For two years now, I have been brewing outdoors with my Bayou Classic SQ14 burner and my Bayou Classic 1044 44 quart stainless steel kettle. I've been extremely happy with them; the quality has been solid, and both items were quite affordable.
I know that a lot of people look down their nose at the SQ14 burner a bit, mainly due to the fact that it does not have a wind screen built in. To me, that's a shame; the burner has a big, sturdy frame, and is low enough to the ground to make it easy to haul a full pot on and off of it.
I suppose that I've been lucky, as the wind screen has never been a huge issue for me. It seems that most of the windy days I've chosen to brew on have turned out to also be rainy, so I'll retreat to my basement and thus have most of the wind issues alleviated.
Still, I have seen issues from time to time, so recently, I decided to do something about it. The last time I was in Lowe's, I picked up an inexpensive HVAC fitting known as a starting collar (I think that it cost all of five dollars). I believe that this was the eight inch version, which I guessed from memory was about the size that I needed. The fitting is made from the typical flexible sheet metal that you see in virtually all HVAC applications, which means that it should not be flammable, but should still be easy to work with.
When this past weekend's brew day came around, I almost forgot that I had picked the thing up, but as it turned out, Saturday was a very blustery, cool day in Alabama. Before starting my boil, I grabbed the fitting and went to work.
Installation could honestly not be any easier. A hard pull will open the collar up so that you can position it around the "leg" of the burner. You do have to bend the long tabs up and out of the way, but they are extremely flexible. Installing this was simply a matter of working it between the top of the frame (which holds up your pot) and the bottom bracket (to which the burner itself is actually mounted). The height of the fitting was perfect - I had to sort of wiggle and work it into place; once there, there was no real way for it to move. All told, it took me about five minutes to get the screen installed.
I have seen similar DIY jobs drill the burner bracket and attach the fitting with a pair of sheet metal screws drive through the flexible tabs; while I might do this myself at some point, there is really no need for it - the wind screen is quite secure. I left a very small gap around the "leg" of the burner, but you could easily notch the screen with tin snips so as to fit perfectly - this is a change that I might actually bother with.
Now, as for the results? I literally could not have been more pleased. No matter how much the wind gusted, my flames stayed strong and true. I feel like I was able to achieve the same type of boil as I am accustomed to getting by using a lower setting on the burner; now, I feel silly to have not done this before, as it will surely pay for itself in saved propane very quickly.
Let me close with one word of warning! Be sure to light the burner before you place the pot on top. If you don't, the unlit propane gas will pool underneath the pot, creating a very nice flash when you ignite it. It is entirely possible that I lost a little hair from my hand in this process; instead, you should be smart and avoid the potential for injury.
Credit for this solution goes to user Nagorg at homebrewtalk. Original thread here.
Tags for this post: wind, screen, propane, burner, bayou classic, sq14, diy