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Old 01-07-2008, 01:08 PM
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Unhappy A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

To All,

I thought I would share my most recent experience with an LPG grill and pizza stone. In hindsight, what I did was incredibly stupid and I accept that completely. I just want to be sure anyone who reads this forum does not duplicate my mistake.

I don't have a fancy wood fire oven like you folks. I live in a six unit apartment building on the top floor. I do have an LPG (liquid propane gas) grill on my deck. I have always used my pizza stone in my conventional oven. That is, until I started reading this forum and found that some of you are putting it into the grill. I thought that was a great idea... and so I tried it. My first two pizzas went off without a hitch. The pizzas came out looking better than anything I have done before.

Until last night...

Last night was probably the most frightening experience I have ever had when it comes to close calls. I had filled the 5 gallon LPG tank that afternoon. It was after 5:00 when I fired up the grill and placed the stone on the grates. I had just formed my dough and thought I would go inside to put the toppings on while the stone heated up. The burners were set to high. It took no longer than 5 minutes, the time it took for me to put all the toppings on the pizza, before I started to smell a "hot stone" through closed windows and doors. Keep in mind it is after 5:00 and, even with a porch light turned on, the sky was black and the reflection in my sliding glass door prevented me from seeing what was happening on the deck. I went to check on the stone because of the hot smell and opened the door to a nightmare. There was thick black acrid rolling smoke everywhere and it was sinking to the ground in my little deck area. Something was burning... was it the stone? I immediately turned off the two gas dials and went back in side quickly, as the smoke was so thick. I turned around to see the glow of flames still inside the grill... with the lid closed and smoke pouring out! How could there be fire with the gas off and the lid closed? I went out the door again and lifted the lid only to find the fire was coming from the bottom of the grill. All the accumulated junk, grease, and food particles were on fire. I turned off the main gas valve on the tank and ran back inside to grab my fire extinguisher. I kept the lid closed and fired three shots through the side vent holes. The fire went out, but them immediately flashed over due to the intense heat inside the grill. I emptied the extinguisher on this beast! No luck... it still flashed all the while I am holding my breath so I don't choke on the smoke. I grabbed an oven mit and removed the stone from the flames... must have been something close to a million degrees and burned a hole in the mit just missing my fingers. So... my mind raced as fast as it could all the while having visions of fire trucks, flames on the roof, how am I going to explain this one, etc. I ran back inside and filled a large bottle with water... pured it over the flames and bottom of the grill to get rid of all the heat... and it finally went out. I figure it took me several minutes before I got it under control.

So then, I go back inside shaking like a leaf. It occured to me, after the fact (naturally), that my pizza stone was too large for my grill. I had blocked the heat from escaping and reflected it directly downwards onto whatever junk was in the bottom. I should have known better. I should have kept it very clean and obviously failed to do so. I learned a very important lesson last night and now my grill lies in shambles. The heat was so intense that it "burned" the venturi tubes and covers. It was like the China Syndrome only for an LPG grill. I should take a photo of it... you wouldn't believe the damage.

So, as a warning to others who want to try a pizza stone on a gas grill, learn from my mistake and be sure your pizza stone leaves enough room for heat to escape and that the grill does not have combustibles in the bottom. I would even go so far as to say don't even try it. My stone fit from front to back with maybe 1/8" to spare. I had probably 5" on either side from left to right. That's how tight it was... and no idea why I got away with it twice before with no fire.

Needless to say, the pizza was baked in my oven and came out fine. As for the grill, it goes into the dumpster soon.

Just be careful if you want to try this idea.
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2008, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

Wow! It's good that all turned out well (except for the grill). That definitely would have made the top 10 on YouTube.

Les...
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  #3  
Old 01-07-2008, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

I'm sure it was more excitement than you wanted!

On a lighter note, that must be some stone (FB?), I can't believe it didn't crack!
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

That is a good reminder that when we are working with high heat like this, there is some danger involved.

I always put some tinfoil down on my grill after I use it and turn it up to high to get the grates to burn clean, it works great! One time, I had been basting on a sugary bbq sauce, something I don't usually do, and after cooking I put the foil on with the burners on high...pretty soon, my neighbor was yelling at me over the fence, fire shooting out of my grill, right next to my house...No damage, but the stainless steel grill is...well, stained...

Drake
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

What a scary scenario, I'm glad all worked out but that was a close call. I've helped my kids with apartments recently and each time there was a separate form sayin you wouldn't have a grill 20-30 feet from the apartment.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

Quote:
Originally Posted by TDVT View Post
I'm sure it was more excitement than you wanted!

On a lighter note, that must be some stone (FB?), I can't believe it didn't crack!
The stone is from Crate & Barrel... about 1/2" thick with maybe 1/2" tall feet on the bottom. I'll take a photo of that too later tonight. I need to see my grill in the daylight. It's going to be like returning to Chernobil.
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

Quote:
Originally Posted by RCLake View Post
What a scary scenario, I'm glad all worked out but that was a close call. I've helped my kids with apartments recently and each time there was a separate form sayin you wouldn't have a grill 20-30 feet from the apartment.
I have heard about that rule. I think they tried it out here... banning grills from apartments. I can't remember the outcome, but I know for certain it is still allowed at my place.

Here are some photos of the grill and stone. The stone should be okay... I just have to get the smell out of it. The grill, well, look closely and you can see the burned covers over the venturi tubes. The rest of the inside is completely smoked. Sorry for the blurred image, but it was getting dark and this is something like a 1-2 second exposure. The silver smear on the upper right of the stone is my oven mit instantly melting on contact.
Attached Thumbnails
A warning to all about LPG grills and stones-chernobil-grill.jpg   A warning to all about LPG grills and stones-stone.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

I should also add that I was thinking of doing a stone on the grill as I tried out recipes. NOW I will wait. If you could edit your title, I'd suggest putting it in caps and ending it with !!!!!!!!
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:15 AM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

Pretty scary scenario. Good thing you got the stone out of there. Water on a grease fire is not a good thing either.

Glad you survived and didn't suffer through the fire trucks and pissed off neighbors.
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: A warning to all about LPG grills and stones

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjbingham View Post
Glad you survived and didn't suffer through the fire trucks and pissed off neighbors.
Here's my near-disaster story. In November, there was a knock at the door, and it was an inspector from my homeowners insurance company. My policy had just been handed off to a new company, and they wanted to see that they were insuring a real house. She had a list of questions on a clipboard, pretty basic stuff. One of her questions was if I had a carbon-monoxide detector, which I didn't. She said that she was going to mark it down that I had, because it could save me some trouble, but I would have to go out that day to buy one.

The following weekend I put up my new CO detector, put in the batteries, and it started beeping. I called it some various names, yanked out the batteries, and since it was pretty late, went to bed.

The following Monday we tried it again with the same result. We consulted the owners manual, and it was quite clear about what to do about a beeping detector - call the fire department and leave the house. We did indeed call the fire department, and they arrived (in full regalia with firetruck) with a serious CO detector which confirmed the result of our home unit.

After they called the gas company to shut off the gas, and a boiler repairman came, it was determined that the flue was mostly blocked by crud, loose mortar, bird skeletons, and such. Everyone who came couldn't believe that we (or the cats who's air intake is lower to the ground) didn't get sick. I think it's mostly because this old house leaks like a sieve.
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