I have fallen back in love with my outdoor propane burner. I got the four-legged thing back in the turkey fryer craze. Mindy was doing a Tennessean piece on turkey fryers, which was green light I was waiting for to buy one.
It’s probably the summer heat and humidity getting to me. I set the burner up just outside the kitchen door with a 10-pound tank. I figured that I’m using the gas grill as an oven to roast cabbage, carrots, beets, and potatoes, so why am I heating water on the stove and steaming up the house for other summer vegetables?
So, for boiling, blanching, or slow simmering – any hot water cooking that heats and steams up the kitchen – now goes on the outdoor burner. Turnip greens, mustard greens and collard greens, green beans, broccoli, and pasta.
When you’re finished cooking just turn off the burner, shut off the gas valve on the propane tanks and leave the pot of hot water on the burner to cool down outdoors before pouring the water down the drain. Leave the steam outside.
In her Tennessean story Mindy called our turkey fryer/outdoor burner the “party pot” to make for a bigger story. After we fried the turkey and got that behind us, we put the oil to work with chickens, shrimp, A beef loin (not so good), and my favorite, a couple of those big smoked kielbasas that partially sliced for more exterior crust. Beautiful curled rings of sausage. And yes, I started out with too much oil. Rookie mistake.
Never ended up frying too many turkeys (I found the peanut oil management to be a hassle and our oven roasted turkey halves method really does the job), but every so often we heat up some oil in a Dutch oven for cornmeal catfish with Belgian style fries, shrimp, chicken wings, and corn tortillas for fried corn chips for a New Mex fest. When green peanuts show up in the fall, we boil them on the burner out on the patio.
The burner is great for keeping a big pot of chili or beans warm at a backyard party. I recommend setting up the burner where breezes won’t extinguish the flame. When the flame is set low for warming be sure to keep an eye on the burner in case you need to relight it.
For frying things more manageable than turkeys, like chicken, okra, and tortillas, we set the burner on an outdoor table and spare filling the kitchen with oily vapors.