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Monday, August 15, 2011

My first use of the volcano stove


The volcano stove is hyped as a wonderful tool for outdoor cooking.

It can be fueled with wood, charcoal or propane, and can be used as a stove or as a hibachi style grill.

It's popular among those who cook with a camp oven over coals, because you can remove the grill part and place your camp oven inside.

It's designed to fit the 12 inch camp oven, which is the most commonly used size.

This was my first time using the volcano stove. I used propane as the fuel, using it as a grill for steaks.

In order to use propane with this, you need a special propane attachment, which is sold separately. You need a crescent wrench to attach and detach it.

The steak recipe I used, I discovered at the grocery store, where they were handing out free samples of steak marinated in Pecos 83 BBQ marinade, and seasoned with Adams Reserve Southwest Ancho rub.

I grilled the steaks just as I would on any other grill.

I can't say I'm impressed with the volcano as a propane grill.

It works, and would no doubt be useful in an emergency, but would not be my first choice otherwise.

The flame was difficult to control and there were a lot of flare ups*, contrary to what the product website claims.

*It was later suggested that I adjust the flame on the bottom of the burner. So I tried that, but was never able to get a blue flame**, no matter how I adjusted it.

**Propane burners are supposed to emit a blue flame. Orange flames are cooler and less efficient. The flame was mostly orange, except for one adjustment in which the flame was white.

I closed the vents, which helped with the flare ups, but the flame remained orange.

There are two levers, and both close all the vents at once. Left is closed, right is open.

Now, with steaks, you want the fire to be hot in order to sear the steak. So I wonder if the vents are supposed to be closed when grilling steak?

I haven't tried it as a propane stove yet. My suspicion is that, although it's possible to use as a grill, it's better suited for use as a stove.

But I already have a propane stove.

And I don't like that there's no safe way to light the burner, from the side. You have to stick your hand in there, and I nearly got burned by the flame.

So I removed the propane attachment, which was a disappointment, since I bought this in order to use propane with my camp ovens*.

*Not recommended. Read my article to find out why.

I still intend to try it with my camp oven, since that's supposed to be its niche, but I'll use coals.

It has the advantage of being able to use coals anywhere, since the outside is cool to the touch; It's legal to use in areas where fire is prohibited.

So in other words, this is a glorified fire pit.

The ability to use propane sounded like a great feature, but didn't meet my expectations*.

*The company has offered to replace the propane burner and regulator, so we'll see how that works out.

2 comments:

  1. It would have been nice if you would have called Tech Support for help with your Volcano before you posted a negative comment. We stand behind our product, but it is hard to help or solve problems before we know about them. As I said on the phone, send me the burner assembly. We will either fix it or replace it and, also as I said, I will include a "chicken" stick so that you CAN use a match if you dont want to use a longer BBQ lighter.

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  2. My blog articles are always honest and based on my personal experience, good or bad. This is not an "advertising" blog.

    I did email the company after writing this article.

    As suggested, I tried adjusting the flame on the bottom of the burner, to no avail; I never did get a blue flame.

    But I do plan to send the burner back and we'll see how that works out.

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