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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

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