If you’re an outdoor devotee, you probably know that a propane burner is an invaluable piece of equipment. If you don’t know it, well, you’re about to find out.
It’s that time of year when we love to go barbecuing, grilling, and boiling under the open sky. Some people just think that food tastes better outdoors while others prefer an all-around experience that includes camping and boy scout survival skills. There’s a ton of gear available to enhance your experience while camping or cooking in your backyard. From grills, meat smokers, and camping stoves to screen tents, lanterns, and comfy outdoor chairs. Most of these items can be helpful occasionally or every time you head out to the camping site. It’s not necessary to have them all, though.
However, a propane burner should be at the top of your priority list – whether you’re a prepper who’s assembling their bug out bag or just a nature addict. Here’s why.
Why You Need a Propane Burner
This is a no brainer. When it comes to outdoor cooking, a propane burner is the most versatile piece of equipment you will find. Some die-hard camping enthusiasts would probably disagree and say that there’s no real camping without a campfire. Well, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. While I can’t deny charms of crackling sounds and flickering flames of a campfire, a propane burner has its benefits, too.
For starters, many campsites don’t allow campfires, especially during a fire season. And let’s face it, when it comes to cooking, fire can be messy. Watching the campfire or listening to the sound of it is great. However, washing your dishes, dealing with soot, grime, fat, and ashes aren’t much fun. If it’s someone else’s chore to cook and clean afterward, the campfire is adorable.
While you can use other equipment such as an outdoor grill to prepare food, a propane burner is the best tool for several tasks. If you want to fry an entire chicken or turkey, an outdoor propane burner is a great choice. You can use it for any kind of deep frying without making a mess.
Frying is just a single example of many perks that come with a propane burner. But, its major asset is versatility. Instead of buying different equipment for different cooking methods, you can use a propane burner to do it all. Brewing beer, boiling seafood, smoking meat, deep boiling or deep frying, you name it and the propane burner will be up to the task.
And they are virtually indestructible. You may have to change some smaller parts and happily use it for at least 10-15 years.
Things to Consider When Buying a Propane Burner
Propane burners are pretty simple pieces of equipment, but there are a couple of things to pay attention to before you purchase one. While the high heat makes these burners quick and capable of performing different tasks, it can also be dangerous. Heat control is necessary not only for safety reasons but for cooking, brewing, and smoking as well.
Even heat distribution separates the best burners from the rest. It takes high-quality cooking grates and tube burners to provide air circulation and even heat distribution. Otherwise, you’ll have to flip or shuffle your food all the time.
Heat and Flame Control
All propane burners have knobs and valves to control the flame. But, they are very different when it comes to sensitivity. Commonly, there’s a valve that regulates the gas flow, and the valve on your propane tank affects it as well.
If the regulator is too sensitive, the slightest adjustment can change the flame from too low to a raging inferno. So, you should look for burners with an easily adjustable heat output that allows you to simmer a cup of coffee or to get the wort to boil in no time.
Propane burners can be used for several different tasks. But, they really do only one thing – BURN.
So, to make sure that you’ll enjoy your outdoor cooking adventures, always check out your equipment before you use it. And, don’t use your propane burner inside! Unless it’s an indoor propane heater rather than a propane burner.
If you have to use it in your garage, make sure to keep the door wide open, to provide air flow. Propane releases small amounts of carbon monoxide while burning. However, it is highly toxic and can build up inside the room. It has no smell or color, so you can’t feel it until it’s too late and you get poisoning symptoms.
It’s another safety issue. Truth be told, there are no really unstable burners. But, if the surface underneath is not perfectly leveled you’d still like your burner to be firm and stable.
Shorter and wide legs naturally offer a better balance and provide stability. While taller burners are a little bit more convenient to stir and shuffle your food, I’d prioritize stability.
Best Propane Burners – Our Top 5 Choices
Now, you know what to look for, but still, there are so many models available. We have compiled a list of several excellent models to help you narrow down your choice.
Bayou Classic SP10 High Pressure Cooker Propane Burner – Best Value for Money
I don’t think I can single out one propane burner and call it the best. But, when it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat Bayou Classic SP10. Affordability, excellent build, one-piece welded frame, and 59,000 BTUs of heat output make this model an excellent choice. It is strong, durable, safe, and efficient.
- Ultimate stability
- 360° windscreen
- Stainless steel, braided hose
- Adjustable heat
- Not the best quality control. It is rare, but some products come with flaws.
Blichmann Hell Fire Floor Burner – The Best Overall Propane Burner
This beast is specifically designed for homebrewing and outdoor use. But, don’t let that full you, it can cook just about anything.
Actually, all burners designed for brewing are great for cooking as well. It produces heat up to 140,000 BTU. Dual-mode allows you to save some power by using an 80,000 BTU mode, which is still more than enough. It is a sturdy, heavy, and powerful burner. Seriously, it is an outstanding propane burner that should last a lifetime and beyond.
- Excellent quality
- Extremely durable
- High-power and efficiency modes
- Clip-on heat shield
- Flame stability
- Adjustable heating frame
- A little bit pricey
Edelmetall Brü Propane Burner – The Best for Brewing + Most Attractive Design
If you’re looking for the most beautiful burner for brewing, this is a winner. Stainless steel construction and copper finishes make it stand out of the crowd. But looks aside, this beauty of a propane burner performs great. With adjustable diameter and 72,000 BTUs, you will enjoy fast and efficient brewing and cooking.
- It is fast
- Beautiful design
- Very precise needle valve
- Sturdy and durable
- Beauty fades away. The copper ring at the top will peel off pretty quickly
GasOne 200,000 BTU Square Heavy-Duty Single Outdoor Propane Burner – The Most Powerful Burner
If you prefer or need large boils, consider purchasing Gas One 200,000 BTU. It is a powerhouse that provides all heat you will ever need. Besides outrageous 200,000 BTUs, this model offers a lot more.
It is a cast iron propane burner that is strong, durable, and reliable. The built-in o-ring on the knob prevents gas leakage. Steel braided hose provides additional safety. Beware, this is a powerful beast, though. It is an excellent choice for brewing and cooking large amounts of food. If you want to cook for your family and a couple of friends, it is probably too powerful and it would ruin your pots and pans.
- Very powerful
- 16inch cooking area
- Made of cast iron
- O-ring against gas leaks
- Too powerful for ordinary cooking
- Flimsy regulator
Northern Brewer Dark Star Propane Burner – The Best Lightweight Burner
If you’re looking for a smaller and portable propane burner, Dark Star is an excellent choice. While it is small and lightweight, it performs great. Actually, it is one of the fastest burners out there. Even though it is not the most powerful burner, 65,000 BTUs is more than you need to do everything from cooking to brewing.
- Extremely portable
- Very fast
- Adjustable heat regulator
- Durable materials
- Wind screen
- Round bottom makes it difficult to set on uneven ground
There’s a wide range of propane burners available but they all have one thing in common – they will improve your outdoor experience. The best among them can last almost forever, so take your time before you make the final decision.
Some of them are brewing-orientated while others focus on portability and functionality. But, they are all versatile enough. So, focus on quality, safety, and your preferences and you’ll enjoy using propane burners for years to come.