Project Wonderful

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pollo En El Fuego No Es Bueno

If you recall my recipe for Teriyaki honey glazed grilled chicken thighs, I mentioned the following:
"Beware of flareups! The fat from these are going to drip down and cause lots of flames, so make sure you work your grill with a safety zone - a cool section of the grill that you can move the meat if the flames start getting crazy. You want a little char taste, but you dont want them burnt."
Well I made that recipe again the other night and while I had the chicken on the grill, I popped back in to finish working on my blog post about pumpkin bread. About 2 minutes of working on the computer, I looked through the window to see heavy smoke coming out from the BBQ. So I walked out there, assuming it was a typical flare up.

I lifted the lid and was greeted with a full-blown, three-alarm fire. The accumulation of stuff that lands at the bottom of the grill had absorbed the drippings of the chicken and ignited in a not-so-nice melange of carcinogens.

The chicken wasnt a total loss as they had only been on the grill a couple of minutes, but controlling the fire meant a complete shutdown of the cooking operation: Break out the nomex gloves, shut off the gas, pull the chicken and veggies off the grill, pull the grates, and then close the lid to help snuff out the flames. Also at this point I was making a mental note where the fire extinguisher was located in case this required escalation of the issue. (pro tip) always have your fire extinguisher charged, nearby and accessible for this very reason.

The flames died down and several minutes later I was left with a mess. I knew I couldn't just start right back up again, so a complete tear-down was in order: scoop out the burnt muck from the bottom of the grill with a gardening shovel, placing it in a metal bowl (some of it was still glowing red) and scrubbing everything down with a wire brush.

About 20 minutes later I had a sparkly clean BBQ and was back to cooking my charred - yet still raw chicken. Since I was brushing it with the teriyaki honey glaze, it was easy to use the basting brush to clean off some of the excess char. The chicken was a little "tradge" looking but in the end, it still turned out pretty good. And my girlfriend was none the wiser.

So heed my advice and learn from my folly: If you've been using your gas BBQ all Summer, now would be a REALLY GOOD time to clean it out and prep it for winter.  (which, in my case means more grilling!)


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