A chafing dish burner contains fuel. The fuel is used to heat food and is typically placed under a chafing dish. The fuel comes in cans and is available with burn times from two to six hours. The fuel is either liquid or in gel form.
Gel or Liquid Fuel
The fuel is simple to use. Once the lid has been removed, it is only a matter of lighting it. The fuel is placed in a dampener. The dampener is used to control the heat. Rotating the lid on the dampener allows more or less heat to reach the water-filled tray. The difference between liquid fuel and gel fuel is consistency. As you might expect, gel fuel is thicker and is made from ethanol or methanol. Gel fuel burns within the can. Gel fuel, unlike liquid fuel, cannot be capped for use in the future.
An induction warmer uses the power of electromagnetism. Cookware must have iron content for these systems to work. The surface of the warmer does not get hot. The cookware does. Heat is generated the moment the unit is energized. When the warmer is turned off, the heating stops. As the heat can be adjusted, induction warmers are ideal for an indoor catered event. They are less useful for outdoor events as they need a power source.
Unlike warmers that use gel, liquid fuel or electricity, many caterers are using a burner that can be refilled with fuel from a pressurized, refillable, can. Like conventional warmers, the heat output can be adjusted. The burn time is over seven hours. The burner canister fits in the same space as gel and wick pots. The canister stays cool to the touch, is wind resistant and shuts off automatically if it is accidentally knocked over.
The refillable burner is fast gaining in popularity. There is a 75 percent reduction in carbon emissions. The heat goes where it is needed, and it can be turned on and off at will.