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Mapp Gas vs. Propane (Which One is Better?)

Mapp Gas vs. Propane (Which One is Better?)

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Whether in the kitchen, at a BBQ, or even camping, cooking food is an art. Yet, not many are aware that the type of gas used in preparing food can make a huge difference. So, what’s the secret behind the flames that make your food sizzle?

Today’s article addresses two contenders: MAPP gas vs. propane. Keep reading to know more about what they are, their benefits, and which one you should go for.

What Is MAPP Gas?

Gas Torch With Blue Flame

Methyl Acetylene-Propadiene Propane (MAPP) gas is a mixture of methyl-acetylene and propadiene. It’s a fuel gas that’s famous for its high flame temperature. Thus, it’s widely used in welding, soldering, and other industrial purposes.

This gas usually comes in liquid and gaseous forms. Both of them are colorless, but have an acetylene-like smell. However you decide to use it, it’s worth noting that MAPP gas is toxic if inhaled at high concentrations. So, be careful with any potential leaks.

That said, aside from its industrial uses, MAPP gas can be used for cooking. If you’re interested in culinary arts, you’ll notice the top chefs using it for searing or finishing off steak and other foods.

What Is Propane?

Propane (AKA liquefied petroleum gas or LPG) is a hydrocarbon gas. Derived from natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it’s usually compressed into liquid to be used for heating, cooking, etc.

Generally, propane is colorless, non-toxic, and odorless. Yet, manufacturers add an identifying odor to it to be easily detectable if leaked.

The Benefits of MAPP Gas

Lots of people use MAPP gas in a blowtorch to sear or cook meat. However, it can also be used in a grill or barbecue.

The question is: does MAPP provide any benefits to the grilling enthusiast? Or is it just popular among chefs for being convenient?

Here are some of the benefits of using MAPP gas in your grilling:

1. Higher Burning Temperatures

Chef Cooking Salmon Sushi With Gas Torch

Perhaps the most important benefit of using MAPP gas for cooking is that it burns at higher temperatures than propane.

Surprisingly, MAPP gas can reach a temperature of 5300 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, propane has a lower burning temperature of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

The truth is that both gasses impart some pretty extreme temperatures. Yet, because MAPP gas burns hotter, it can cook the food much more quickly.

This is especially preferable for those who are in a hurry. In addition, it can also be highly convenient if you want to sear steaks and other meats in a certain way.

As mentioned previously, some of the top chefs in the world regularly use MAPP gas torches to finish off some foods in a particular way. For instance, it works perfectly in caramelizing sugar to make delicious crème brûlée.

In this context, if it’s good enough for some of the world’s top chefs, it’s probably good enough for the rest of us.

2. Better Food Flavor

Another great feature of using MAPP gas is that it doesn’t impart any extra flavor to the food, as stated by many people.

This is probably because of the hot temperature that burns all elements properly, leaving no residue or smell as a by-product.

On the contrary, one of the issues with propane torches specifically is that they can sometimes impart a gassy smell to food. Clearly, this is an undesirable occurrence that no one wants to experience.

Therefore, when it comes to maintaining flavor, MAPP gas might be the better option.

3. Portability

MAPP gas is usually available in portable canisters. This makes it highly convenient, especially for outdoor cooking, camping, etc.

Moreover, the compact nature of MAPP gas containers facilitates transportation and storage.

That said, propane is also a portable energy source stored in cylinders. So, it’s probably just as convenient as MAPP gas.

The Benefits of Propane Gas

Propane Tank Under Grill

Many people still use charcoal grills. However, propane gas grills actually outsell them quite considerably.

For some, charcoal remains a firm favorite for many people, possibly due to the flavors imparted during cooking. Yet, propane gas offers some distinct benefits, including:

1. Fast Startup

What many people enjoy is the speed of igniting propane gas and how convenient it is to start propane-powered grills. They heat up rapidly and hold that temperature far better compared to charcoal.

Of course, MAPP gas also provides this ease and convenience. On top of that, it burns even hotter than propane.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Propane gas is a firm favorite because it’s quite cheap to buy. Compared to MAPP gas, that’s much more expensive, propane is the most cost-effective option.

Moreover, MAPP production has ceased in North America. As such, the only option is to buy substitutes that may contain impurities.

3. Better Control

Close-Up Of Grilled T-Bone Steak

The higher heat of MAPP gas appears to be attractive. Furthermore, it may suit many chefs or cooking methods. Yet, this isn’t always an advantage.

While propane may not burn as hot, it makes the cooking process much easier to control than when using MAPP gas.

For example, it would be easy to overdo a steak or a piece of thick tuna when using MAPP gas. This is mainly because the maximum temperature can be tough to handle.

Which One Should You Use for Grilling?

So, should you be using MAPP gas or propane for your grilling needs? The truth is that it’s not an easy decision to make. Although both types of gas work in many commercially available grills, a lot of it depends on what you want from your cooking.

Cooking Hamburgers On Grill

Propane is widely available and certainly easier to get than MAPP gas. It also tends to be cheaper since it’s more accessible. In this context, if price is a big concern and you grill using a gas cooker frequently, propane gas might be just what you need.

That said, while MAPP gas may be more expensive, it can cook food more quickly since it burns hotter. So, for those who want to make the most of their cooking experience, MAPP gas is the ideal choice.

As for users who care about the flavor of food more than anything, MAPP gas is what they need. It tends not to impart any undesirable taste to the food, whereas some people find that food cooked with propane gas can have a funky flavor.

Safety Concerns for Using Gas Fuel

Using gas fuel, whether MAPP, propane, or other types, comes with certain safety concerns. To prevent accidents and ensure a safe environment, you need to consider the following.

1. Fire Safety

Because it burns much hotter than propane, MAPP gas is definitely dangerous to handle for inexperienced users. Such a hot flame can easily melt aluminum and other metals that may come in the way.

As for propane, many people find it a safer alternative, as it doesn’t burn too hot. On top of that, there’s less chance of propane melting any other metals or becoming a general safety hazard.

Overall, when dealing with fire, it’s essential to be careful around flammable materials, such as cloth, paper, etc. moreover, it’s a must to have a fire extinguisher nearby.

2. Ventilation

When using gas fuels, adequate ventilation is crucial. Incomplete combustion can produce an odorless gas called carbon monoxide that can be lethal.

That’s why you need to ensure that your work area is well-ventilated to prevent the buildp-up of harmful gasses.

3. Proper Storage

Store gas cylinders or containers in a cool, well-ventilated area to prevent the accumulation of gasses. Additionally, you need to keep them away from direct sunlight, heat sources, or open flames.

Final Thoughts

The choice between MAPP gas vs. propane is largely based on experience and personal preferences. In general, both types of gas have their benefits and applications.

People use both types of gas in their cooking and grilling. Primarily, many prefer the higher heat of MAPP gas. Nonetheless, propane does offer more control and is definitely safer due to a lower maximum temperature.

As such, due to safety, cost, and widespread availability, it may be best, in the end, to stick with propane.


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