Monday, October 15, 2007
The chicken fire
Last night, we had my mom and Alexis over for dinner. To try and get to the bottom of her health issues, Alexis is on an elimination diet and her food options are few, so we decided to make grilled chicken with an optional marsala sauce, jasmine rice, and hashed brussels sprouts. For dessert, Joel and I got two Masse's tarts (chocolate pecan and frangipane fig) on our way back from the Spice of Life Festival down the street. Alexis couldn't eat them, but the rest of us could, and Alexis found some coconut macaroons on her safe list, so she was not without something sweet.
Everything seems simple so far, right? Joel and I were preparing food, my mom and Alexis showed up, and then Joel took the chicken outside to grill it. He put it on the grill and came back inside. My mom was sitting in the kitchen nook and happened to notice a lot more smoke than usual billowing out the back of the grill. I came over to see just in time to witness the smoke turn from white to smokey gray. I told Joel, who was busy on the other side of the kitchen cutting up onions. He said, "It should be fine. It's too soon for anything to burn."
Then the smoke turned from gray to black and completely obscured the view of the back yard from the window. At that point, everyone but Joel started insisting that something was wrong. Joel finally looked up and then ran outside, flung open the grill top and saw that pretty much everything was on fire. The chicken pieces were little fireballs, and flames shot out of the grill's underside. I grabbed the fire extinguisher that the previous owners had left under the sink, but it took Joel a good two minutes to get all the fire out.
Once everything had cooled down, Joel started to piece together the incident. The drip pan thing looked fine, but I guess the pipe that leads from the grill to the drip pan was rather clogged with grease and other flammable fats, so it must have created a reservoir for the fire.
It seems like the stuff in fire extinguishers might be pretty toxic though, so I'm not sure what to do now that we have a cooking surface coated with it. Anyone know?