Most Sterno stoves are 1.5-2 inches above the heat source.
I would think it depends on what you're cooking and how hot the heat source will get.
I've never used straight alcohol as a source as it burns too fast; but I'd drill .25 inch holes, two on each of opposite sides at different heights and use metal rods to hold the frying pan...sorta like a step-up configuration. It will provide the latitude to adjust cooking conditions accordingly.
Heat from a heat tab, sterno can, or other source is not a direct contact heat source like a range burner. The heat will dissipate quickly in relation to the height of the cooking utensil from the heat source. The closer you can keep the utensil the higher the heat and the better the cooking.
If you build your shield higher than the fry pan the more heat you will retain. Use the Coleman camp stove as an example. The wind shields surrounds the cooking utensil.
If ya don't know where I've been and ya don't know where I'm going, your opinions of me don't count.
Last edited by oldjarhead; 02-18-2012 at 01:09 PM.