Need a propane steam table

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by 3montes, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Been doing a number of large parties that are held outdoors. Lake homes, parks etc. Generally power is not available. That pretty much leaves chaffing dishes. They work fine if they are in a enclosed space like a garage (but then you have power most likely) but outdoors chaffing pans are a real pain. Constant babysitting and they often times don't keep food as hot as I would like.

    That sent me on a hunt for a propane steam table. Only one place I found that carry's them and that's Big Johns. Very nice unit and fits the bill perfectly. But a 3 well table goes for about $1500 shipped. He must know he's got the market cornered.

    So I found a old 220 volt 3 well steam table I can get for $200 and am thinking of converting it to propane. I'd pull all the wiring out etc.

    This is the identical table.

    I'm not going to just set a propane turkey fryer under it. Too dangerous when you have people walking around it. I'm not real handy but I think I can figure out a way to mount a propane burner safely underneath it and it won't even be seen. Question is what burner. If I use the standard 4 or 6 inch round burner I'm worried about all the heat concentrated in one place and the whole table not getting warm enough. Plus I'd worry about the table base burning through eventually.

    I don't really need 3 individual burners for each well either. That requires building a custom manifold to tie all 3 burners together so they would run off a single propane bottle. Plus most times I will use all 3 wells anyhow.

    After much searching a found a place that sells these.

    A pipe burner. A 44 inch pipe with 36 inches of flame. It would span the bottom of the table perfectly. My only concern is if it puts out enough heat to keep the water warm enough to keep the food piping hot. Apparently they put out about 30,000 btu on low and about 80,000 on high.

    These pipe burners don't run cheap either. $250. I hate to launch into this and find out about $500 later it's  not going to work out.

    Thing is I have a couple events in the next month or so where I'm going to have to have something.

    So any input from any engineer types here would be appreciated.
  2. thegreatmc

    thegreatmc Meat Mopper

    Honestly, I'd go with an electric and one of the cheap generators when you don't have power. Some are very quiet, not bad price, and could be used for many different things.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  3. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Many of the electric steamers draw a lot of amps. You will need a good sized generator to handle that. My son has the nice quiet Honda we use for ice fishing. It runs the whole fish house no problem  including all the lights, stereo and or tv but as soon as you turn on a high resistant heating element like even as small as a coffee maker it bogs right down.
  4. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    What would you think of using a BBQ grill large enough for three pans. Most that size have three burners one for each water pan. If you can find one with a hood large enough to fit over the pans bonus. Even if you had to buy two grills its still cheaper.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015

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