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Meat Fondue Pots and Burners

April 20, 2010

Meat fondue pots require the ability to heat hot oil or broth.  The heat source usually involves an alcohol burner or an electric pot to achieve the high temperatures needed.  For handling oils and broths, the pot should be made of a metal, ideally stainless steel.  Small sterno cans can be used as another alterntive to the alcohol burner, but keep in mind that the size and heat of the flame cannot be adjusted once it is lit.

Metal Fondue Pots with Alcohol Burner

This type of pot is most popular for cooking meat fondue.  The pot can be placed on a stovetop to heat the oil then transferred to the flame when it is ready to be served.   (Be sure to use hot pad to be safe!)

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When shopping for a fondue pot for meat, look for 5 things:

1) Stainless steel pots are great and practical for fondue cooking and cleaning up after.

2) Strong handles on the side of the pot for easy handling.

3) Stable base that is not easily knocked over.

4) Adjustable alcohol burner with snuffer.

5) Metal forks with 2 prongs, long stem, and wooden handles are best.  Avoid using forks with metal handles since they will get too hot to handle when using them with hot oil.  Each fork should have a different color on the handle to help your guests identify who’s fork belongs to whom.

Alcohol Burners

Meat fondues need a very hot heat source. For meat fondue you want to heat your oil to a temperature of 350 degrees.  For broth you want to simmer around 200 degrees.  Ideally you will use an alcohol burner or electric fondue pot.  The Swiss prefer a traditional alcohol burner used under a thick-bottom cast iron or stainless steel pot.  For safety reasons the electric fondue pot has become very popular in America and seems to work just fine. 

Most burners are fueled with denatured alcohol or fondue fuel gel.  Alcohol burners are the hottest tabletop heat source and ideal for heating oils that require high temperatures for cooking meats.  The height and heat of the flame is determined by how much air you let into it’s chamber.

  • Alcohol burners are meant to be used with fondue fuel (Sold at specialty food stores.) or denatured alcohol ONLY!  (You can find it at any hardware store.) If using denatured alcohol, your burner will come with an insert that looks like a strainer.  It goes inside the burner and keeps your flame under control while burning.  If you are using the fondue fuel gel, you will not need the insert since the gel itself helps to control the rate at which it will burn.
  • Fill your alcohol burner with 3 ounces of fuel.  Using more is not recommended and may cause excessive flames.  You can plan on 3 ounces of fuel burning approximately 60-90 minutes, depending on how high you set your flame.  You can use 2 ounces of fuel if you plan on less time.
  • Be careful to wipe off the edges of the burner if any alcohol spilled on them before you set it on its stand.
  • Use a match to light the fuel at the center of the burner.  Do not use a lighter since this can be very dangerous.  Also, never tip the burner to ignite!  You might cause fuel to leak and catch your table on fire!
  • Once the fuel is lit, use the adjustable handle to control the size of the flame.  Open more holes to make the flames higher.  Close the holes to lower the flames.
  • If your burner is running out of fuel, DO NOT attempt to add more fuel while the burner is lit.  Use the burner cover to extinguish the flame completely and allow the burner to cool for a few minutes before re-fueling.

TIP: No more than 4 people should sit at one pot.  If too many forks are in the oil or broth at one time, the temperature can quickly drop and the meat may not cook properly.

SAFETY:  Be sure to protect your table from the heat of the flame by putting your pot on a stable surface with a heat pad, wooden cutting board, or ceramic tile under it.

Electric Fondue Pots

If cooking with an open flame intimates you, I recommend you try the electric fondue pot.  It is safe, adjustable, and a great way to avoid any “complications” that can arise from using an alcohol burner.

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