Post image for Hot Dog Cart Burners

Hot Dog Cart Burners

by · 25 comments

Click To Take The Hot Dog Business Quiz

hot dog cart burnersHi Steve,

I have a problem with my hot dog cart burners, it burns yellow and soots the pans and firebox badly.

I thought I knew how to adjust the air flow to improve the flame but I am not having much luck. Could you give me a few pointers please?

Also How long should it take to boil a 1/3 6″ pan w/4″ of water in it? Took me more than an hour with my sooty flame!

My cart’s propane is piped in 1/4″ soft copper is that correct? Would there be an improvement if it were to be repiped to a larger 3/8″ Copper?  I have disassembled my two gas valves to clean them (no help).

I must say I am enjoying your E-Z Built hot dog cart and your Hot Dog Biz 101 course. I haven’t been  this excited about something like this for a long time!

Chet Jones


Hey Chet,

Like anything flammable, propane needs some amount of air mixed with it in order to burn. The mixture is usually preset at the factory but some burners have a mixture adjustment to vary the amount of air that is mixed with the propane before it reaches the burner.

It definitely shouldn’t take that long to boil your water. A yellow sooty flame means your burners are running rich (not enough air in the mix).

Could be a couple of things. First, check the burner rings and make sure they aren’t dirty. Run a small wire through the holes to be sure they aren’t clogged. If they are clean, the next thing would be to light the burners with the pans removed. If they burn blue then it means you aren’t getting enough combustion air when the pans are installed and you need to add a couple more vent holes.

If they are still burning yellow with the pans out, your mixture is rich for sure. If you have a spare tank, swap it with the current one to be sure you just didn’t get a bad tank of propane (it happens). You don’t want to adjust your mixture only to find out that it’s running lean when you hook up a new, good tank of propane.

Your copper gas line may be a bit small. I recommend 3/8 but before you replace it try this. Unhook your gas line and connect the rubber hose from your regulator directly to the burners if possible. If you get a good flame it means the gas line was too small.

If all of the above fails, now is the time to play with your burner mixture adjustment (if you have one) and see if you can get a nice bright blue flame.

The last thing to try would be a new regulator. Use one from your gas grill or borrow a neighbors. You don’t want to buy a new one if it’s not the problem.

I hope this helps Chet!

Any other ideas slingers? Let’s hear them in the comments.

- Steve

Learn How To Sell Hot Dogs

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack's Last Stand

Check to be sure you have LP orfices rather than natural gas.



Good point!

Russ "Grateful Dawg' Hiltz

My grill burner was starting to poop out like you described. Took it apart, and discovered several tablespoons of powdered rust in it. I had thought the burner holes were clogged, but they weren’t. Put it back together, and it is like new. One of the 2 pan burners was having similar problem, and cleaned it out thoroughly. Burns hot and blue now.



My mother in law used to make a meatloaf that tasted like it had several teaspoons of powdered rust in it. I always wondered where she got that ingredient. Now I know…

All kidding aside, thank you Russ for that GREAT tip!

Robin/Lakeside lunch

That was an education for me! I learned more in your answer than I EVER knew about propane! Thanks, Steve.



I’m full of the kind of information that makes me the dullest person at any cocktail party, lol.

george taylor

Steve: Don’t know if you are aware of this situation or not… the city of Holland, MI, gave permission for this kid to set up in front of a sporting goods store, so Nathan went and purchased the hot dog cart… 15 minutes after setting up… code enforcement shut him down… the kid is 13 years old… here’s a link I found for the kids page, where I sent a few bucks to get his family back together. HTTPS://NATHANSHOTDOGHUT.COM …for his legal defense fund.




Thanks George!

Chappy at Hot Diggidy Dog

Sounds like it is the size of copper tubing. I was having that same problem when I would try to save gas by turning the gas valve on the tank just a little bit. I discoved that I needed more gas flow to have a good flame, and my hot water heater would not stay lit. Also, check your water heater, it needs a good flow of propane to stay lit. When I increased my gas flow, problem solved.



Cool. Thanks Paul.


If that is the actual flame in that pic I’m not seeing the pilot light lit up at all Chet. So although Steve nailed it might be worth checking hard to tell from pic but possibly a solution to your dilemma? If pilot light is out you might need to unplug that as well also.



Sorry if I confused anybody, that is NOT a picture of the burner in question.


1/4 is very small ,i agree with steve checking the tank ,the regulator will have a humm when gas flows it has an ajustment don’t touch it ,if it is amking flutter noises etc maybe bad ,all your line bends should be smooth no kinks a, a 1/3 pan should boil in no more then 3 to 5 min, if you have a problem cleaning the soot try bar keepers friend it is a cleaner in most stores it is a soft clenser and works on stainless well.
air flow is on the burner, on the flo tubs, if your cart sits check for a spider for some reson i had one bild a web on my rv hot water heater, also have seen wasp nest get in there coat hanker fixs that



Good point Pete, critters can cause all kinds of problems. Thanks for bringing that up!


I have been doing this since 2009 and that is the most I have every been told about how to check a burner. I have been lucky and only had a few issues with my regulator and replaced it with a Red regulator, that problem was that I was not getting enough gas. The only other thing that I would try that Steve did not cover would be to take the cart to your local propane dealer and show them, they normally (well we do) have a person that knows a lot about propane burners and maybe they can help, normally advise is free.

Duggs Doggs
Good!! Good!!



“take the cart to your local propane dealer and show them, they normally (well we do) have a person that knows a lot about propane burners and maybe they can help, normally advise is free.”

GREAT advice Michael, thanks!

Dugan O'Douglas

Mr. Jones,

sorry you had the problem but this is very helpful to me.

Thanks, Steve.
Thanks, Mr. Jones.



My pleasure.

John- wow factor

I bought one of those inline propane gas gauges drom walmart so that I can tell how much gas I had left. Come to find out, it was no good. (took it out of line-no more problem).



That’s good to know John!


First off, yes you need 3/8 line.
Second, look for obstructions in your air intake. It’s a favorite hang out for spiders and their web/nests. Don’t know if yer burners are iron or steel. My iron ones got wet and rusted closed a few “holes”. Used a “E” guitar string to open them up.
There should be a venturi opening that you can adjust for more or less air. If you have soot on the bottom of yer pans, things ain’t right. Check your burn at night so you can see it. May give you some clues.



Hi Steve, What a GREAT network YOU have created for yourself AND others. THANK YOU! Glad you have made YOUR OWN WAY….proves that one CAN create a way for themselves in life. My hot dog cart is around 6 years “young”. I “respect” gas burners 100%. I am very careful when I light it as I do NOT fully under stand all the dangers involved. My question is: The burner (singular) is a long straight burner across the bottom of the top openings. When I light it, the left side does not come on. This scares me as I know it is ONE BIG burner not round ones. From reading the above write ins it is most likely the burner is clogged? Also, it IS very rusty and I would like to replace it. Where can you suggest I purchase a new one? Keep up your GREAT work! Hope you are making a LOT OF $$$. hee hee YOU DESERVE IT! Thank you again and if anyone can help me with my question that would be appreciated. Sharon



Contact the manufacturer Sharon. They should be able to help. Thanks for the kind words too!

Esteban Guzman / Stevie's Red Hot Wienies

How do you disassemble the burners and valves? I’m having a problem of not enough gas pressure coming out of one of my burners and I have trouble keeping it lit in a brisk breeze. This is a huge problem because it’s the burner under the half size pan that I use to boil the dogs! Any help would be appreciated, if y’all could shoot me a msg I’d be much obliged!



The burner just lifts off. As far as the valves, I’m not sure they are able to be disassembled. You might just want to buy a new stove and replace it. The price is right. Another advantage of owning an E-Z Built, right hermano?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: