How many BTU do I need?

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AlbuquerqueDan
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How many BTU do I need?

Post by AlbuquerqueDan »

Well gang, it looks like I'm about to endeavor into a massive kitchen remodel. The wife gets to choose flooring, cabinets, countertops, etc..., but I get to choose the range. (We'll be on propane).

I thought I had it all set on a 36" American Range with 3 25,000BTU burners. However, yesterday I got an email from the local retailer telling me that starting next year, they'd no longer be carrying American Range and would no longer be an authorized servicer. That got me worried because I don't want to be stuck with a broken stove with no one in my state that can fix it.

Ok, so I'm back in the market for a propane range, probably with a $5k budget. The AR stood out because of the insane power (3 25k burners is off the charts). Most other pro-style ranges have burners in the 15-18k range. Bluestar has a 22.5k, but it's too pricy.

My question is: is 15k/burner enough to justify the cost? That sounds weak to me, but I don't have anything to compare it to (I have an electric range right now).

How many BTU do you guys/gals think is enough for a home cook? (Also, I'm at 7,000 feet. I think most ranges come with an elevation calibrator, so that might not matter, but thought I'd toss it out there in case someone has some insight on high elevation cooking).

Thanks!

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Kit Craft
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Kit Craft »

I have a really crappy hob with 5k btu on every burner...In my Madrid apartment I had one that had differing sizes and one was like 13k, two 9k and one 4k or something like that. The big burner was great for boiling water and searing. Honestly though I really liked my induction range in my other apartment. Fast t heat up, holds a good temp, so freaking easy to clean and looks sleek. For my wok and paella pan I used an outdoor gas ring burner.

Anyway, I think having a big burner is nice. My crappy stove really hinders rebound heat! Better pans help but can't make up for it entirely.

AlbuquerqueDan
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by AlbuquerqueDan »

I think I'll buy a stand-alone induction burner, too, mainly for boiling water and overnight stocks.

For wok cooking, I have an interesting setup: I light charcoal in a 10" diameter piece of air conditioning conduit that I can stoke with a foot pump. I place the conduit (which is about 15" tall) in my weber grill. I place my wok on top of the conduit and let it rip! I have no idea of the output, but I can't do it without using heat resistant gloves, so I think I must be getting into the 100,000s.

But back to the question: is 15k from a burner enough?

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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Carter »

I've had a Dynasty and Wolf with 18k (at sea level) and they did the job. Were there time where a little more HP would help, sure, but day in, day out it was fine. More important to me was the ability to have a minimum flame, the Dynasty had 1 simmer burner, all 4 on the Wolf would simmer.....and by simmer, I mean really low. I rented a vacation house a few years and it had a relatively new 48" Viking range, the lowest setting on it was way higher than the Wolf....cooking things like rice, I had to put half of the pan off the burner....it was a real PIA....maybe that range was not property adjusted, but it would have been tough to live with....on the plus side, it did ignite much quicker than the Wolf.

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jbart65
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by jbart65 »

I have a Capital range. 23K burners. Chose it over Bluestar. But there is no dealer in NM.

I'd go with Bluestar and pay a bit extra. That's what I did. Check to see if they have a no self clean option. Or get a cooktop and a separate oven. I have a top end Electrolux that is fantastic, almost as good as my Capital oven.

I do find the extra BTU worth it, especially for searing and stir frying. Still might have to stir fry in batches at times, but it beats the charcoal route for ease of use.
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RonAZ
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by RonAZ »

Had a Capital for several years before we moved to Arizona. Outstanding stove and at 23K burners it's about as much heat as you can get without going to a commercial stove. I had one of the burners reconfigured to a simmer size and just had the parts mailed from Capital and installed by a regular appliance tech. The oven could fit a full size sheet pan. Make sure you get a decent hood to match the stove. When we moved to AZ we switched over to an induction range to reduce the heat inside the house.
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Lepus »

Carter wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:55 am
More important to me was the ability to have a minimum flame, the Dynasty had 1 simmer burner, all 4 on the Wolf would simmer.....and by simmer, I mean really low.
I agree fully with this sentiment. For sure the ability to go hotter is not to be underplayed, but I absolutely need a burner that can give me slow reduction on sauces or simmered stocks. I don't so much mind cheating to reach higher heat with cast iron or other heavy pans.

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Kit Craft
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Kit Craft »

That is a really good point.

Robstreperous
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Robstreperous »

Lepus wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:33 am
Carter wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:55 am
More important to me was the ability to have a minimum flame, the Dynasty had 1 simmer burner, all 4 on the Wolf would simmer.....and by simmer, I mean really low.
I agree fully with this sentiment. For sure the ability to go hotter is not to be underplayed, but I absolutely need a burner that can give me slow reduction on sauces or simmered stocks. I don't so much mind cheating to reach higher heat with cast iron or other heavy pans.
I've had my Wolf for nearly 20 years now so I haven't needed to do it recently but..... Back in my older days....

I used to take a piece of scrap brass sheet I had and cover half of my burner. (As in right over the flame) The Jenn Air that came with our house was too high on its low setting. This cut down the heat enough I was able to do my simmers nicely. I was really into bechamels back then as well as stock reductions.

Perfect solution? Nope. Enough to get you through the night without dropping a wad of cash? Yepp.

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jbart65
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by jbart65 »

The earlier versions of Capital didn't go low enough for a simmer to suit me. I readjusted the burners and sometimes stack one burner grate on top of another for an even lower burn.

The newer ranges all seem to have at least one ultra-low burner. More of a standard feature now than it was in the past.
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Jeff B
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Jeff B »

The 18k burner on my stove has always been enough for me but I don't do the pro and exotic range of cooking that most of you do.
A good simmer burner or low setting is not to be overlooked either. I use my simmer burner almost much as the 18k.
If God wanted me to be a vegetarian he wouldn't have made animals taste so good.

Nmiller21k
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Nmiller21k »

For that price you can buy a cleaned up commercial range
Just sayin

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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Bensbites »

Nmiller21k wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:46 pm
For that price you can buy a cleaned up commercial range
Just sayin
Most cities will require additional fireproofing be added when putting a commercial range in a home kitchen. Too many BTUs require additional venting, followed by makeup air in some places.

AlbuquerqueDan
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by AlbuquerqueDan »

Bensbites wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:51 pm
Nmiller21k wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:46 pm
For that price you can buy a cleaned up commercial range
Just sayin
Most cities will require additional fireproofing be added when putting a commercial range in a home kitchen. Too many BTUs require additional venting, followed by makeup air in some places.
Yeah, and I live in the forest/mountains of New Mexico -- it's a tinderbox up here after this year's mega-drought, so I wouldn't want to do anything that would add to the hazard.

I appreciate everyone's comments. I think if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right and get something with at least a few 20k burners, good low-range, and a good hood.

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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by Bob Z »

My two cents from having a Viking 36"
Have to agree with Lepus and Carter about a very low simmer setting since im using that alot more than having to use 15k btu to boil big pots of water so your new range should have one of those if not more. Just because it says "Simmer" on the knob doesn't mean it works that good so you should check that it does. My range low isnt low enough and getting the simmer area to work right is too finicky so I just do what jbart does and stack on another grate to simmer rice etc.

Most of the time frying stuff i never usually go over medium heat unless im stir frying with the wok. If the burners are large then smaller pots dont do as well as the flames lick up the sides so a range with one smaller burner is nice.
I have the grill in the middle of mine which i use for non goopy stuff and i prefer it over using a toaster and dont regret not getting the griddle center.
Oven on mine is gas and I gotta tell you, propane can be pricey so I would go with a gas top and get dual fuel oven. The broiler has to be infrared gas while the oven is electric as gas doesnt seem to have any advantage there. While the burners can be adjusted to whatever flame level you like, the oven is just like electric, it cycles full power on then off.

Servicing is important!!!!!!! Getting someone from out of town or the area to come over and fix something is a total hassle and expensive.
Bottom line: 15K btu is plenty-get the consumer reports most recent data on high end ranges.

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jbart65
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by jbart65 »

I did endless research on ranges a few years ago, including American. It made my top three. Ultimately came down to Bluestar and Capital. I wanted the most BTU I could get, open burners (easy to clean by the way) and a high-heat broiler. I also wanted a range without too much electronics.

Simpler designs last longer and don't cost as much to repair. Keep that in mind. You may be able to just buy a replacement part and have any decent repair guy do the job. My Capital is so simple anyone could fix it. Ditto for Bluestar. There are only a few pieces that can go bad or wrong.

Based on what you've said so far, I'd pay the extra and get this Blue Star, especially if you plan to live there quite awhile. But then I always go overbudget!

https://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmad ... BV2LP.html

I did manage to bargain down the list price of My Capital by at least $500, maybe $1,000 (can't recall exactly).

Other brands that I liked: DCS, Thermodor and Electrolux Icon. Among so-called pro style ranges, Viking, Dacor, Wolf and Thermador seemed to be marked up in what I consider an excessive amount relative to their performance vs. Blue Star and Capital.

A good hood will cost a minimum of $600-700 and that's cutting it close. I paid about $1000 for mine and it's got minor issues (vents bend a bit thru use).
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jbart65
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by jbart65 »

Bob Z wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:35 pm
If the burners are large then smaller pots dont do as well as the flames lick up the sides so a range with one smaller burner is nice.
This is true for most burners, Bob, but not open burners like Capital and Bluestar. The flames start from right under the very center. One of the reasons I preferred open burners. Better heat coverage.
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AlbuquerqueDan
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by AlbuquerqueDan »

jbart65 wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:53 pm

Based on what you've said so far, I'd pay the extra and get this Blue Star, especially if you plan to live there quite awhile. But then I always go overbudget!

https://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmad ... BV2LP.html
That exact stove is my current #1 (now that I know my local dealer will no longer be stocking them, which I'm scared would leave me in the cold from a service perspective). It's only like $2k overbudget! 😜

"Overbudget" seems to be the theme in my kitchen remodel...

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jbart65
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by jbart65 »

Doesn’t matter if they stop selling them, Dan. They will still know how to repair. Plus there are several other servicers near you. Check the BS site for info. They don’t sell but they will know how to fix. Just like auto repair.

There are only two or three parts in a BLUESTAR that could go wrong. The ignition connection to the burners and the connections to the broiler and oven. In my experience it’s the ignition connnections that are most likely to fail. Self clean is also a known problem in some high end ranges. I got one without. Six years old and just fine.

I gotta believe you can knock off 500 or more , esp if you buy several appliances at once.
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jbart65
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Re: How many BTU do I need?

Post by jbart65 »

By the way I went with a 30-inch range. Got an Electrolux oven too. It was cheaper and more practical. I often need two ovens when guests are over, but almost never do I need more than 4 burners. These ranges are a bit oversized compared to the brands you find at Best Buy. I can fit two 12-inch and two 10-inch pans on a 30-inch range without crowding. I brought them to the dealer just to see. (-:
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