sshow bob

Wok recommendations?

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Can anyone tell me what I ought to look for in a wok?  I'd like to have one but there seem to be a lot of conflicting information. 

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My experience is cast iron is best, holds heat and nice even heat up/cool down. Bought one for BBQ and it was so good I use it in house as well. 

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Best, 100,000 btu outside burner then a crappy steel wok. If that isn’t in the plan, something that can hold the heat - steel or aluminum. Or, go figure, a black stone propane flat top. 

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We have a a fairly serious range but 30,000 btu will have to do most of the time. Too cold to cook on the turkey frier most of the winter. 

Handle preferences?  Truly round with a ring?

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Cast iron with 2 "D" handles (Not wood).

 The thinner the better.

If you're really into Wok hey, get a hand hammered cast iron wok, but that's pretty high dollar. You should be able to buy a decent cast iron wok for ~$20-30.

 Do not get a flat bottom wok. Do not get a spun, or pressed steel wok.

 Seasoning the wok will take an afternoon, and to develop a good wok hey, will take several cookings. I suggest using it to cook rice for the first several times.... Oh, and cook bacon in it the first time, then throw the bacon out, but rub the grease into it instead of scouring it out.

 Sanding the inside with 220 grit sand paper before you season it is also a good idea. The idea is to close the pores in the iron with the flavors of the cooking. Do not use olive oil, it scorches too fast.

 After you use your wok, leave it on the stove, and fill it with water, and let it heat up to steaming, then dump the water, and wipe the wok clean with a sponge, or a soft scrubby. No need for detergent.

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Get "The breath of a wok"

It has great recipes, as well as a ton of info, and fun stories.

https://www.amazon.com/Breath-Wok-Grace-Young/dp/0743238273

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I bought a wok right after college.  Used it at least monthly for 35yrs.  Never put a scouring pad to it, simply cleaned with soap and water and then would heat it again and wipe veg oil into it.  The damn thing was priceless to me and was lost in my last move 7yrs ago.  It was beautifully seasoned and just looked cool from all the use.  I'm about to cry thinking about it.  

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Plow disc converted to wok. Not really in house friendly but a blast to cook with out doors.

https://www.southwestdisk.com/

I only have a couple old photos of one in service. 

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This guy used to cook at Roys in HI, he loved using it.

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8 minutes ago, chester said:

liking your kitchen box

Thanks, I built it years ago, its been on a few trips. I need to look for photos.  Not many since it predates any digital media I have.

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I like a steel wok that can get hot fast over a high gas flame but isn't too thin to be flimsy. Cast iron doesn't conduct as well and is slower to respond, but the material is a personal preference. No flat bottoms, use a ring if your stove isn't designed to cradle a wok over the burner. A flat bottom defeats the whole purpose of the wok. And for Dog's sake, no teflon. I also like a long handle that's welded, not riveted, to the wok so nothing protrudes on the inside and gets in the way of stirring/scraping. If you're cooking over the kind of heat a wok really benefits from, a short handle makes no sense even if it makes the wok easier to store. Make sure you also get a sturdy wok spatula to go with it. 

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15 hours ago, Borax Johnson said:

Best, 100,000 btu outside burner then a crappy steel wok. If that isn’t in the plan, something that can hold the heat - steel or aluminum. Or, go figure, a black stone propane flat top. 

yes, heat source is more important. Look at any Chinese kitchen. It's got to be light enough to toss stuff around, and able to transfer heat quickly. I've not tried aluminum, but we have a 20 year old steel one that works great. We have a pretty high BTU burner, but concentrate it even more with a ring stand for the wok. You want areas of the wok super hot, and areas that are cooler.

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I used a spun steel one for decades. Didn't even know cast iron was possible to get it thin and light enough to move it around. 

Left it behind when we moved aboard a catamaran. Couldn't stand the weight.

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@chester  Uncle Rodger is hilarious.

I am willing to bet he has no idea how to use a wok or make fried rice in the real world. 

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17 hours ago, sshow bob said:

Can anyone tell me what I ought to look for in a wok?  I'd like to have one but there seem to be a lot of conflicting information. 

Go to a local Chinese dry goods store (if you can find one), and buy a hand-hammered one.  I've had the same wok my brother bought me in 1984.  Hand-hammered from PROC, thick-gauged mild steel.  Once it's seasoned, it's good to go, forever, approximately.

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16 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

Do not use olive oil, it scorches too fast.

 

Peanut oil is ideal for seasoning the work.  Use only peanut oil for the first 5 years or so of cooking, and you should be good to go.

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1 hour ago, Windward said:

@chester  Uncle Rodger is hilarious.

I am willing to bet he has no idea how to use a wok or make fried rice in the real world. 

HIIIYAAAHHHH, uncle roger born knowing how to make fried rice!

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