Hi there folks,
I wanted to share a funny story with you from when I first decided to start moving beyond grilling and into roasting. In fact this story is about my very first try! (There’s a hidden message here. Keep your eyes peeled and you might spot it!)
So I had a hooded bbq grill that my Dad had bought for me as a Christmas gift. It was a cheap’n’cheerful four burner gas job which had served me faithfully for three years. I had cooked a full spectrum of fantastic meals on that BBQ including a meal for a party of 25. I must have used that loyal little ‘Q three nights a week for three full years.
Now let’s back track a little…
I remember growing up in the 80’s and 90’s around BBQ’s with flames leaping high above the food that was on it and when I asked why it was happening, I was told that it was just the fat and that it added to the flavour. Then, when I asked how we were going to clean it up, I was told that you should ‘never clean your BBQ coz you’ll wipe away all the flavour’. This was something that I heard several times from several people over the years and it stuck with me. Perhaps you’ve heard it too?
Now back to the story at hand…
And so, after three years of regular grilling, I decided to take a giant leap and roast my first chicken. I had dutifully read my little BBQ recipe book, got myself a chicken and spiced it up accordingly. My BBQ was sitting up against the back wall of my house tucked nicely under the eaves. It had previously been under the eaves of the Bali hut but thankfully I’d moved it.
The recipe said to preheat the BBQ to 180 degrees Celsius. So, being the keen BBQ’er that I am, and anxious to make sure I followed the instructions to the letter, I dutifully turned on my burners and stood waiting for the temperature gauge on the hood to hit 180 degrees. While I was waiting, I decided to clean up my garden shed, which was right beside the BBQ. I was in there rearranging my shovels when I suddenly heard a ‘WHOOF!’ and knowing it was bad, ran out of the shed back to the BBQ where I saw flames leaping almost a metre into the air off the top of the hood, reaching to about twenty centimetres below the eaves!
It was a really surreal moment. My stomach leaped into the back of my throat, and hit the floor at the same time. Smoke filled my nostrils and clouded my eyes. My voice broke with fear and I’m pretty sure I smelled poop.
Fortunately the fire was on the left side of the BBQ as I was looking at it, and the gas bottle was on the right, so I reached in under the BBQ and turned off the gas bottle, shouting for my wife that the BBQ was on fire. I ran around the corner and got the hose and then hosed down the BBQ. My wife arrived with a box of Baking Soda and started throwing that on the fire too. Between us, we managed to put out the fire. Miraculously, the house was undamaged and we were so lucky that the gas bottle didn’t blow up and kill us all.
It appears that what happened was that as the BBQ got hotter and hotter, something, either a scrap of food or the three-year-baked-on-grease caught fire and burned so hot that it actually then set the ‘flame-proof paint’ on fire.
From the photos you can see that the fire started from under the hood, inside the grill. It spread out the back of the grill, over the top, and all the way down the front to the handle. Thanks to the water from the hose, the metal was all warped including the hot and grill plates inside. The BBQ was a complete right-off, the least of my worries, I know.
The lesson was clear – Keep your BBQ’s clean people!
So now, every Spring I pull all my BBQ’s down and clean them top to bottom, inside and out. And anytime I hear someone say that you shouldn’t clean a BBQ, I always respond with ‘Did I tell you about the time I almost blew up my house?’…