This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Ross Reid wrote:
There are various makes of propane cookers on the market but they
basically fall into two types. There is a "ring" style burner and a "jet"
style burner. They are available with various Btu/hr ratings, right up to
200,000+ Btu/hr. The "ring" burner style normally falls into the lower
end of the range. I have one of each but, the "ring" burner is the one I
use almost exclusively. It has an input rating of 68,000 Btu/hr. The
average kitchen range surface burner runs from 8,000 to 12,000 Btu/hr so
you can see the advantage of the outdoor propane cooker in this respect.
Flame control on the "ring" style burner is excellent, from very low for
maintaining a nice simmer right up to a very energetic full rolling boil.
Ring burners also make far more efficient use of propane and, a big plus,
they are very quiet in use.
My "jet" burner is rated at 135,000 Btu/hr but, its flame is much harder
to control. Trying to maintain a nice gentle simmer is impossible. It is
far less efficient with respect to propane use and, if operated anywhere
near full output it sounds similar to an F-18 ;-(.
If you go shopping for a burner, it is quite easy to tell the two types
apart. The "ring" style is just like its name, the burner itself is a
ring, (sometimes more like a starfish), about 8 inches in diameter with
upwards of 100 small holes. They usually fall in the range of 35,000 to
70,000 Btu/hr ratings.
The burner in a "jet" style is only about 3 or 4 inches in diameter and
has a cast iron flame diffuser in the centre. This diffuser can best be
described as a multi-tiny-pointed star, usually with one screw in the
centre to hold it in place. These are the ones that can run up over
200,000 Btu/hr ratings.
I purchased my ring-style burner at a home improvement outlet here in
town called The Building Box. It was CDN $49.97 complete with regulator
and hose. The name plate on the unit lists the manufacturer as:
S.R. Potten Limited,
Lachine, Quebec, Canada H8T 3C8
Zxcvbob ( not an anonymous name, per se - Bob's particulars is known to
this FAQ Maintainer) wrote:
In a welding class I took in college, I learned to only crack open the
valve on compressed fuel welding tanks, so you can shut off the valve
quickly in case of an accident. This would be good advice when working
with portable propane tanks for operating these "Cajun Cooker" burners.
(Valves on high pressure non-fuel tanks, like oxygen, nitrogen, 3000 psi
air, carbon dioxide, are opened all the way becuase the valve has a
second seat that seals the packing when the valve is fully opened to
prevent a slow leak).
P.S. Butane has about twice the BTU rating per pound as propane,
so if you can buy butane instead of propane for summer use, it is
usually a good deal. In cold weather, butane does not have enough vapor
pressure to be useful.