Rough propane use estimate?

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moab
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Rough propane use estimate?

Post by moab » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:35 pm

How much propane would you use in a typical (small) 3 burner barbecue per hour of cooking time? On medium heat? Or how much time would you get out of a full tank? The normal sized ones you get at the store.

Right now I'm wondering how much propane I'm using cooking outside. It's too hot to cook indoors. And I've got a bunch of chicken hind quarters I want to cook. I'm thinking it's gonna take at least 45 minutes to an hour to cook them. Will I use up a 1/4 of a tank? 1/8th of a tank? Just curious. Made me think of how much I could get out of a tank in a disaster.

I plan to have at least a few tanks stored for a disaster that requires we cook on the barbecue. Just wondering what kind of life I can get out of a tank?
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Stercutus
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by Stercutus » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:49 pm

I grill outside 2-3 times a week all year long in all kinds of weather. During the Holidays I will typically roast a Rib Roast on the grill that is amazing. An average grill time is around 25 minutes with ten minutes being for warm up and to burn off the last cook and the rest for the current grill.

I go through 2-3 tanks of propane a year. This is about 8-12 gallons. I normally keep four tanks on hand and fill them at the local TSC for $1.90 - $2.50/ gallon.

This is about an 60% savings over the tank swap you see in front of grocery stores. The tank swap is one big rip-off. They often don't fill the tank fully to 80% (a five gallon tank should have four gallons in it). Most now fill the tank to 70% or less. Even when they do you are paying about $5 gallon+ for propane. When I fill it myself I only pay for what they pump so if only 3.6 gallons fit I pay for 3.6 gallons. (the amount of gas that will fit is based upon the pressure of the tank for safety reasons, this can change based upon temperature and other environmental factors).

So Tank Xchange = $20 for 3.6 gallons
vs.
TSC = $7.20 for 3.6 gallons.

Back when we cooked exclusively with propane we would go through about 25-30 gallons a year for all baking, cooking and grilling needs.

I should note I use a lot less in the summer time because the grill is already at about 120-160 degrees Fahrenheit when I start to cook. It is black and sits in the sun all day soaking up heat.
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by manacheck » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:23 pm

I've noticed it seems like it takes not quite half of a 16oz propane tank when grilling one family's meal of raw meat bone-in and some veggies in moderate weather- for around 45 minutes per meal, including the warm-up time required.

Or, in another way of putting it, I've noticed in years past that it seems like we get about 2 meals cooked all the way through when I've been visiting my family, and then it seems like we have to change out the small 16oz tank for a new one when it runs out halfway through on the third meal's worth.

It could be that fuel economy of propane can be impacted by a number of things, including style of cooking ("certain people" like to peek inside multiple times before it's ready), type and/or size of grill, weather conditions (sun, outside temperature, wind), or any number of other things. It seems like a pretty expensive way to do things for only a couple meals worth of food if you're spending $3 in propane for one meal so I've never seriously looked into getting one of my own.

I'd offer up these two links, maybe one will help in addition:
https://delishably.com/cooking-equipmen ... -Will-Last
https://rollingfox.com/how-long-does-propane-last

Mostly I have a feeling that the answer isn't 100% straightforward. What I'm noticing on my end in times past might not be the same that other people see on their own usage. If I had a wood burning grill I'd maybe be more interested in it than with a propane grill. I mean, we have tons of dead branches around here that cost nothing to use.
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Stercutus
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by Stercutus » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:44 pm

A 16oz disposable cylinder holds less than 1 quart of propane or about 1/16 - 1/18 of the amount of a full 5 (4) gallon tank. I have never seen one run a three burner grill. However a 90 minute run time is not bad.
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moab
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by moab » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:07 pm

Stercutus wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:49 pm
I grill outside 2-3 times a week all year long in all kinds of weather. During the Holidays I will typically roast a Rib Roast on the grill that is amazing. An average grill time is around 25 minutes with ten minutes being for warm up and to burn off the last cook and the rest for the current grill.

I go through 2-3 tanks of propane a year. This is about 8-12 gallons. I normally keep four tanks on hand and fill them at the local TSC for $1.90 - $2.50/ gallon.

This is about an 60% savings over the tank swap you see in front of grocery stores. The tank swap is one big rip-off. They often don't fill the tank fully to 80% (a five gallon tank should have four gallons in it). Most now fill the tank to 70% or less. Even when they do you are paying about $5 gallon+ for propane. When I fill it myself I only pay for what they pump so if only 3.6 gallons fit I pay for 3.6 gallons. (the amount of gas that will fit is based upon the pressure of the tank for safety reasons, this can change based upon temperature and other environmental factors).

So Tank Xchange = $20 for 3.6 gallons
vs.
TSC = $7.20 for 3.6 gallons.

Back when we cooked exclusively with propane we would go through about 25-30 gallons a year for all baking, cooking and grilling needs.

I should note I use a lot less in the summer time because the grill is already at about 120-160 degrees Fahrenheit when I start to cook. It is black and sits in the sun all day soaking up heat.
I would have cooked year around here. But it rained so much this winter I couldn't. And our back decks roof is very very leaky. Can't get the cheap landlord to replace the corrugated panels.

If you did a rib roast then I should be more than fine cooking large chicken pieces. I just didn't want to use up a half a tank of gas.

I found chicken hind quarters frozen for $5 for 10lbs. It's gone up to $6.99 today. But still not a bad deal. I thought I would spice them. Lay them on foil for 35 minutes in the barbecue. Then take out the foil to brown them for maybe 5 minutes per side. It's what I normally do with the oven. Bake them first. Then sit them on the barbecue to brown them afterwards. Usually works good. But I want to do the whole thing outside. As it's hot as balls in my house right now.

Anybody got any good half chicken recipes? :)
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flybynight
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by flybynight » Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:29 pm

Fbn easy BBQ chicken.
One bag of leg quarters
One jar (large) New Orleans spice
Sprinkle liberally spice on chicken
Heat grill high temp then shut off one side. Turn down lit side to med high and BBQ chicken on off side with cover down 15 to 20 minutes per side
Serve with biscuits, beer and Cole slaw. Apple slaw is mazing with this :awesome:
Made this for daughters wedding . Everybody raved about it and some wanted recipe. Hehe told them it was secrete family recipe. Son in law still laughs about this
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moab
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by moab » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:21 pm

flybynight wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 8:29 pm
Fbn easy BBQ chicken.
One bag of leg quarters
One jar (large) New Orleans spice
Sprinkle liberally spice on chicken
Heat grill high temp then shut off one side. Turn down lit side to med high and BBQ chicken on off side with cover down 15 to 20 minutes per side
Serve with biscuits, beer and Cole slaw. Apple slaw is mazing with this :awesome:
Made this for daughters wedding . Everybody raved about it and some wanted recipe. Hehe told them it was secrete family recipe. Son in law still laughs about this
Sounds good. I'll definitely use that cooking technique.
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

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raptor
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Re: Rough propane use estimate?

Post by raptor » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:40 am

One gallon of propane has 91,574 BTUs and weighs about 4.2 lbs

The math is simple:
if the burner is a 36,000 btu burner and it is on max, it will use ~ .39 gallons of propane per hour. (36,000/91,574 = .39)
If the burner is set an 1/2 i.e. 18,000 btus it will use ~ .195 gallons of propane per hour or about .82 lbs an hour.

YMMV due to dirty burners, leaks, etc.

A 20lb propane tank should contain ~20lbs of propane when full. They usually have the tank tare weight on it so if you take the tare weight and add 20lbs to this weight that is what a full propane tank (+/- 1 lb) should weigh. Most 20 lb tanks have a tare weight of +/- 17 pounds when completely empty so a full propane tank should weigh ~ 37 pounds.

Most of the already filled tanks you get on exchange normally have only about 15 lbs of propane in them.

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