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Old 03-17-2018, 02:59 PM   #1
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Propane for Cooking?

Anyone have advice or input with regards to propane for cooking?

I won't need heat because I have no intention to be anywhere cold. If a cold front blew through where I was at, than so be it. I have a heavy duty sleeping bag I purchased for that type of situation. But I have no intention to be in the cold climates beginning in May.

But, with regards to cooking: I am beginning to think about propane and charcoal for cooking. Obviously charcoal outside, and propane either oustide of inside the bus if it's cold or raining outside. I currently have (and had planned for) an induction stovetop burner, but I am now thinking that all that electricity is just not going to be feasible. Though I COULD spend the $1000 dollar for another 100w LiFePO4 battery - I don't know that it's necessary if I can find an alternative source for cooking.

That said, I'm thinking charcoal and propane gas. I found a combo grill on Amazon that I might order for this purpose. But, I don't know how much propane I should anticipate using. The most I'd be using is one of those typical propane tanks for a grill in your traditional home. I anticipate cooking 1 or 2 times a day max. More likely 1 time a day for less than an hour. Enough time to steam some vegetables and cook a grain like quinoa.

Would love some thoughts and feedback. TIA, sincerely.
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Old 03-17-2018, 03:54 PM   #2
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Anyone have advice or input with regards to propane for cooking?



I won't need heat because I have no intention to be anywhere cold. If a cold front blew through where I was at, than so be it. I have a heavy duty sleeping bag I purchased for that type of situation. But I have no intention to be in the cold climates beginning in May.



But, with regards to cooking: I am beginning to think about propane and charcoal for cooking. Obviously charcoal outside, and propane either oustide of inside the bus if it's cold or raining outside. I currently have (and had planned for) an induction stovetop burner, but I am now thinking that all that electricity is just not going to be feasible. Though I COULD spend the $1000 dollar for another 100w LiFePO4 battery - I don't know that it's necessary if I can find an alternative source for cooking.



That said, I'm thinking charcoal and propane gas. I found a combo grill on Amazon that I might order for this purpose. But, I don't know how much propane I should anticipate using. The most I'd be using is one of those typical propane tanks for a grill in your traditional home. I anticipate cooking 1 or 2 times a day max. More likely 1 time a day for less than an hour. Enough time to steam some vegetables and cook a grain like quinoa.



Would love some thoughts and feedback. TIA, sincerely.


Used only for cooking a 20# tank would last a long time I would think.
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Old 03-17-2018, 03:57 PM   #3
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Used only for cooking a 20# tank would last a long time I would think.
Would you say if I'm cooking for 1 hour a day that a tank would last a couple weeks or even a month?

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Old 03-17-2018, 04:40 PM   #4
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If you know the BTU rating of the burner and how long you are going to run it you can calculate how much propane you will consume. IIRC: 1 gallon of propane will yield a bit over 91,000 Btu's.

I lived in a house for several years that was all electric except for the cooktop. It was propane. We cooked almost daily and a 40# tank lasted 2-3 months.
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Old 03-17-2018, 04:43 PM   #5
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If you know the BTU rating of the burner and how long you are going to run it you can calculate how much propane you will consume. IIRC: 1 gallon of propane will yield a bit over 91,000 Btu's.

I lived in a house for several years that was all electric except for the cooktop. It was propane. We cooked almost daily and a 40# tank lasted 2-3 months.
Oh wow. Wow! Well if that's case... Shoot. I should be more than fine.

I eat mostly plant based and while foods. So steaming veggies and cooking quinoa or buckwheat are my only needs for cooking. All of which take a half hour or less to cook from a heat source.

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Old 03-19-2018, 11:20 AM   #6
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Oh wow. Wow! Well if that's case... Shoot. I should be more than fine.

I eat mostly plant based and while foods. So steaming veggies and cooking quinoa or buckwheat are my only needs for cooking. All of which take a half hour or less to cook from a heat source.

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If you enjoy hot beverages, you might want to consider the water boiling time that takes as well. Pretty negligible, but still there...
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:25 AM   #7
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So I guess I just honestly didn't know, haha. A few people have recommended using propane for anything heating wise, but I am genuinely afraid of fire/flame, and I kinda don't really want to blow myself up, ya know? Heh.

But, I also REALLY don't want to drop another $1,000 on a LiFePO4 battery. Man, I have so much money already wrapped up into the electrical stuff it's just mind-boggling to me personally. I'm a total amateur of course, so maybe the shock factor is completely natural.

This is why I began entertaining the actual idea of propane for cooking. I don't need heat in the bus other than what the front cab puts out because I have no intention of being in cold climates beginning this summer when I take off. I want to always be in the warmer climates and just chase the warm weather as Fall comes into place.

Definitely looking much more seriously into propane as my option for cooking though.
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:33 AM   #8
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While fear can be healthy, propane, like gasoline, and motorcycles, deserve respect, not fear.

Given proper installation and maintenance, along with leak detection, propane is quite safe and is widely used without any problems. Problems occur when folks misuse it (refilling 1lb cylinders, not leak testing joints, not keeping a properly working leak detector in the rig etc...).

Of course, you can always fire up a generator and use electric for everything. However electric is incredibly inefficient comparatively speaking...

If you aren't urban boondocking, you can do a lot more grilling with charcoal or grilling wood. Or since it sounds like you are going with a veggie based approach, you might want to consider a wood gasifier to give you a cleaner burn of the fuel. Lousy to simmer with, great to boil and steam... Just don't use them inside!
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Old 03-19-2018, 11:36 AM   #9
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While fear can be healthy, propane, like gasoline, and motorcycles, deserve respect, not fear.

Given proper installation and maintenance, along with leak detection, propane is quite safe and is widely used without any problems. Problems occur when folks misuse it (refilling 1lb cylinders, not leak testing joints, not keeping a properly working leak detector in the rig etc...).

Of course, you can always fire up a generator and use electric for everything. However electric is incredibly inefficient comparatively speaking...

If you aren't urban boondocking, you can do a lot more grilling with charcoal or grilling wood. Or since it sounds like you are going with a veggie based approach, you might want to consider a wood gasifier to give you a cleaner burn of the fuel. Lousy to simmer with, great to boil and steam... Just don't use them inside!
So this isn't the first time I've read someone saying that cooking with electricity lacks efficiency. May I ask why that is?

My figuring is that if I have solar panels and the sun is giving me free energy - I dunno. Seems like the very best and most efficient means. No though?

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Old 03-19-2018, 12:01 PM   #10
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So this isn't the first time I've read someone saying that cooking with electricity lacks efficiency. May I ask why that is?

My figuring is that if I have solar panels and the sun is giving me free energy - I dunno. Seems like the very best and most efficient means. No though?

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Solar yes. Re read my post though. I was talking generator.... Simple,

Generator converts petrochemical fuel to electricity that is then stored in your battery bank via a charger or sent straight to the device using the power.... If you are storing the energy for later, there is a loss of efficiency in the charging stage where some of that energy is converted to heat in the circuits, some is lost in the chemical reactions of the batteries. Once you use that energy, it goes back out from the battery, again another loss of energy through conversion to heat in the circuits, and chemical reactions, through the inverter, to the appliance.

Propane on the other hand, once it is drilled out of the ground, which drilling, piping, and processing are technically efficiency losses, but those are all along the same lines of what happens to get gasoline into a generator, the rest of the process is effectively loss free unless, and this is a huge unless, there is a leak. And consider this. Electricity, can, and does leak. It's called a short circuit, which can lead to electrocution, fires, and other not fun things.

So if you chose to go electric, or propane, you still need to make certain your system is installed, maintained, and used safely...
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:07 PM   #11
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Solar yes. Re read my post though. I was talking generator.... Simple,

Generator converts petrochemical fuel to electricity that is then stored in your battery bank via a charger or sent straight to the device using the power.... If you are storing the energy for later, there is a loss of efficiency in the charging stage where some of that energy is converted to heat in the circuits, some is lost in the chemical reactions of the batteries. Once you use that energy, it goes back out from the battery, again another loss of energy through conversion to heat in the circuits, and chemical reactions, through the inverter, to the appliance.

Propane on the other hand, once it is drilled out of the ground, which drilling, piping, and processing are technically efficiency losses, but those are all along the same lines of what happens to get gasoline into a generator, the rest of the process is effectively loss free unless, and this is a huge unless, there is a leak. And consider this. Electricity, can, and does leak. It's called a short circuit, which can lead to electrocution, fires, and other not fun things.

So if you chose to go electric, or propane, you still need to make certain your system is installed, maintained, and used safely...
Wow. Very informative. Thanks for the explanation! Makes sense.

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Old 03-19-2018, 01:39 PM   #12
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Wow. Very informative. Thanks for the explanation! Makes sense.

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Sorry, even though I changed majors, I spent a LOT of time in college in engineering classes. Hated the math, loved the mechanics...
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:16 PM   #13
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Cooking regular meals like you discussed uses a whole lot less propane than you would if you were barbequeing meat for long periods of time. How log does it take to steam vegetables and pasta, 10 minutes? No question a propane stove in mine is the easiest and most economical and practical way to go.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:53 PM   #14
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I'd just like to say that we recently got our propane oven/stove a couple days ago and we've used the hell out of it already. This morning I made omelets and then Hillary baked cookies. We've done baked chicken and might try some frozen burritos later. I've also used the range twice a day for boiling water for coffee and tea. It's a no brainer for me. Other than the smaller size (you won't be making frozen pizza) the only thing that will take getting used to is the higher/lower know rather than locking in a specific temperature. You actually have to watch the thermometer.

We got the same stove everyone else seems to have, which is this one: http://amzn.to/2ph6T3p
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:57 PM   #15
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Cooking regular meals like you discussed uses a whole lot less propane than you would if you were barbequeing meat for long periods of time. How log does it take to steam vegetables and pasta, 10 minutes? No question a propane stove in mine is the easiest and most economical and practical way to go.
Marc, exactly. Approximately 10 minutes to steam the veggies. Quinoa and some of the grains I cook are about 15-20 minutes.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:58 PM   #16
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I'd just like to say that we recently got our propane oven/stove a couple days ago and we've used the hell out of it already. This morning I made omelets and then Hillary baked cookies. We've done baked chicken and might try some frozen burritos later. I've also used the range twice a day for boiling water for coffee and tea. It's a no brainer for me. Other than the smaller size (you won't be making frozen pizza) the only thing that will take getting used to is the higher/lower know rather than locking in a specific temperature. You actually have to watch the thermometer.

We got the same stove everyone else seems to have, which is this one: http://amzn.to/2ph6T3p

Thanks brokedown! I'm shopping away online actually right now for a cooking system that's propane. Will look into the link you provided.

Propane just seems like the way I'd like to at least start out trying. If I do get another solar panel and LiFePO4 battery, than I'll look back into using the induction stovetop again, but it's just not feasible right now.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:00 PM   #17
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brokedown, does the outside get hot? Is this something I can keep stationary and fixed in my bus??
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:02 PM   #18
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Thanks brokedown! I'm shopping away online actually right now for a cooking system that's propane. Will look into the link you provided.

Propane just seems like the way I'd like to at least start out trying. If I do get another solar panel and LiFePO4 battery, than I'll look back into using the induction stovetop again, but it's just not feasible right now.
I plan on propane heat (?)and water heating, so it's one less fuel to deal with. Also cheap, easy to store large quantities safely
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:06 PM   #19
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I've only seen them being used as fixed appliances. I haven't actually touched the sides but next time I use it (i'll make coffee again in a bit) I'll get that info for you.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:45 PM   #20
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brokedown, does the outside get hot? Is this something I can keep stationary and fixed in my bus??
There are plenty of people that do. Allow a couple of inches for airflow around the stove / oven and you should be fine.

Are you going to be baking with this? If not, you might consider just a conventional propane cook top or camp stove instead.
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