SmokeFire Grease Fire: Who Has Had One? What Is One?

Don D.

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Still not totally clear on what happened here, but just keep in mind that at 600 with a marbled steak, you will get small flare ups that are like mini grease fires but burn off relatively quickly. Happens in any grill that can get really hot. You’ll see it in steak house kitchens too. Not saying that’s what you experienced as I wasn’t there but wanted to put it out there. Enjoy!
It was drippings from the last 4 Cowboy steaks that were on the bottom of the grill and I did not clean . I do not use a drip pan when I sear, so it caught on fire at 600 degrees
 

GrillnFool

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Just wrong on so many levels. You have to be almost willfully negligent to get a grease fire. It is superior to a grease tray sitting directly above the heat source. Sure the grease channels towards a container, but much of it adheres to the surfaces. The only reason there aren’t more grease fires in other cookers, and there are plenty, is they do a much worse job of grilling so people rarely cook above 375 degrees. The grease in the Smokefire is not channeled to the fire. It’s channeled adjacent to it and below the top of the fire pot which is where it’s hottest by a mile. Heat rises. Again, heat rises. Flare ups (grease fire) might occur when some residual grease is adhered to a deflector. True of any cooker. The rest is largely BS. It should also burn off fairly quickly and can be mitigated by keeping the lid closed. True with all cookers. You don’t need drip trays. You can use them if you want, just like millions do with any number of pellet cookers or charcoal cookers for that matter, but they aren’t required. I’m sure Weber recommends their use to avoid this same sort of discussion with someone who can’t get out of their own way. 🙄🙄🙄

The design is genius. Can you screw it up? I’m confident you can. 🤷🏼‍♂️
If Weber didn't know there was an issue they would never have suggested drip pans. Anyone who has reverse seared a rib roast at 450 degrees after a long and slow roast, or has cooked pizza at 500+ degrees knows that the accumulation of grease in the pellet ash need not come in contact with the 6" to 8" flame shooting out the right side of the firebox which occurs at these temps. Does that flame need to come in direct contact with accumulated grease to cause an issue? Nope, it only need take that grease to combustion temp. One can't stop and clean their grill between the a slow roast and reverse sear, henceforth there is a risk of a serious flare up which, if not caught in time, could result in a full on grease fire. Is it good compromise between a direct cooker and an indirect cooker/smoker? If I didn't think so I wouldn't own it. Is it a full on reverse flow smoker like other pellet grills?? No, and I don't want it to be. Is it perfect? No, nothings perfect. But maybe Gen 3 will be. Till then I will either live with the issues and shortcomings or sell it (and I've had numerous tickets open with Weber to fix problems from temp control to controller lockups, so I know what I'm talking about). At the moment I think there is no pellet grill out there that can cook like this one, so I'm living with it ... but I do have an idea for an improvement which I will be testing. If it works, it could be available at a store near you.
 
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JpsBBQ

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If Weber didn't know there was an issue they would never have suggested drip pans. Anyone who has reverse seared a rib roast at 450 degrees after a long and slow roast, or has cooked pizza at 500+ degrees knows that the accumulation of grease in the pellet ash need not come in contact with the 6" to 8" flame shooting out the right side of the firebox which occurs at these temps. Does that flame need to come in direct contact with accumulated grease to cause an issue? Nope, it only need take that grease to combustion temp. One can't stop and clean their grill between the a slow roast and reverse sear, henceforth there is a risk of a serious flare up which, if not caught in time, could result in a full on grease fire. Is it good compromise between a direct cooker and an indirect cooker/smoker? If I didn't think so I wouldn't own it. Is it a full on reverse flow smoker like other pellet grills?? No, and I don't want it to be. Is it perfect? No, nothings perfect. But maybe Gen 3 will be. Till then I will either live with the issues and shortcomings or sell it (and I've had numerous tickets open with Weber to fix problems from temp control to controller lockups, so I know what I'm talking about). At the moment I think there is no pellet grill out there that can cook like this one, so I'm living with it ... but I do have an idea for an improvement which I will be testing. If it works, it could be available at a store near you.
Yep. Any animal fat above the point of combustion might combust. This is true of all pellet grills, all gas grills and all charcoal grills. That’s why if you own a google machine you will find ample evidence of that happening to every single brand and type out there. It’s just wrong headed to think this particular unit is more susceptible. It isn’t.

The scenario given is applicable to every cooker. No, they don’t get all the grease out of harms way. None of them. There is always latent grease on drip pans, heat deflectors, cooking grids etc. always. You could very well get the same incident on any of the other brands and I’d argue at least as easily if not more easily.

I never clean out my Smokefire and the mess is below the flame and I believe heat rises. That is why this design is superior. Grease sitting above the heat source, on say a grease deflector, is far more susceptible to combustion than grease below. I can cook at 500-600 and have no issue. Try that on another brand. First you won’t get them hot enough because they lack the nads to get there. If they do, watch out. Also everyone that uses pans does so as a work around for the scenario you describe or as a means to easier cleaning. This goes for Traeger, pit boss, GMG, etc. etc. people simply have to be diligent enough or intuitive enough to figure things out. Otherwise, bbqing might not be for them. If the 6”-8” flame (man measurements for sure🤣) was directly below the area of accumulating grease and ash then I would agree. I have hundreds of cooks on the Smokefire and you could get a grease fire, but it’s no more likely than my gas or other pellet grills really. I’ve had one small incident in two years where the grease was adhered to a flavorizor bar and ignited briefly until the grease burned off. Never had one in the belly of the grill. Never. That’s not to say you can’t, because I’m sure you can. Heck I see all kinds of pictures of Traeger’s and others with burn spots in the paint from this sorta thing. They all have grease trays. Go figure.

I do whole heartedly agree this unit cooks like no other. In a good way. Stick with it. I for one think the fact that you are is the right decision. I’ve been really happy ever since they did some major updates moons ago. I did experience the early frustration and there is no excuse that can be given for that. They did however do their best to mitigate the issues going as far as to offer full refunds. You are absolutely correct that no cooker is perfect but I’ll just say I have been fortunate enough to used dozens of brands and types over many years and I’m blown away with the Smokefire. That’s saying something because it’s very simplistic in its design and has no where near the bells and whistles of others but as you said it flat out does things others cannot and it’s the design that makes that possible. If I had to pick one pellet grill and only one it’d be the Smokefire and it’s not even close. 🥃cheers!
 

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Yup.... It's not perfect but are cooking on the grill we have, not the one we want (or we would just have that one).
At the end of the day, know and understand its shortcomings and don't do stupid stuff.
 

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These don't seem to be available (and the link doesn't work either). Anyone have any replacement suggestions?


These.

 

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As JpsBBQ said, standard half-size steamer trays, in either 2” or 1.5” height work just fine. Whether on the lower grate or on the flavorizer bars, they are both inexpensive and disposable.

They come in packages of 10 to 50, and are readily available at places like BJs, Sam’s Club, Amazon and almost any wholesale restaurant supply outlet.
 

MrPhilGrillTX

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As JpsBBQ said, standard half-size steamer trays, in either 2” or 1.5” height work just fine. Whether on the lower grate or on the flavorizer bars, they are both inexpensive and disposable.

They come in packages of 10 to 50, and are readily available at places like BJs, Sam’s Club, Amazon and almost any wholesale restaurant supply outlet.
So the 2" tall ones will work under the grate and on the flavorizer? Good to know. I was having trouble finding the shallow ones on Amazon (pronounced more like: Ah My Money's Gone)

I suppose I could go out back and measure, but that'd require going outside in the 105 degree heat... I wonder how much effort to get the internal temps to 225 with our current weather.

Thanks Dassman5 and JpsBBQ

🤦‍♂️ You know, if I'd just have read what I posted, I would have seen the 2" height in the very post. Been a long week...
 

JpsBBQ

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So the 2" tall ones will work under the grate and on the flavorizer? Good to know. I was having trouble finding the shallow ones on Amazon (pronounced more like: Ah My Money's Gone)

I suppose I could go out back and measure, but that'd require going outside in the 105 degree heat... I wonder how much effort to get the internal temps to 225 with our current weather.

Thanks Dassman5 and JpsBBQ

🤦‍♂️ You know, if I'd just have read what I posted, I would have seen the 2" height in the very post. Been a long week...
I’ve had some that are tight and just smooshed them slightly to make fit. Can’t remember what size they were it was over a year ago.
 
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I've had one in my Pitboss vertical pellet smoker. Long story, but my son wanted to do a brisket on my two month old (at the time) Pitboss. I had done one on one of my early cooks with it and it was easy. Flawless in fact. It is a good smoker, albeit a bit quirky with the analog temp control with swings and such. In any event, I bought a 14 pound packer for him (even though HE wanted to make it LOL) and as he is prepping it I asked him if he was going to trim the fat. He said he doesn't. I said I do and please do it. He said nah, it will be fine. yeah.....right.

Wellllll, seven hours into the cook, the pit is billowing and I mean billowing black smoke, thick black smoke. I happened to be outside doing some work in the front of the house - I smoke in the driveway. I rush over, see the flames and of course, get the brisket off and kill the power to the smoker. No dice, no going out. Extinguisher time. First one didn't work (my bad) and second extinguished but the fire melted the controller, wiring, etc.. Luckily a short call to PB and I had a new one in a couple days.
 

SmokeMaster43

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3rd grease fire since I've owned this thing happened tonight. I scraped it out prior to the cook. I had made a pork shoulder 2 weeks ago with no incident. Heated to 375 for some wings and a little before it got to temp, fire breaks out. I guess I need to clean it really well before each cook
 

JpsBBQ

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3rd grease fire since I've owned this thing happened tonight. I scraped it out prior to the cook. I had made a pork shoulder 2 weeks ago with no incident. Heated to 375 for some wings and a little before it got to temp, fire breaks out. I guess I need to clean it really well before each cook
I cook hundreds of cooks including wings, chickens, butts, ribs, burgers, steaks ,etc….. do dozens and dozens of cooks between cleaning and never have an issue. This is very puzzling to me. Sometimes I feel like bare steel is worse than some gunk in the pit. I routinely ok at over 450 and still never have an issue. I’m thinking something else is at play. 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

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I cook hundreds of cooks including wings, chickens, butts, ribs, burgers, steaks ,etc….. do dozens and dozens of cooks between cleaning and never have an issue. This is very puzzling to me. Sometimes I feel like bare steel is worse than some gunk in the pit. I routinely ok at over 450 and still never have an issue. I’m thinking something else is at play. 🤷🏼‍♂️
Same here...
I still think that to have a genuine grease fire (remember that there are other types of fires), there has to be some serious neglect happening.
 

SmokeMaster43

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I cook hundreds of cooks including wings, chickens, butts, ribs, burgers, steaks ,etc….. do dozens and dozens of cooks between cleaning and never have an issue. This is very puzzling to me. Sometimes I feel like bare steel is worse than some gunk in the pit. I routinely ok at over 450 and still never have an issue. I’m thinking something else is at play. 🤷🏼‍♂️
I'd be interested in knowing what you do for cleaning. I did two shoulders a couple weeks ago. I scraped the drippings from the bottom into the drip pan. I fired it up today. At about 300 degrees, I saw a lot of smoke and knew what was up. I opened the lid slowly and sure enough, flames on the left side coming up the back side. Maybe it's my clean up process? Any advice is welcome.
 

JpsBBQ

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I'd be interested in knowing what you do for cleaning. I did two shoulders a couple weeks ago. I scraped the drippings from the bottom into the drip pan. I fired it up today. At about 300 degrees, I saw a lot of smoke and knew what was up. I opened the lid slowly and sure enough, flames on the left side coming up the back side. Maybe it's my clean up process? Any advice is welcome.
I wouldn’t have done anything for cleaning. I routinely go several months without cleaning anything but the cooking grids. I use it probably 3-5 times a week, every week. I don’t know how I could be any more neglectful.

On the butt cook I would have likely not even made an attempt to mitigate the drippings until it reached 160 IT, then I would have placed it inside a foil pan and covered it. This would have caught all the remaining drippings. I then filter them through a fat separator at the conclusion of the cook and pour them over the pulled product. I will say, that the vast majority of the drippings happen after 160 IT as that’s when all the fat and colleges break down.

It’s very easy for anyone to mitigate all the fat dripping in the cooker and do at least what I do which is next to nothing. I would argue 99% of the folks do far more than I do. I’d be more worried about a bunch of hamburger or a ton of chicken as far as drippings and an issue following. I sometimes let my cooker burn off after a bunch of chicken because chicken fat produces an acrid smoke that can easily ruin your next cook.
 

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