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Today I cooked lamb on a BBQ with hood and rotisserie. I adjusted the burners to keep it at about 130C. The lamb was boneless leg roll, prepared by my butcher.

After about an hour, the fat caught fire and the temperature shot up to 300C+. Flames of about 30cm. This charcoaled the outside. I turned the gas off entirely for a while and then put it back on when the temperature dropped.

The BBQ has volcanic rocks. Under that are three gas burners. Only the outside two were turned on.

My question is what should I have done to avoid the fire? Was there too much fat left on the lamb? Should I change the BBQ somehow?

  • Have you emptied your grease traps recently? – moscafj Jun 21 '15 at 14:38
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Put a large pan under it catch the drippings and you will not have a fire.

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    Under the lamb, the rocks, or the burners? I don't think I could put it under the lamb because that's where the hot rocks are. Maybe down below the burners, then I could empty it out during cooking. – WW. Jun 24 '15 at 7:00
  • I'd replace the rocks with the pan then. As long as you are keeping the lid down, I doubt they are required to keep the heat. If you put the pan under the burners, there's nothing to stop fat from catching fire on the burners and rocks, then fall into the pan and ignite all that too. – goldilocks Jun 24 '15 at 12:20
  • I'll try it without the rocks next time. I thought they might radiate heat, as opposed to convection from hot air. – WW. Jul 12 '15 at 8:45
  • @WW. : you want the pan directly below the lamb (above the burners & rocks). Sometimes you'll want to add some water to the pan to make sure that the pan isn't so hot that the oil will flare up after dripping. – Joe Jul 24 '15 at 13:23
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There was not too much fat in the lamb. This will happen with just anything you can put a stake through, I think.

If you are rotissering something small enough to fit over just the center burner, you could do it that way with the center burner completely off. You can also remove the grills and and place a try on top of the heat foils in the center to catch drippings (which you can then use). I don't know how much difference rocks vs. heat foils will make for this since I've never used the former.

If you do a lot rotissering and are thinking of getting a new barbecue, get one with a rear burner for exactly this purpose -- it runs perpendicular to the main burners (parallel to the rotisserie) and is above the grill, right about where the hinges are at the back, ~30° down from and behind the rotisserie. This works terrifically well, as even when there isn't a grease fire, stuff on a rotisserie tends to get a little scorched on the outside if you heat it from directly underneath. It also means you can catch those drippings easily ;)

  • I did have the centre burner off. I removed the hotplate, so it was just burners -> rocks -> lamb. The burning fat was somewhat on the rocks, but also on top of the burners and below them in the trap. – WW. Jun 24 '15 at 7:01

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