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Need help designing an outdoor, propane fueled roux cooker for gumbo Answered

Our Kiwanis club has a roux party every year where a dozen or so people cook roux in cast iron pots over gas burners. Hours of stirring of various liquids, veggies and spices (added at intervals through out the cooking cycle). Cooked until it becomes a solid about the consistency of moist turkey dressing, to be dipped out into a pan and then start a new batch. What we need is something like a small cement mixer with burners. Something that will heat liquid, mix, and dump or we can scoop out when it's solidified. The stirring needs to be constant hence the cement mixer premise. If it doesn't mix well and parts of it burn then the entire batch is ruined. Electricity is available, propane bottles for fuel. Tried thinking through something with two metal cylinders, one inside the other with the gas jets between the two but the rotation part is the issue. Any help will be appreciated, and of course since we are a small nonprofit the cost needs to be as low as possible.    Thank you !      Tray10 


What's "roux" in this context ? Flour and butter, cooked together ? The basis of a white sauce ?

When cooked to the deep brown stage, it is the basis and thickener for a good Louisiana gumbo or shrimp etoufee over rice.

"What we need is something like a small cement mixer with burners."

I think you've answered your own question.

You could buy or make simple burners to heat the outside of a brand new cement mixer.

You'll need to de-grease the inside of the mixer, then rinse well with hot water (and maybe strip the paint off the outside of the drum), but I think it should work well.

I like the cement mixer, but I have three thoughts on it.. You'll need to have fairly tight tolerances between the blades and the sides to scrape off the roux. It may also be a challenge to keep the inside of the drum a consistent temp as it turns. (Hot spots bad). Finally with a roux, you need to spot check it often to see the color: I think it might be hard to see inside a cement mixer.

What about a wide pot with some sort of slow rotating scraper on the bottom. I'm thinking a mounted homemade ice cream mixer with a different (non plastic) scraper? Maybe using heatproof silicon scrapers?

I'd take the mechanical "concept" of a concrete mixer, but execute it by replacing the drum with a stainless or thick aluminium stock pot.

I'd not have fixed blades attached to the drum, but a frame holding a blade IN the drum.

Is that old Micah from the "Rifleman"?.Great series. Anyway I do remember the old ice cream mixers, that would make the heating issue easier if i could find something strong enough to stir with and a motor big enough.
Getting it out would be tougher..hmm.. thank you for the ideas

It was a great series and I don't think that was where I drew it from. Originally, it was me just trying to find an AOL chat handle that didn't have a 0001 at the end. :)

Yeah, reading below I didn't realize how big of pot you were talking.. I wonder if a used cement mixer motor might be a solution. It's already geared down and set to handle a lot of torque....

Thank you, yes the hot spots/cold spots and containing the heat are all issues we are dealing with. Plus the mix is sticky towards the end, and heavy which isn't a problem with a cement mixer ha. If we just heat the bottom, I'm afraid it won't be enough to cook it, would like heat all around or at least half, thank you for your suggestions. Tray

At first I was thinking, dang, how many people do you need to feed with a cement mixer batch of roux? Btw, there are no moving blades in a cement mixer, they are spiral fins welded to the wall so all the contents agitate or tumble like in your clothes dryer. You could make something like this on a bigger scale http://www.thekitchn.com/stirr-the-automatic-sauce-stir-90696 or get the kids with stainless steel boat oars to stir and stir.  Maybe you can hook it up to a bicycle or treadmill contraption so people will exercise to cook.  Good luck.

I'll check out the stir thing, it's a crawfish festival ususally 800 to 1000 people so yes we make a lot of roux. When it gets towards the end of the process it's very hard to stir, very thick and heavy, wooden spoon breaking heavy, Thank you for your ideas and your time.