Wok suggestions?

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gladius
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by gladius »

Nice those come pre-seasoned too.
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jbart65
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by jbart65 »

I overthink lots of kitchen things, but not woks. Did that a long time ago when I first started cooking stir fries.

The forged pans look great, but weight is critical to me. My 14-inch wok weighs 3.2 pounds. That's about as heavy as it can be for me to wok one-handed, flip food and empty stuff out when the pan is nearly full. Any heavier than that and it becomes a two-hand job.

I found 16-inch woks too big for the same reason. And on a residential stove, you simply cannot use a 16-inch wok to its fullest potential for lack of restaurant-level heat. In China some wok-heating devices reach 100,000 BTU.

I've been stir-frying for more than 30 years. All I need is one good wok to do everything I need. After trying a number of woks made of different materials, what I have found to be ideal is a lighter wok made of spun carbon steel of good quality.

My current wok, purchased two years ago from the Wok Shop, is the best I have used. There might be better ones, but they won't be as cheap and probably won't be as light.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by FisherMAn1298 »

mauichef wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:42 pm Just checked out the ones in the links. Sorry...not impressed with the style or price.
For me a non stick wok is a complete oxymoron!

This is a wok. Eastman Outdoors Carbon Steel 22" Wok.
It cost $35 from my Gaspro store.

As for seasoning, it is so unnecessary in my experience.
Especially oven seasoning. Waste of time. Ditto Flaxseed.

Use it.
A lot. Then use it more and more......
Done!

Image

Image
In the few months since I first came to the site, then to this forum I've had to learn all about carbon and stainless and other steel types. All about stones, natural and synthetic, grit, coarse, medium, fine, etc. strops. How to sharpen, how to strop and I love it all but after all that work I refuse to do ANY research on the best wok. I will read all of this thread, there are some great people here but for my money I bow to Mauichef. Please tell me is this the best wok for a guy to get the most out of his cooking and I'll buy it. $35. sounds reasonable to me. You are the gold standard of cooking here as far as I'm concerned so lead the way Ray and thank you in advance!
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Altadan
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by Altadan »

Hahahaha

I remember feeling the same way when the carbon-skillet bandwagon started...
then a few months later I took a peek, and now I'm a super happy owner of a 12.5" CS skillet.
Later a cleaver bandwagon stated and I thought "pppffft, not even going there..."
now I swing mine with a big grin every day :D
I'll tell ya about my wok when it makes it over :lol: :lol:
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by 7x57mm@gmail.com »

jbart65 wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:42 am After trying a number of woks made of different materials, what I have found to be ideal is a lighter wok made of spun carbon steel of good quality.
Right there with you 👍
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by mauichef »

I just saw that this thread has gone to 5 pages.
I think Jeffry is spot on with the over thinking thing.
FisherMan.....I,m blushing ☺️ But there are many very accomplished chefs here and their opinions are probably more relevant than mine.
Seriously though. I know we all spend big on kitchen stuff especially knives but this high priced carbon pan thing gets little mileage here.
My spun wok has been doing it for me for over 20 years and I have never even thought of getting another one. It’s a wok. It takes a major beating and heating. Never sticks. Cleans out with boiling water and a wok brush. Dirt cheap. Love the large size as I can really throw the food around or move it out if the way. Round bottom with a ring never an issue on my 16000 btu burners. Dimples.......why?

Each to their own in all things.....woks included!

But don’t over think it or collect them. Futile and wasteful of time and money imo!
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by ronnie_suburban »

As for my wok "collection," let's just say that it's completely unintentional. :lol: A combination of inexperienced purchases, well intentioned gifts, and a need for increasing capacity. For me, the parameters have not been static.

No question IMO, that thin is better with a wok, otherwise, response time is slow. As long as the heat distribution is adequate. The problem I've been having is that my "best" wok, an extremely well seasoned 16" carbon steel number, has a round bottom that isn't particularly stable on my cooktop grates. Plenty of BTU but the ring I own is not good, in that it raises the wok too high above the burner to cook efficiently. While researching (not overthinking, lol) solutions for this issue, I came across a few viable alternatives. But while I'm mulling them over, I once again tried the wok directly on the grate and decided that it was stable enough. It's not like I'm going to leave it unattended, so I decided that a it being a little precarious but sitting right above the burner was a good trade-off . . .

Image
Round-Bottom Carbon Steel Wok & Viking Gas Cooktop Grate

It did sit stable on the grate and the bottom of the wok was maybe 1/2 inch above the burner. Yes, I suppose it could have been knocked over but I think that would probably take some doing. So, for now, I'm happy with my configuration. This wok hasn't seen a ton of use but it's as smooth as glass and over 20 years old. Oh, and it cost about $15 in a shop in Chinatown (Chicago), though I'm guessing it would cost more these days.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by 7x57mm@gmail.com »

R_S: a potential solution would be a wok grate (wok ring but a stove top grate) that fits your range/cooktop.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by Jeff B »

7x57mm@gmail.com wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:46 am R_S: a potential solution would be a wok grate (wok ring but a stove top grate) that fits your range/cooktop.
Ball peen hammer, lots of heat and beat a flat spot on the bottom. Ronnie the forger! :D
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by Chappychap »

7x57mm@gmail.com wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:46 am R_S: a potential solution would be a wok grate (wok ring but a stove top grate) that fits your range/cooktop.
Or... this on top of your stove. 15,000 BTU concentrated in the middle. Go big or go home :lol:

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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by LaVieestBelle »

Chappychap wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:26 pm
7x57mm@gmail.com wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:46 am R_S: a potential solution would be a wok grate (wok ring but a stove top grate) that fits your range/cooktop.
Or... this on top of your stove. 15,000 BTU concentrated in the middle. Go big or go home :lol:

Do not judge me, but I own this exact burner!

I use it at the dinner table for gentler shabu shabu and nabe cooking. Never cranked it up to its full capacity......

Hmmmm........
Last edited by LaVieestBelle on Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by ronnie_suburban »

LaVieestBelle wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:34 pm
Chappychap wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:26 pm
7x57mm@gmail.com wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:46 am R_S: a potential solution would be a wok grate (wok ring but a stove top grate) that fits your range/cooktop.
Or... this on top of your stove. 15,000 BTU concentrated in the middle. Go big or go home :lol:

Do not judge me, but I own this exact burner!

I use it at the dinner table for gentler shabu shabu and nabe cooking. Never cranked it up to its full capacity......

Hmmmm........
Damn! The fact that it's a multi-tasker makes it all the more appealing! :)
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by Chappychap »

ronnie_suburban wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:58 pm
LaVieestBelle wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:34 pm
Chappychap wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:26 pm

Or... this on top of your stove. 15,000 BTU concentrated in the middle. Go big or go home :lol:

Do not judge me, but I own this exact burner!

I use it at the dinner table for gentler shabu shabu and nabe cooking. Never cranked it up to its full capacity......

Hmmmm........
Damn! The fact that it's a multi-tasker makes it all the more appealing! :)
Knowing how you would react to this miraculous device, I almost feel guilty about putting it in front of you.

Almost.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by XexoX »

ChappyChap, what is it? The way you've linked to it is blocked for me as it has ad tracking.
You can blame Mr. Suburban for my being here. :lol:
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by Chappychap »

It's an Iwatani, a portable gas stove that's 15k BTU, runs off canisters. It's what lots of caterers and YouTube cooking personalities use (e.g. Pailin from Hot Thai Kitchen), because it's a fairly high BTU, portable, concentrates the heat well, and sub $100. I want one of their handheld torches too, but that's another story.

The only reason I haven't bought one already is because I think it might well tip Mrs. Chappy over the edge. We're moving soon and I've agreed to avoid buying yet more bulky kitchen stuff. I'm preserving any available goodwill for replacing my woks, which is a more immediate need. :lol: I'll try a flame concentrator or wok ring close to the burner first.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by Chappychap »

LaVieestBelle wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:17 am wokcensubstitute.jpg

So....anyone up for a Cen-inspired wok? I have been going down the wok research rabbit hole thanks to this thread!

Just found a piece in New York Magazine from a few months ago, where The Strategist interviewed chefs about woks. A lot of the recommendations are similar to ones we've seen on this thread, but here is something different. Grace Young mentioned this wok and said it was inspired by the Cen wok and is made by Erik Newquist at Newquist Forge... Sadly it was being sold on Etsy but it looks like it is not available right now. He does have a facebook page. Not inexpensive but thought I would share the picture and the article.

A link to the wok article. I am now on such a wok search.... https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-woks.html
Thanks again for this tip. I pressed the button on Newquist and delivery should be in 3-4 weeks. I know I shouldn’t expect a mind blowing performance improvement, but I do think there is something to be said for choosing things that make you want to cook more, because you enjoy using them so much. It’s the same thing that drew me into Japanese knives. Great to be supporting a small business in the Pacific Northwest too.

Given the delivery will take a while, I stripped and re-seasoned my old Joyce Chens. Hit a hitch when I used a wire drill bit someone had recommended elsewhere, and it put horrible deep scratches in. Fortunately this knife sharpening malarky was helpful - it gave me the idea I could sand them out. I took the coarse grit sandpaper first, and then decided to do the smooth in case it helped with the nonstick’ing. After that I seasoned using a different method, this time abandoning the flax. I just heated the clean wok until it started to turn blue, then for the seasoning itself I used pork fat, scallions and ginger. It mostly passed the egg test at the end, and the seasoning didn’t come straight off like last time. Given the labor of love that went into restoring it, and seemingly decent performance after, I couldn’t come to just bin it, even though at this time I think the right thing is getting a piece I enjoy cooking with more. I’m going to give one of these Joyce Chens to a friend (who woudn’t want to receive a pre-seasoned carbon skillet wok?!) and I’ll keep the other for boiling/steaming/etc. Otherwise I’d be Chappy ‘4 woks’ Chap, one behind Ronnie ‘5 woks’ Suburban. :lol:
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by ronnie_suburban »

Chappychap wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:44 pm I want one of their handheld torches too, but that's another story.
One of these, I have . . . and I find it very useful (not so much in the kitchen but around the abode). If it make matters any easier, they are quite compact. :mrgreen:
Chappychap wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:06 pm Given the labor of love that went into restoring it, and seemingly decent performance after, I couldn’t come to just bin it, even though at this time I think the right thing is getting a piece I enjoy cooking with more. I’m going to give one of these Joyce Chens to a friend (who woudn’t want to receive a pre-seasoned carbon skillet wok?!) and I’ll keep the other for boiling/steaming/etc. Otherwise I’d be Chappy ‘4 woks’ Chap, one behind Ronnie ‘5 woks’ Suburban. :lol:
LOL! First of all, very cool that you made the effort to bring it back. Much like sharpening, it sounds like a meditative and productive project. And you had the little plot twist in there, which probably added some excitement, too.

I love the idea of giving a couple of my woks away . . . though I can't in good conscience give the one with a nonstick coating to anyone. It's a real shame but talk about a design flaw. I received it as a gift but I can only guess, based on the maker and the overall build, that is was a relatively pricey unit. Makes you wonder what percentage of culinary tools are given as gifts by givers who are less experienced cooks than the receivers.
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by XexoX »

Just saw this this easy, at least it looks easy, gas range hack from Kenji for wok cooking. He says it doesn't work on all gas ranges, so YMMV.
You can blame Mr. Suburban for my being here. :lol:
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Re: Wok suggestions?

Post by gladius »

XexoX wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:06 am Just saw this this easy, at least it looks easy, gas range hack from Kenji for wok cooking. He says it doesn't work on all gas ranges, so YMMV.
—-
Good to know. My range works!
I’ll have to stir fry next chance I get.
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