Food trucks aren’t all that different than a regular restaurant when you compare what types of stoves they use, but we’ll list all the different stoves and their pros and cons. Still the best, cooking with propane hasn’t changed for a long while, and we’re still using good, old and reliable technology to make the best food we can.

The big 3 are electric, gas and solid fuel (wood) stoves. Personally, we’d always go with gas, but these other two contenders aren’t far behind. We’ll also list the difference between the regular coil electric stove, the induction stove and the ceramic-halogen electric stove.

Using a regular electric stove

A regular electric stove has a coil that transfers heat by touch. They’re more often found in homes than any serious restaurants or food trucks. They’re often found in European homes.

Due to the high amount of electricity they use, these are a very unorthodox choice for a food truck.

Advantages:

  • No open flame, this might lower your insurance rates.
  • Very efficient and easy to install.
  • Easy to clean.
  • When it reaches the temperature, it keeps it level.

Disadvantages:

  • It guzzles down a lot of electricity.
  • No precise temperature adjustment.
  • Heats up a lot slower than gas.
  • Cools off slower than gas.

Using an electric induction stove

The new craze in the home appliance world hasn’t really caught on with the food truck world, and we’ll explain why. There’s even some brick and mortar restaurants that have switched over to induction countertops, and they’ve reported no big changes in food quality or cutting down on the cooking bills.

The induction stove spends roughly the same amount of $ in electricity as a gas stove does in gas. The real savings for those restaurants came from the lower insurance costs and having a more comfortable work area. While they seem to be going in the right direction for restaurants, gas trucks aren’t too keen on switching out gas for induction.

Advantages:

  • No open flame, this might lower your insurance rates.
  • Very efficient and easy to install.
  • Extremely easy to clean, they practically never get filthy.
  • When it reaches the temperature, it keeps it level.
  • Can raise the temperature very fast.
  • Doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much as any other stove.

Disadvantages:

  • It guzzles down a lot of electricity, but is more efficient than a regular electric stove.
  • No precise temperature adjustment (though some models can do it).
  • After you remove the dish from the stove, the electrons in the pot are still full of energy, and they’ll keep cooking the dish, most likely burning your food. Treat the dish as if it’ll still be cooking at full force for at least a minute. Your cooks will require a bit of retraining.
  • You have to use cookware that’s compatible with the induction stove.

Using an electric halogen cooktop stove

This stove works by heating up a halogen lightbulb below a ceramic surface. They’re not really meant for the daily bustle and jostle of a food truck, but for a preppy house with fancy countertops. We still think they deserve a place on this list, and maybe there’s a food truck out there that uses these. While I wouldn’t use them, I can appreciate the art.

Advantages:

  • They’re beautiful. And high-tech, most have touch controls.
  • They’re exceptionally easy to clean, being one big flat surface.
  • Automatic stop timers.
  • Good temperature control.

Disadvantages:

  • Extremely easy to break, scratch or damage. And while we’re at it, extremely costly to repair.
  • Not as precise as a gas stove.
  • Uses a lot of electricity.

Using a gas stove

Gas stoves are the premium choice for most chefs around the world. It’s basically seen in every restaurant you’ll ever got to, regardless if it’s a brick and mortar one or a food truck. This is our favorite type of stove, for one more very important reason: it doesn’t depend on electricity and has perfect heat control (which is important for tricky meals like lobsters).

Let’s list the advantages and the disadvantages of a gas stove in a gastrotruck.

Advantages:

  • Gas stoves work when there’s no electricity.
  • You can control the heat very precisely.
  • Temperature changes are immediate.
  • You can use any cookware.
  • Gas is cheaper than electricity.

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively expensive compared to most other methods.
  • Hazardous fumes that require serious ventilation.
  • They raise the ambient heat a lot.

Using a wood-burning or charcoal stove

Wood burning or charcoal stoves are usually only seen in some pubs and barbeques. They don’t really have a place in most restaurants, due to their huge weight, heat and energy consumption. They’re hard to fire up, hard to maintain, and you can’t really control how much heat they produce. And you can’t exactly turn them off with a switch. They require a lot of space and are very hard to clean.

Advantages:

  • It’s BBQ, and nothing beats the taste.
  • Customers can have a great time watching you work.
  • It stays hot for a long, long time.
  • A wholly natural way to cook food.

Disadvantages:

  • The smoke. Oh God the smoke is constant. Requires serious ventilation.
  • Very hard to clean. Can lower the hygiene of the entire truck.
  • They’re basically a dedicated heater due to being extremely inefficient. The charcoal stove will heat up everything around it.
  • They’re very slow to cool off, and you wouldn’t want to drive with a fire hazard in the back.