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Thread: Outdoor electric cooktop for small batches?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    OH
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    Default Outdoor electric cooktop for small batches?

    I boil about 5 gallons per day on a propane turkey fryer and then finish inside on an electric induction cooktop. I spend 6 hours making 1 bottle and I need to find ways to reduce that. I plan to increase my surface area by using multiple pots or a steam pan, but I’ll need more burners.

    So instead of getting a camp stove or a second turkey fryer, I’m thinking about electric. It works inside so why won’t it work outside? If I can find one of those drop in cooktops it will have 4 burners and a flat surface. I’m thinking I can run a steam pan across 2 burners or multiple pots that way. I can make a stand and plug it into an existing 220v outlet. I should be able to find something like this when someone remodels their house: http://www.sears.com/kenmore-30inch-...blockType=G36#

    Electric seems cheaper than propane and i don’t have to refill the tank. So what is the downside of an outdoor electric stove?
    Last edited by jdircksen; 01-23-2018 at 02:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Bethel Park, PA
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    I haven't done much of this but I'll let you know what I did and how I'm expanding. Last year I boiled in a 4" steam pan on my coleman camp stove outside on a covered porch. It was helpful to have cookie sheets around the pan to help keep the heat in. The pan had about 1.75 square feet of surface area which will theoretically evaporate a lot more than a stock pot (my other option).

    This year I am going to 2 steam pans and I welded up a frame work to hold them on top of my Blackstone griddle (the griddle is removed). each pan will be sitting above a double burner. The framework is wrapped in sheet metal so hopefully it's somewhat efficient.

    With respect to the electric version. As long as it's covered it probably will be ok. Something to help trap the heat around the pans/pots would be helpful. I don't know which is cheaper though, propane or electric. Outside, my guess would be propane.
    2017 - Started with 5 taps, added 2 more. 16 gallons of sap. 58 ounces of syrup. Boiled in a 4" water pan on my camp stove. Finished in the kitchen.
    2018 - Expanding to a relatives property. Upgrading my boiling setup to a double pan.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2015
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    Chesterfield MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdircksen View Post
    I boil about 5 gallons per day on a propane turkey fryer and then finish inside on an electric induction cooktop. I spend 6 hours making 1 bottle and I need to find ways to reduce that. I plan to increase my surface area by using multiple pots or a steam pan, but Iíll need more burners.

    So instead of getting a camp stove or a second turkey fryer, Iím thinking about electric. It works inside so why wonít it work outside? If I can find one of those drop in cooktops it will have 4 burners and a flat surface. Iím thinking I can run a steam pan across 2 burners or multiple pots that way. I can make a stand and plug it into an existing 220v outlet.

    Electric seems cheaper than propane and i donít have to refill the tank. So what is the downside of an outdoor electric stove?
    We started with a turkey fryer years back. Retaining heat can be a chore boiling this way outdoors. Especially if you get a wind or breeze. My first suggestion is to build a cinder block surround around the fryer to hold heat to the area you are boiling. Secondly boil small amounts of sap vs a big pot full that will take for ever to get cooking. Remember we are "evaporating" steam off so start with 2-3 inches in you kettle and add small amounts as your evaporation begins. Set your ice aside to melt in a bucket and add after it melts. Don't try to melt ice by boiling it. We use to finish, filter, and fill inside which was an absolute mess LOL so an electric unit outside is certainly doable.

    We were faced with the same issue with the cost of propane. I ended up getting an E-Z Up tent, built a block surround around our turkey fryer under the tent, clipped blue taps up as walls to the sides of the tent to block wind and cut our evaporation time way down. We also heaterd with a wood stove so i would pre-heat our sap on top of the wood stove. The tent made a warm cozy hang out spot too

    Good luck
    1st Year Turkey Fryer Guru-10 taps and No Clue
    2nd Year Warming Pans on a Barrel Unit-25 taps Still No Clue
    3rd Year 2 X 3 Divided Pan on a NEW Homemade Barrel Unit-45 taps Starting To Learn
    4th year (2017) Mason 2 X 3 Inside Small Shack-85 Taps I Think I'm Addicted!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    My first year I made enough to be able to sell some, I had a 2x3 flat pan on my patio. I put up a vendors type tent over it and the smoke stack went up at about 45 degree angle and was braced up by EMT attached to my deck railing. It took a long time, boiling at between 5.5 -6 gal/hr. That summer I started my sugarhouse and bought a used 2x6 evaporator. Way better with a roof and walls, but it got done without too.
    With either electric or propane you will want to do as much as you can to improve evaporation efficiency, both methods are going to be pricy to say the least.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, down to about 700 in '16, up to 1000 for 2019?
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    OH
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. After more research, I'm finding that the used electric stovetops in my price range just don't have a whole lot of wattage (--->Btu). I don't want to buy a newer, higher power stovetop, so I'm tabling this idea for now.
    2018: 9 Silver Maples totaling 22 taps. Propane turkey fryer and full size steam table pan on electric stove. I made 4.25 gallons in my backyard!

  6. #6
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    Apr 2016
    Location
    Kentucky
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    So, I'm new to the whole maple syrup arena, but I'm also trying to improve on my maple syrup production. I've been using a propane burner/turkey frying last year and this year, but I've been thinking of going to electric as well. I live in Kentucky and electricity is cheap. So far I've found that some beer brewers have created an electric beer brewing kettle. Looks like we could adapt it to a steam table pan easily. I have two steam table pans, I was thinking of using one with a propane burner and the other be electric. I would use both to evaporate and then finish with the propane. http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/heating-elements

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
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    That's pretty neat. That website says the beer kettle usually boils 10-20 gallons. A full size steam table plan, even at 4" deep is around 3.5 gallons. It might be too much heat for what you can fit in a steam pan. I'm guessing the heating element needs to stay submerged, so that will limit how much you can boil off.

    I am working on a natural gas setup now, but would still be interested in electric if it works. The real sap pans usually have 3/4" draw off ports, looks like the heating element is 1". Too bad you couldn't swap it out and test it.
    2018: 9 Silver Maples totaling 22 taps. Propane turkey fryer and full size steam table pan on electric stove. I made 4.25 gallons in my backyard!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
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    check out this guy...I just found his thread and there's plenty of info to get you started.

    http://mapletrader.com/community/sho...ink-Evaporator

    http://mapletrader.com/community/sho...-Design-Page-1
    2018: 9 Silver Maples totaling 22 taps. Propane turkey fryer and full size steam table pan on electric stove. I made 4.25 gallons in my backyard!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    OH
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    12

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    We have finished on induction for a few years and will do small batches on it. We originally bought an 1800 watt which we now use to preheat. We bought a 3500 watt that does a great job.

    It is slow, small surface area, but cheap and easy. You can go inside for an hour or two and leave it without worry.

    Both of ours are portable.

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