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May 23, 2011 11:47 AM

I need help choosing an outdoor gas cooker

I'd like to buy an outdoor gas cooker to use primarily for steaming lobsters and clams. My pot holds 20 quarts of water and has a 14" diameter.

I'm considering a few of the Bayou Classic gas cookers, but I don't really know how to choose the one that's best for my needs. Among those I'm considering are the SQ 14, the SP 10 and the KAB4. Can anyone help me sort out the advantages and disadvantages of each of these, and help me choose the one that's best for me? Thanks!

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  1. Doesn't seem like you need anything very powerful - things like frying a turkey or wok-cooking might require a burner that puts out a lot of BTU's, but boiling enough water to steam a few lobsters? Even the cheapest unit you could find could probably do that..

    5 Replies
    1. re: grant.cook

      Part of the challenge, though, is to quickly bring the water BACK to a boil once the lobsters are added to the pot.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Heat the water to boiling over medium-high heat. Add lobsters. Immediately turn the flame all the way up to full. That extra boost of BTUs helps counter the cooling effect of the lobsters.

        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          Interesting, but I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how why you wouldn't just start with the flame on full to bring the water to a boil faster and leave it there once you throw in the lobsters. The only way to speed up the process is to add even more heat or use a larger pot (higher water-to-lobster ratio means the water cools down less when adding the bugs.) Or, as grant suggests, steam the lobsters instead of boiling them.

          1. re: BobB

            "The only way to speed up the process is to add even more heat."

            Which is what you're doing when you bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. A boil is a boil, so although getting the water up to 212 degrees on med-high takes longer, the trick is that when you throw in the lobsters, thereby dropping the temperature to--I dunno, let's say 185--you can also turn up the burner to full. So as you say, you're adding even more heat and therefore speeding up the process of getting the water back up to 212 from 185.

            Why am I being reminded of Nigel Tufnel's "These go to 11" scene?

            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

              I get that having the heat on high after adding the lobsters will get things back to the boil faster - what I don't get is why the medium-high to start. As long as the heat is on high from the moment you put the lobsters into the pot, the time it then takes them to cook is exactly the same no matter what heat level you used to get the water boiling in the first place. Using anything less than full-on high to start with simply makes the whole process take longer.

              And careful there - many years spent in the high-end home audio business dealing with idiots who couldn't recognize the difference between clean power and overdriven distortion makes me very sensitive to comments about turning things up to 11! ;-)

    2. My son bought one of those rigs you use to deep fry a turkey. Used it once on a turkey, and then realized that they are somewhat dangerous, you need to deal with a whole bunch of used frying oil, and never used it again for deep frying. However, it turns out that it is quite useful as a lobster/clam steamer, and it gets substantial use as that. You can buy them pretty cheaply at Walmarts, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, and I assume a whole host of other places. I assume that some of your considerations are probably top shelf, and dollar. Why go that route when you can pick up a cheapo at one of the above mentioned places that will do the same job, at a much lower price.

      1 Reply
      1. re: trakman

        It's not dangerous if you you it properly