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Z Grills Smoker Safety Guide

Grease fires

A grease fire can occur in a pellet smoker if there is an accumulation of grease that contacts the fire.

A grease fire in a Z Grills smoker will not only burn any food you are cooking but can burn the high temperature paint inside and outside the grill.

Grease fire prevention

  • Regularly wipe out any areas that accumulate grease in the grill such as:
  • Grease tray
  • V shaped drain and spout leading to the grease bucket
  • Ledges around the edge of the grill racks
  • Down in the bottom of the drum neat the firepot
  • Only place food above the grease tray area, preventing grease dripping down below into the lower drum area.
  • If using a BBQ hotplate, avoid excessive oil and watch out for grease spill over the sides. Use paper towel in tongs to mop up excessive grease and clean off after use.

Grease fire management

If a grease fire occurs:

  • Shut down the grill and power OFF (this will prevent air flow feeding the fire)
  • Close the grill lid and wait for the fire to completely go out
  • Do not apply water or try to smother the fire
  • If the lid is already open, an ABE type dry chemical fire extinguisher may be used, but do not open the lid to put the fire out as a large flame may be released.

Flame out (huge smoke)

A commonly seen issues across many pellet smoker brands and models is a huge cloud of smoke due to an excessive quantity of wood pellets in the firepot.

This can happen for several reasons.

  • Too much ash in the firepot which smothers the fire, caused by:
  • Not vacuuming out frequently enough
  • Problematic high ash pellets
  • Moist pellets

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Z Grills smokers burn wood, it generates smoke and carbon monoxide (CO), and as such they must not be operated in an enclosed area (without suitable forced air ventilation).

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas created as a byproduct of the combustion process and can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion and long term health damage.

An indoor area is normally defined as one with no less than 55% walled area permanently open to the environment.

A verandah (open on 3 sides) will normally meet the requirements for air flow. However, if the ceiling is very deep, it may accumulate smoke and so forced fan ventilation may be required.

Check your local regulations if planning to use in an area with any enclosed walls as additional fan forced ventilation may be required.

Hot surfaces

Z Grills smokers will be hot during operation and for some time after turning off.

  • Be aware to avoid burns.
  • Use heat resistant gloves.
  • Never move the grill while operating.

Safe distance

Never use or store flammable liquids near the grill or use flammable liquids to light the grill.

Ensure the grill has a MINIMUM of 1m overhead clearance and 0.3m side/rear clearance from any wall or combustible material.

Operating in the rain

Z Grills use electricity and are not designed (not IP rated) for outdoor use in the rain. Do not use the grill when the weather is harsh outside.

Weather can be unpredictable, so if the power cable protected from water and during a cook there is a light shower the grill will normally be fine and will continue to run.

It is important to ensure that no water gets into the hopper, so if the grill is exposed to rain, double check that no water has entered the hopper (through the lid). Even a few drops of water inside the hopper can cause issues as they will wet the wood dust.

Even with wet pellets, the grill may continue to operate, but once left for a few days the mushy wood dust will clog and jam up the auger shaft.

Previous Z Grills Power Turned Off Mid Cook
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