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06/21/2006: "fire fun"

I can't imagine how I forgot to mention this tidbit. I got to live every pyromaniac's dream - well, sort of. At the same time, I actually got worried about the results. Curious? Here's a hint - bacon and barbeque.

It was Father's day, and as I didn't get the traditional breakfast in bed, I got a Father's Day supper of blueberry pancakes, fruit salad, and bacon. YUM. (I stuffed myself to the point where I was almost sick, but boy was it good.) Of course, it was a very, VERY hot day that day, and we simply couldn't bring ourselves to fry bacon in the house with the air on. (Although we did cook pancakes... huh.) So, we did what we've seen done before - we cooked our bacon on the barbeque.

Now, when we last saw that done, a cookie sheet was used as the frying surface. I don't have a disposable cookie sheet (well, I do, but there's no way I could get it clean enough to put bacon on it), so I dug up one of the aluminum perforated grilling trays that we have in the basement, and typically use for grilling marinated veggies. I figured it should work just fine.

And it did, for the most part. About 3/4 of the way through cooking the bacon, some of the bacon fat spilled out through the perforations into the barbeque. Not a big deal normally, but in this instance it produced a very theatrical-looking flare-up that lasted for some time. Of course, I had to use the tongs to grab the tray and yank it out of the flames, lest our salted piggy go up in flames as well. However, in the process of this yanking, more grease spilled, causing even more flames. I had to run into the house and get a non-plastic plate so I could take the tray entirely off the barbeque until the grease had burned off. Fun!

Oh, but that's not the end of it. Noooo, sir. Once the bacon had been crisped to perfection, I decided to keep the barbeque on "high" to burn off some of the grease that has spilled. I figured there was no harm in keeping the tray of grease in there as well. Um, good idea if you like flames, bad idea if you don't like flames you can't control.

You guessed it, the spilled grease lit up like a napalm bomb, and of course the entire tray of porcine blubber caught aflame as well. At this point, I simply closed the barbeque lid, pulled the whole thing a bit further away from the house, and hoped for the best. Once I saw (and smelled) the pungent black smoke pouring out of my dear Weber grille, however, I knew that I was going to have to contend with the flames sooner than later.

I was going to whip out our $5 disposable fire extinguisher (looks like a huge bottle of hairspray), but Jannette suggested baking soda instead. So I nabbed the box, headed out the Q, and very carefully but quickly opened the lid again. Of course the grease instantly obliged me with a spectacular amount of flames, which I then did in with a few shakes of the baking soda box. When all was said and done, I had a well-oiled barbeque grille that was now covered in white powder. It was fun, but messy.

Obviously, we eventually just had to hose down and scrub the barbeque. It seems to have come through the ordeal without any ill effects. In fact, the grease fire actually baked off some of the cooked-on smoke on the inside of the lid! I don't think I'll be repeating this particular event in the future, however, unless we're desperate for bacon or want to demonstrate grease fires and how to extinguish them to friends, family, and neighbours.

The moral of the story? Perforated trays are fine for marinated veggies, but really not recommended for cooking combustibles, or food that drips combustibles. Next time I'd use 3 or 4 layers of aluminum foil formed into an ad-hoc cookie sheet instead.

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June 2006

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