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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 07-21-2013, 06:31 AM   #1
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Join Date: 04-27-07
Location: Mattoon, IL
Default Backdraft in a drum

Anyone ever had this happen?

I was cooking 8 butts on 2 racks in a drum. The bottom 4 and 2 of the top 4 were done. While moving them around, I started to get a pretty good grease fire in the bottom of the drum. I put the lid back on to snuff it out. about 2 minutes later, the drum reversed air flow and blew out of the intake holes in the bottom with quite a bit of force while drawing from the exhaust holes in the lid. Wish I had a video, but had no idea it was about to happen.

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Old 07-21-2013, 06:59 AM   #2
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Location: Pemberton, New Jersey

I don't have a drum, but with my vertical, if I have the intake open too far I get smoke exiting through the intake. I have to close down the intake and open slowly to restore a positive updraft within the cooker.

If possible, maybe consider using a drip pan so grease does not get into the fire...

Last edited by IamMadMan; 07-21-2013 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:48 AM   #3
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Join Date: 07-04-09
Location: Jonesboro,Tx

I'm coming to your next shindig BBQ & Fireworks yeehaw Nope never had that happen I've never had mine run away either and erupt into the towering inferno.
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:33 PM   #4
Sean "Puffy" Coals
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Location: Buffalo, NY

Originally Posted by IamMadMan View Post
I don't have a drum, but with my vertical, if I have the intake open too far I get smoke exiting through the intake. I have to close down the intake and open slowly to restore a positive updraft within the cooker.

If possible, maybe consider using a drip pan so grease does not get into the fire...
I'm thinking the same thing. If intakes are too far open, exhaust too small... pressure, like electricity, takes the path of least resistance- expanding hot air from the fire escapes easier thru the lager opening (intakes) and sucks fresh air in thru the exhaust port.

That's my theory at least.

Now THAT would be a true reverse flow cooker!
"Eating 'Que isn't making me fat- it's the beer I drink while lounging by the pit."
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:41 PM   #5
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Join Date: 02-13-13
Location: Wyoming County, N.Y.

Happened to me a few weeks ago, no drip pan and the grease started on fire in the uds. Shut every thing down for a few minutes and was ok after that.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:24 AM   #6
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Join Date: 10-27-06
Location: Bothell WA

When you say you were moving them around, how long was the lid off? 2 racks of butts will produce a chit ton grease that will as you found out flare up.

I left the lid off my drum after walking a turn in to the tables and as I was lollygagging taking my time and BS'n with folks, some asked me "is your cooker supposed to be on fire like that?" Um, yeah!
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:58 AM   #7
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Join Date: 02-19-13
Location: Charleston, SC

That sounds like a good time to me!

I haven't had that happen, but a few weeks ago after doing a big ribs and chicken cook on 2 drums, turned mine into a rocket engine! I finished the chicken I was cooking on one drum, and was planning to sauce the ribs and sizzle in some sauce over a hot grill for a minute before serving them. So rather than fire up the weber, I decided I would just open up all the intakes on the drum the chicken just came off of and leave the lid off for a while- certainly it would get pretty hot... Well about 5 minutes into "sizzling" the ribs the the entire basket of chicken fat-soaked coals was burning (go figure) and it was so hot over the grate that even with tongs you had a hard time getting your hand near enough to put ribs on there. After searing all of the hair off of my right hand, we abandoned that plan pretty quick and just served the ribs as-is (which was my preference anyway, friend wanted them sauced and put back on, and it was his party... so who am I to complain!) The thermometer on the pit was pegged, well over 500 degrees... So if anyone has to ask "can my UDS get hot enough to cook X thing?" I can without a doubt say "YES!!!"
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Join Date: 05-02-13
Location: Saint Louis, MO

I have noticed that whenever my coals flare up (after having the lid open) That smoke starts coming out of the intake holes. This quickly goes away though
Learning the ropes of BBQ, built my first UDS and have a few butts under my belt
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:05 PM   #9
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Join Date: 03-15-13
Location: Beaufort, NC

This is interesting, as well as amusing. I have a cheap tower smoker that I modified and elongated to cook direct like a drum. The very bottom section, which holds the fire pan, snaps onto the smoker body, and there is a dome lid on top. I get the impression that the fire gets hotter with the dome off and the smoker body still on, than it does when the dome and the smoker body is off, and the bottom part is just by itself like an open grill. It seems that with the smoker body on and no dome, the cooker acts like a Weber chimney with a small amount of coals in the bottom. Does this make sense?
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