A Study in Chafing Dish Fuel - Course 101

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Gary North calls them fire canisters, many call them sterno, and they go by many names including duel heat, power heat, handy fuel, safe heat or canned heat. This is what Gary put on his site: How will you cook if there is no electricity or gas? Fire Canisters are the perfect answer to this question! They are a simple, safe, and inexpensive solution to the problem of cooking when there is no electicity. Fire Canisters have the following properties -- They will burn for 6 hours each!....They boil water and cook food (a canister will fry a hamburger in approx 10 minutes). ..They are safe to ship and safe to use. They last for years on your shelf. ..They are simple, safe, and inexpensive...OK...I will add a few more comments as I have a food service distributing business here in Phoenix and I just started selling these at a local swap meet last week. One brand "safe heat" has a hot blue white flame....can remains cool to the touch...can style allows proper air to fuel ratio...snuff flame with cap and store for later use....is a liquid with a large wick...will not evaporate. The power heat brand is a solid methanol gel and was the tradional type. Power Heat plus is a solid ethanol gel, and is non-toxic and comes in a crush-resistant steel conainer. As a distributor I have shopped around (local master-distributors) and get the 6 hour for 70 cents each and the 2 hour for 28 cents each. A case is from 24 to 72 units. I am not selling these over the net! This post is for information ONLY. Today I went to Wal Mart and picked up a few sterno brand folding stoves to use with canned heat. cost was $6.98 each. They are compact..lightweight. & rustproof. BTW somewhere on the net I saw a case of canned heat (24) plus small stove for $69. plus S&H. Anyone that has a business related to food can get these cans for you at a reasonable cost. So these would be a practical and economical way to do both small scale cooking and keep food warm INDOORS!! Bueno Suerte/Good Luck

-- ronbanks (phxbanks@webtv.net), January 17, 1999


Thank you, Ron. We have a little Coleman camping pot stove, but didn't want to use it indoors because of harmful gases. Don't want to use it outside to advertise our gruel. Were thinking about sterno and were planning a shopping comparison next week. Thanks.

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), January 17, 1999.

Sam's has the Safe Heat brand. Cans remain cool to the touch and burn for 6 hours each. The fuel is said not to evaporate. A case of 12 sells for $11.99. Used after Fran took out the power, we were able to have coffee within 10 minutes. We also made scrambled eggs and heated soup with no problems. If you can't find a Sterno stove, you can substitute a small, cheap barbecue grill (few dollars at the drug store). Note: before you char the enamel on your gourmet cookware, buy a mess kit, some old pots from thrift stores, and/or iron pots for all your open-flame cooking. If you don't usually barbecue, make sure you have long-handled utensils too.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 17, 1999.

Years ago, I was present when a Sterno can/stove exploded and burned a man rather badly at buffet at an up-scale hotel. Is the product from Sam's club safer? I am not sure. I have considered buying it. But I remember the man screaming...it is hard to forget. I guess nothing is without risk..

-- Sue (conibear@gateway.net), January 18, 1999.

Sue....you make a good point...they are not 100 percent safe....but maybe moreso than kerosene or propane or butane or gasoline or charcoal or wood in fireplace. I don't want anyone hurt while trying to cook or warm their food. SO what can we do? I think we can do the following. (1) Vent the house...period. (2) Have fire extinguishers throughout house. I use KiddePlus for grease, gasoline and electrical. (3) Don't leave fires unattended. (Use some common sense) (4) Make sure can is not punctured or "beat up". The common use for canned heat is in buffets and catering operations. I would guess there are many millions of cans used each year....I am 64 and have been associated with the food industry for 40 years and I have never met anyone who was injured by canned heat...I'm quite sure someone was but they didn't tell me. I sell the safe heat brand which I note Sams also stocks. This is the info on the outside of a case: SAFE PRODUCT Non-toxic-safe to use around food. If accidentally knocked over the flame will not spread. Odorless-no offensive smell competing with food aroma. Safe to touch-no burned hands or linen. ECOMOMICAL A can burns as long a 3 cans of jelled product. No waste-can be caped and relit to assure 100 percent consumption. INSTRUCTIONS Use hot tap water in the chafing dish for start-up. Unscrew cap and light any edge of wick. Pull up wick slightly for hotter flame (not while it's burning, you idiot!) To extinguish flame, use cap as snuffer. Cap it if you plan to reuse it. NOW REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE SO CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!

-- ronbanks (phxbanks@webtv.net), January 18, 1999.

A contribution from the one of the inventors (there were three of us who developed it) of wick style "canned heat."

Wick style chafing fuel, as opposed to traditional open top alcohol canned cooking fuels, is by far the safest best choice for emergency preparedness and camping.

Since its first introduction to the foodservice industry in 1984 by a company called MTC Choice Prouducts, (Torrence, CA)., wick style fuel has become widely accepted as the safer alternative.

There are many brands now on the market and most are of sufficient quality. What to look for is a canned fuel with a wick, not the type with the lid that is pryed off.

The advantages of wick style fuel is that it is made with a combustable and not-flammable fuel with a flash point of 260 degrees F.

Compare this to alcohol fuels with a flash point of about 54 degrees F and you can see one important safety feature.

Another is the fuel is also sealed in the can. This is important if you have children. People have been known to confuse an open can of the jellied alcohol for a foodstuff.

The shelf life of wick style canned fuels is virtually indefinate. We have cans in our lab that are over 15 years old and still usable. Alcohol fuels, even unopened, are good for only about 1 year. After that, the alcohol fuel has evaporated.

If you are using a coleman stove, you can remove the fuel tank and simply set the canned fuel under the grill. This eliminates the use of flammable white gas.

In an emergency, you can use a coffee can turned upside down (put air holes in the side of the can) or simply position three rocks with the canned fuel in the middle.

The best wick fuel to buy is one with an adjustable wick if you can find it. This provides ajustable heat. If not, others will work just fine.

Of course I am happy to hear all of you have discovered the advantages of wick style canned fuel. Presently this little product has taken me to China where I now produce wick style fuel for the Asian market.

Best Regards, Russell Betts

-- Russell Betts (russellbetts@hotmail.com), July 11, 1999.

Mr. Betts-

Thanks for taking the time to post. I always appreciate information that comes 'straight from the horse's mouth', or straight from the mouth of the inventor, as in your case.


-- newbiebutnodummy (Linda@home.com), July 12, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ