Burners

From my previous web browsing, it was apparent that burner selection is an important choice. I had been using a Cajun Cooker, which is a high BTU ring propane burner, for a couple of batches and liked the results. While researching the net, I found that many other people use enclosed propane burners. At $50 or more per burner,I felt that these were too expensive. Luckily, I read Marty Tippin's web page before I broke down and bought anything. Marty bought just the propane burners for the King Cooker directly from Metal Fusion (makers of the King Kooker) and mounted them under each keg. His page talks about all of the gory details, so I won't repeat them here.

After reading Marty's solution, I decided to give it a try. Jeff Kane also used Marty's solution, but he reported in his web page that he received a better price than Marty on the same burners from Brinkman. I called them, but their prices had gone up by about eight dollars a burner, so I called Metal Fusion ((504) 736-0201) and ordered two burners for $15.50 each plus shipping for a total of about $35. When I compare this to the $50 each or more that some people spent on enclosed propane burners, I feel that it is a good deal.

The disadvantage with these burners is that they are not enclosed. This was particularly worrisome for me, because I planned on making my stand out of wood. In order to protect my stand, I made heat shields out of 10" galvanized flashing. These shields ended up not being necessary to protect the stand from heat, but they do prevent wind from affecting the flame and they help to keep the heat around the keg. As you can also see from the picture above, I added a handy feature to each burner by putting a gas grill ignitor on each burner. When I press the little red button, it sends a spark that lights the burner. This is a lot easier and safer than sticking my hand with a lit match up from the bottom of the heat shield! The grill ignitor kits only cost about $10 each, and I think that they are worth it!

I basically followed Marty's method of connecting the burners to the propane tank, except that Marty used 1/4" Copper tubing to hook all of his fittings together. Based on Marty's comments on his web page of how he would do it differently, I decided to use 3/8" copper tubing and the equivalent fittings. I used compression fittings to tee the lines. I personally abhor compression fittings, as I find them difficult to insure a good and lasting seal, especially in applications where there is some wear or unintended movement involved. YMMV. If I was working in a more permanant environment and was sure that I wouldn't be moving for a while, I would probably solder all the fittings to insure a reliable and durable seal.

Note: I have been informed that using compression fittings is usually not up to code, so please be aware of this.

Check all of your gas line fittings with soapy water under pressure before ever lighting one of the burners. Failure to do so could result in significant personal injury.

Like Marty, I already had the high pressure propane regulator. Like Marty, I also use needle valves to regulate flow to each burner. I find that this has worked very well, and I can operate all three burners simultaneously without any problems. Next time, I would probably use needle valves with a better handle though. The small handles on the valves I used are just too small.

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