Gas Side Burner Assistance: General Design.

by grillrepair on September 27, 2013

Side Burner Gas Barbecue Design.

In order to repair, replace and better use an appliance we benefit from knowing the product and understanding how they work.

gas side burner range attached to barbecue grill

Using a Weber side burner range as typical for all side burners.


This is a basic side burner attached to a Weber barbecue Genesis model.  Although attached to a barbecue the side burner has its own control valve and that control is attached to the flange that is a part of the side burner.  The red button in this image next to the control knob is a piezo module so the side burner is completely self-contained — even the gas line below has a pneumatic attachment to the grill structure.







begin to examine design by lifting-off grill grid.

Remove the grill grate to get the the shield, cover, burner and orifice and see what makes this range burner work.


The grate on top of the side burner range is what allows pots and pans to rest above the flames level and in most side burner designs the grid is only attached with gravity.  Sometimes there is a clip to pull off but usually the grid will lift right off the side burner.  There are many types and shapes of grid for a variety of side burners.  The Weber grid bends vertical so some of the stainless wires slide through the holes in the lower shield.  This way the higher section is supported and the grate — though round — cannot be turned or moved by mistake.






Gas side burner heat shield and flame spreader.

Gas side burner heat shield and flame spreader showing below the grid.


With the grate removed we see the porcelain coated disc.  The porcelain disc is a heat shield that pushes the flames outward slightly from where they come-through the burner.  The Weber design is ingenious but many side burner designs have a round burner-hear with a ring of holes for flames to come through and the disc spreads the effect of the heat.

The disc is porcelain coated but is also often brass.



Range top type of burner directs the gas flame to a circle.

Range top type of burner directs the gas flame to a circle.


Once the heat shield disc is removed by lifting (it has 2 posts that drop in the cast aluminum burner to hold steady) we see the Weber burner.  Many side burners have a round burner with a ring of holes that are just like the port holes in the barbecue burners.  This design allows the gas to push up through this cast aluminum where the black porcelain coated metal shield spreads it.  The gas ignites here so the flames spread across the aluminum to protrude beyond the heat shield.  This way the metal disc also heats and radiates some heat.






Side burner gas flow orifice flame diffuser

Side burner gas flow orifice flame diffuser showing from the bottom where the gas flows.


Note the electrode at the top of this image.  When the red-button piezo module is pressed this is where the spark ignites the gas as it is passing from below the aluminum to above the burner area.  The aluminum is designed with many grooves so the gas ignites and flames individualize as they spread outward like the face of a clock.

Many side burner designs place an orifice — a restrictive hole that limits how much gas can pass-through at any time — at the control valve in the front of the accessory.  With the orifice at the control valve the lower pressure gas fills the venturi tube leading to the burner slow to reach the burner-head ports.  This design allows the low-pressure os the gas tank to pass through the control valve and venturi tube and the orifice is mounted at the base of the gas line leading into the spreader itself which takes the job of a burner.  This is an interesting design because there is not a specific burner but a route the gas will take that ends with a ring of flames around a heat shield disc.  Just like a range top but a more interesting design.

Gas range burner for side burner

Gas range burner for side burner


In addition to the type of gas range side burner design above this is also a side burner type of burner design.  This design is a round cavity with a ring of burner ports for gas to emit and ignite to form a ring of burners.  This type of side burner can be used with or without an additional heat shield on top of the main burner.  Below the burner cavity is the venturi tube that extends forward to fit onto the tip of the control valve where the orifice is located.

The orifice is a impediment to the gas flow with a small hole that defines how much gas can pass into the venturi tube.


Gas Range burner for alfresco versa burner

Gas Range burner for Alfresco versa burner has a high BTU center burner and an outer ring burner like a fire pit. Each burner is controlled separately.

This is for the Alfresco Versa-Burner which is a large side burner with 2 burners and 2 control valves so the burners can be controlled independently.  The center burner is like the Weber above with a brass disc spreading the flames at the center.  There is also a ring burner around the main burner ring of flames.


Control Valves with different attachments to burners

Control Valves with different attachments to burners show how an orifice can be in the valve or in the gas line.


Although the valves in the LX2 are not controlling side burner ranges these 2 valves demonstrate the 2 primary difference in how side burners are  controlled by their valves.

The left burner in this image is inserted into the front opening of a venturi tube.  Side burners controlled this way usually have the same control valve as the main burners since the orifice is attached at the tip of the valve and controlls how much gas can be fed into the burner venturi tube.  The main burners will have a different inner hole in their orifice and the side burner will have its own gas BTU setting.

The right-side control valve in this image shows a gas line attached to the threading at the tip of the control valve.  In many side burners the valve is threaded to a gas line instead of threading to the orifice.  The gas line then installs to attach to the burner under the heat shield disc where the orifice is mounted.  If we scroll up to look at the Weber side burner we can see the brass orifice once the black disc and the cast aluminum burner has been removed.  The brass orifice is at the center of that image above.    The gas line runs from the valve to the burner where the gas has to mix with air, be directed to the burner flame spreader and ignite.

One way is not necessarily better than another.  Liquid propane is liquid in the propane cylinder and vaporizes into a gas and must mix with air to ignite and to burn so even the venturi tube from the side burner has to have air shutters.  The extended gas line like the Weber above has to have the same ability  to mix air.

The side burner can burn less BTUs than a typical barbecue grill burner because the heat is not a convectional heat the way a barbecue burner heat-up the air trapped inside the hood of the barbecue.,  A side burner is designed to be a direct-heat appliance so the pot, pan or griddle being heated on a side burner sits right on top of the flames.  A side burner that is only burning 10,ooo BTU;s per hour can boil water in a few minutes whereas a 50,000 BTU barbecue would take an hour or more to boil a pot of water — and even then only if the pot could be put into the closed hood of the appliance.

This is the use and the structure of ther barbecue grill outdoor side burner range.  Want to know more?  Have questions?  Contact Majestic Grill Parts Anytime at:

954.247.4552 (954-2-GRILL-2).



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