breeze to clean out the burn pot. Only experience I have with that.

                • CandySueQ
                  CandySueQ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  None of them are hard, it's just a matter of getting the deflector shield or drip tray (sometimes the same) out. If the cooker's hot, get your welding gloves. Easiest one I ever had was an FEC100. It's a big cabinet and when you open the door, the entire cooker is open. Every cooker is different!

                • willxfmr
                  willxfmr commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I really want to find out how easy/hard it is on the LSG pooper, but we are at 16 weeks and still waiting for it to arrive.

                #13
                oh, and how does one go about cleaning that area, especially if the cook isn't finished and stuff's still hot?

                Comment


                • willxfmr
                  willxfmr commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If you catch it before things get out of hand, then you can pretty easily clean out the excess pellets by hand. I have a 6" drywall knife that is dedicated just to cooker cleaning. It works well for scraping and scooping ash and gunk out.

                #14
                One thing reading this did for me was get me off the dime to clean my Pit Boss vertical p-smoker, which I've been noticing could use it. BTW getting to the burn pot on these babies is ultra-easy, one simply lifts off the metal box that serves as a diverter, and there it is. You can't not know exactly how many pellets there are in there. And I never go more than about 10-12 hours of operation without shop-vac'ing everything out. Knock wood...!

                Edit: Here's the before & after on my Pit Boss. Yowza! It needed cleaning a lot more than I realized. I fired it up to the lowest-T setting for ten minutes, let it sit for another ten, and used PB's degreaser/cleaner spray. Having things warmer than the mid-50s ambient T was clearly helpful.

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                Last edited by DaveD; December 29, 2021, 02:25 PM.

                Comment


                • CandySueQ
                  CandySueQ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good job!

                • willxfmr
                  willxfmr commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm amazed you got the window to clean up so well! Looks great.

                • DaveD
                  DaveD commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I am amazed too! I never thought I'd see either bare metal or transparent glass again... having the box warm had to be the key.

                #15
                Originally posted by WillTravelForFood View Post
                oh, and how does one go about cleaning that area, especially if the cook isn't finished and stuff's still hot?
                VERY unlikely you would need to do this while cooking if you kept up with it after cooks. And you don't need to do it every cook, or even every other cook. Really only need to do it every few long cooks. If it happens mid-cook it's too late. At that point, take the food off and put it in the oven, shut the grill down, close off any air you can, make sure there's nothing flammable nearby and see if you can choke it off. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.

                But really, if you do some basic maintenance (which I was too lazy to do) periodically, it's easy

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