Portable Gas Burner
I saw these in Chinatown. The label specified these were for cooking outside or in restaurant kitchens only.
Has anyone used one of these? Do they get hotter than the gas burner on an ordinary gas stove? (I'm hoping yes.)
Tales of any experience cooking on one of these would be welcome.
You might enjoy seeing one of these iwatani's in action - the guy doing this video is Eleanor Hoh's husband, and you can see him using the butane stove right on his own stove top, since they do most of their meals on this stove, inside.
(It is a short, kinda fun, instructional "care and feeding" a cast iron wok video ).
Eleanor Hoh sells a dvd package that comes with her 14" cast iron wok and a few accessories, and sells the stove for 65ish dollars. You can find the same stove for less as Wasserstroms and other Restaurant supply houses, and similar woks at The Wok Shop. Apparently the butane canisters last a really long time because it only takes a few short minutes to cook food in a wok. Again, see Restaurant Supply places for the best prices on canisters - some sell them individually (but you need to order something else at the same time) and others are solve by the case for an even less expensive per canister price. I looked at a lot of different butane stoves, and this Iwatani seems like the best one, for a number of reasons. There is a higher BTU version available, too, from the same maker, but Eleanor Hoh is the "Wok Star" and she likes this one, apparently. You can google her up if you like.
re: cookware junkie
Another alternative is a Camp Chef 30k btu stove.
This one 30 k x 2 burners can be used inside (and on camping trips it's awesome for making gourmet stove-top dishes). It requires a conventional LP tank. It's excellent for stir-frying and boiling big pots of water pretty quickly, e.g. you can get 12 qts to boil in 20 minutes, or less at high altitude.
re: cookware junkie
Hi cookware junkie, thx for mentioning my husband's amusing video, enjoyed by many. I only just found this thread when I was googling for something else. Thank you for tips on different sites that carry cheaper Iwatani stoves or woks. However, so many times, people buy a cheap wok and fail miserably at 'seasoning' it. Cheap woks don't provide the "technique" or 'skills' to use it properly, hence I included the DVDs, preseasoned wok and I always ensure folks have the right heat source to help them be successful. A gas stove does the trick! Reason I like Iwatani is I used cheaper stoves and the knob breaks with no replacement knobs or the ignition stops, not worth it. Iwatani is sturdy and reliable, never fails, enough said.
BTW, Iwatani swapped out their 10,000 btu with a 12,000 btu and scares most folks using it. It's really quite powerful and focuses at the base of your wok which is exactly where you need it.
If you live near an Asian market, the canisters are cheapest there, under $2 each vs hardware or boat stores which are rip offs. They think because you own a boat, you can be charged 3 times the amount, ridiculous. Enjoy using your portable gas stove, it makes cooking FUN. No more frustrations with screaming heat or cold, slow start with electric. You can have the heat EXACTLY how you want it, what a concept!
Which kind of gas stove did you see? There are portable butane stoves like this one: http://www.iwatani.com/asp/w_product/Product.asp?ProductID=128
and there are propane stoves like these:
http://www.tarhong.com/indiv%20produc... . The butane stoves aren't all that hot; the Iwatani model mentioned by paulj is probably the best of the lot, since it has a gadget that warms the butane can to maintain fuel pressure. The propane "fast stoves" are a lot hotter and more economical to operate, since they can run from a bulk propane tank rather than small butane cans. The butane stoves are used indoors all the time by caterers and the like, but I think it would be a very good idea to keep the propane stoves (and the propane tanks) outdoors.
I would hate to be without my portable gas burners. I think the labeling "for outdoor or restaurant use only" is CYA on the part of the manufacturer; I've never observed this and never had a problem. I use them frequently both at home and when traveling. I also used them for cooking classes and catering but that was a long time and another story ago.
My family used to live in the LA area and after the last big earthquake, my mother insisted on having an emergency kit in her car. I bought her one of these and she happily drove it around for years.
paulj is dead on correct with his advice to buy the butane canisters at an Asian grocery store; they're muchmuch cheaper there.
If you want to cook with a wok, look a BTU ratings. Most ranges/cooktops are around 12K tops, a few 16K or 22-23K. Chinese restaurants use 125-250K BTU burners. They have portable outdoor burners that are high BTU, but it seems like a whole other technique than cooking on a home range. I am hoping this summer to learn to use a high powered burner to stir fry. You can search youtube for videos of people cooking on various wok burners. A real burner only needs a few seconds to cook the food. There are many that take awhile and you can see the difference.
The real deal-
For the other thread I found a Iwatani Cassette-Feu (Japanese brand that pioneered these butane burners) that is rated at 15,000btu. More commonly they are 8000btu.
One problem with these burners when camping is that the canister gets cold as the fuel evaporates, and heat production drops. That's less of a problem when used inside.
I've used one for years in a catering business (double burners) and in my home for parties
(single burner) They do not get hotter than a regular gas burner so no help for the wok, but
they are great when you need additional "stove" capacity. Mine came from a kitchen supply store in a mall, but I'm sure they are available in big restaurant supply houses for maybe less
$$...my single burner was around $60. The butane canisters are pricey, but burn for about an
hour at top heat, so I don't know if that's a deal killer or not. I love having the extra burner for parties and family dinners.
They use aerosol size butane canisters, and have interlock mechanisms that insure the canister is properly installed. Despite the label, they are regularly used in homes, particularly in Asia, but also in the USA. I've seen them used for food demos in large Asian groceries (instead of electric hot plates). In Asian homes (and restaurants) they are used at the table for hot pots, cook-at-the-table soups, and grilling meat (on steel, ceramic or stone hot griddles).
They are not hotter than home gas stoves, so would not help with high temperature wok cooking.