+1 on the flat plate on the firebox. This is a great way to keep a source of hot water handy. I use this setup along with 3 buckets for smaller events.
I also have a 3 section sink with a 50gal drum wrapped in waterheater blankets for insulation, with a propane tank and burner hooked to it. With the burner on simmer I can maintain the drum at the proper temp for 10+ hours. I have the faucett of the sink connected to the drum.
The sink setup is alot nicer for larger events when I will have alot of dishes to wash. I have a friend that has the same type of setup but is using an actual propane waterheater at the storage tank.
The health dept is mainly looking to ensure you have a way of sanitizing all of your cookware and utensils, ALWAYS check with them on a quarterly basis to ensure the code has not changed.
Below is a cut and paste from the FDA, this is basically the same for every state's helth dept.
For hand washing, rinsing, and sanitizing of utensils and equipment, a sink with at least three separate basins should be used. If you do not have three sinks (one each for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing), dish tubs can be used. Each basin should be large enough to accommodate large pots and pans and have its own faucet to supply hot and cold water. Dish or utensil baskets should permit complete immersion of the tableware, kitchenware, utensils, and other equipment in the hot water.
Always clean the sink thoroughly prior to each use. Equipment and utensils should be prescraped and/or prerinsed and, when necessary, presoaked to remove large food particles, soil, and stains. Equipment and utensils should be thoroughly washed in the first compartment with a hot detergent solution and the water/detergent solution should be frequently changed. Equipment and utensils should be rinsed free of detergent and abrasives with clean water in the second basin. The food contact surfaces of all equipment and utensils are sanitized in the third basin.
There are several methods of sanitizing. These include:
- Immersion for at least 30 seconds in clean, hot water, at least 170°F.
- Immersion for at least one minute in a solution containing at least 50 parts per million, but not more than 200 parts per million, of available chlorine as a hypochlorite, at a temperature of at least 75°F.
- Immersion for at least one minute in a solution containing at least 12.5 parts per million, but not more than 25 parts per million, of available iodine with a pH not higher than 5.0 at a temperature of at least 75°F.
- Immersion for at least one minute in a solution containing 200 parts per million of a quaternary ammonium compound and at a temperature of at least 75°F.
- If other sanitizing chemicals are used, it should provide the equivalent bactericidal effect of a solution containing at least 50 parts per million of available chlorine, at a temperature of at least 75°F.
When hot water is used for sanitizing, the heating device located in, on, or under the sanitizing compartment of the sink, should be maintained to assure the water is kept at a temperature of at least 170°F. In addition, a numeric thermometer accurate to within three degrees must be in the sink or located conveniently for frequent checks of water temperature.
Temperature logs for recording temperatures taken during the day should be located near the sink. When chemicals are used for sanitization, they should not have concentrations higher than the maximum permitted for that chemical, and a test kit or other device that accurately measures the parts per million concentration of the solution should be used. The test strips should be used each time the water is changed, and the strips may be taped to a log sheet near the sink. It is important to routinely check these concentrations because chemical concentrations can be harmful if they are too high and ineffective if too low.