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Outdoor burner for scalding chickens  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 285
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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I just finished harvesting this year's batch of roosters and am exhausted from running back and forth to the kitchen to reheat water and try to mix it to the right temperature.  I probably waste 30 minutes per bird futzing with that.    I've learned that getting the temp just right 145-150 is crucial to easy plucking.  When it's done right the feathers (including pins) come off in handfuls and then a final rub with a butter knife in the direction of the pins to catch any strays.   This year I can splurge on an outdoor burner with temperature regulator but I don't do enough chickens to justify hundreds for the "pro" style scalder.    After looking high and low for something big and strong enough to support the huge pot (my water bath canner works well)  I found this which can also be my backup for electric stove and for simmering broths all day every day.    I

I would appreciate opinions, especially if someone here already owns this burner.  The price is right but the specs don't talk about how long it takes to bring the temp up (aka how much propane I'll use),  and of course time to re-heat between birds.   I've never used propane before and don't know how to translate BTU's into real world function

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/backyard-pro-stainless-steel-single-burner-outdoor-patio-stove-range/554BPSS16.html?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiAr93gBRDSARIsADvHiOo8P4PX-zAXL3cezl4o8MMIKPoGWdmT0iA882TdXO345CriqzUSeFoaAi_JEALw_wcB
 
gardener
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Hi Susan;
I haven't used that particular model, but have a similar one, a two burner . We use it every summer as an outdoor kitchen. It sits right next to the smoker grill.  
I have used only propane my whole life, would not use an electric range if I had one. 55,000 btu is good sized. You will be pleased how fast it will heat water for you.


 
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Location: Vermont, USA
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I've used similar models too.  Currently I have one of these - https://amzn.to/2QYciM0 (affiliate link).  I've used it one season only for ~130 birds.  It works pretty well.  I still had a partially filled 5 lb propane tank from last year's processing and didn't manage to empty it this year, either.  The BTU rating is pretty close to the one you linked to - 55k vs 57k.  I found that unless it is absolutely dead still, it is hard to turn these *down* far enough to avoid overheating the water.  I ended up being intentionally messy with scalding, letting birds drip a lot of hot water out onto the ground and periodically adding cold.  I eventually found a cadence where this kept temperature in the desired range (I like 165°F).

I wouldn't put a lot of stock in the "temperature regulator".  Technically, yes, I guess that's what it is.  But really it's just a very coarse control.  If you figure out some trick to being able to set these things at a desired temperature, I'd love to hear about it.  I float a meat thermometer in my pot and check it from time to time to see if I need to adjust what I'm doing.

I've considered using something like the above to bring water up to temperature (because they really are quick) and then switching to something like https://amzn.to/2Bo6lOn (affiliate link) which does have electronic temperature control.  But I haven't tried it yet - and I'd want to be sure to have any electric hookup done safely considering all the water involved.

Though, I've also been thinking about building a rocket stove to do this job...
 
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That is similar to mine that came with my turkey fryer kit. They work very well but if it is windy you will like having a hinged, plywood wind break. (mine is three pieces about 3 inches longer than one of the burner sides, 4 strap hinges (small 3" size) 2 per end panel)
 
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Location: West Tennessee
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That's a good looking burner Susan. I have owned a couple different kinds and sizes from my days of brewing beer, and I'll share what I've learned. There only seems to be a handful of different size burners out there on the market, and I'm referring to the actual fuel & air mixing apparatus that the flame comes from, and these are installed in all sorts of different stands varying in platform size, height and load bearing capacity. I have one similar to the burner in the link you provided, as it contains the same little fire breathing ring but in a taller stand. That 55k BTU burner really makes quite a bit of heat, and if I had to hazard a guess, I estimate it can bring 5 gallons of water to 150 fahrenheit in 30 minutes or less, depending on how cold that water starts off at and how windy it is. The wind, like Redhawk noted, can be a real efficiency killer with these outdoor propane burners, and on breezy days a wind shield can really help out tremendously. One of those exchangeable propane cylinders that are found at almost every gas station and grocery store I think will yield quite a few sessions. To give an idea of propane use, I used to have a 220K BTU burner, and a new full propane cylinder would fire that thing for about 12-14 hours before going empty.

I think that through a little use, you'll get a a good feel for how high to have the flame going while birds are dunked to keep the water at your desired target temperature while minimizing the temperature recovery time between birds.
 
Posts: 157
Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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Turkey fryer style burners are great.  More BTUs than camp stove type burners so it's a fast heat up.  Get one with a good throttle and wind shielding so you can turn it down to maintain heat.

If you're just doing a couple birds I found the side burner on my gas grill sufficient for temp maintenance between birds if it was already hot.  But more than a couple birds and you will be adding too much water for such a small burner to be adequate.
 
Susan Pruitt
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Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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Really helpful and encouraging tips guys.  Particularly knowing that the 55K is plenty and possibly even too hot appeals to me.  It's easier to cool a pot down than to bring up the temp.    As slow as I am doing one bird at a time, maybe this will be fast enough to be ready by the time I've plucked the previous bird.   At least the water left from dunking the first bird will be re-heating itself while topping off with a half-gallon or so of fresh water, compared to letting the scald pot cool down while I'm waiting and carrying soup pots of water from the house multiple times!    

I can't imagine doing 130 birds - you must have had a team of people.   As a beginner I'm still operating under MAJOR anxiety and I had to spread 6 roosters and 1 old hen over 3 days, lol.   I wish I had posted my question before doing this year's harvest - I'll get the burner now for making broth out of all the carcasses but it will be next summer before testing plucking production.   I'll update this post then.   Some day I'll write an E-book for solo beginners.   The guys on youtube make it look so quick and easy - us old gals need lots of moral support        Thank you   Thank you   Thank you !!!

p.s.   after my original post I discovered that model burner also comes in a black powder coated version - $30 LESS than stainless!   I can definitely invest $29.95  for a trial run
 
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