Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
There are two very delicious food holidays coming up that we wanted to share with you all because cheese and guac deserve to be celebrated! Guacamole Day is on September 16th and Cheeseburger Day is on September 18th. Happy cooking EGGheads! It's time to think about getting out to one of the many #EGGfests around the country - see a list here

Wok question... attention Village Idiot :)

Looking for advice from the Wok users on the forum (VI and any other who will chime in).  I got a Lodge cast iron wok for a Christmas present.  Will this be suitable for my novice woking or should I return it and buy a spider and a steel wok?

Thanks for the input.
-Jody Newell (LBGE & finally a mini BGE!)
Location:  Munford, TN  Homepage:  Shadow photo shadow.gif

Comments

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    This is from wiki.  I have one of each - I prefer the carbon steel.

    Carbon steel

    Currently, carbon steel is the most widely used material,[3] being relatively inexpensive compared to those of other materials,[4] relatively light in weight, providing quick heat conduction, and having reasonable durability. Their light weight makes them easier to lift, while the thinner carbon steel heats quickly. However, carbon steel woks tend to be more difficult to season than those made of cast-iron ('seasoning', or carbonizing the cooking surface of a wok, is required to prevent foods from sticking, as well as removing metallic tastes and odors).[2] Carbon steel woks vary widely in price, style, and quality, which is based on ply and forming technique. The lowest quality steel woks tend to be stamped by machine from a single 'ply' or piece of stamped steel.[2] More inexpensive woks have a higher tendency to deform and misshape. Cooking with lower quality woks is also more difficult and precarious since they often have a "hot spot". Higher quality, mass-produced woks are made of heavy gauge (14-gauge or thicker) steel, and are either machine-hammered or made of spun steel.[2] The best quality woks are almost always hand-made, being pounded into shape by hand ("hand hammered") from two or more sheets of carbon steel which are shaped into final form by a ring-forming or hand-forging process.[2][5]

    Cast-iron

    Two types of cast-iron woks can be found in the market. Chinese-made cast-iron woks are very thin (3 mm (0.12 in)), weighing only a little more than a carbon steel wok of similar size, while cast-iron woks typically produced in the West tend to be much thicker (9 mm (0.35 in)), and very heavy.[6] Because of the thickness of the cast-iron, Western-style cast-iron woks take much longer to bring up to cooking temperature, while making stir-frying and bao techniques difficult.[2]

    Cast-iron woks form a more stable carbonized layer of seasoning which makes it less prone to food sticking on the pan. While cast-iron woks are superior to carbon steel woks in heat retention and uniform heat distribution, they respond slowly to heat adjustments and are slow to cool once taken off the fire.[2] Because of this, food cooked in a cast-iron wok must be promptly removed from the wok as soon as it is done to prevent overcooking.[2] Chinese-style cast-iron woks, although relatively light, are fragile and are prone to shattering if dropped or mishandled.[2]


    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 7,641
    Yeh! If flat bottom try on the grate, if round get a wok ring. I use flat on the grate and round with a spider depending on what I am cooking.

    Some Ramblings:
    Had a link, but it got lost:

     WOK, REASONS TO HAVE ONE AND SOME COOKING TIPS, "WOK & WOLL" RAMBLINGS
     
     
    1 These thoughts have come from a few "Q" forums and fellow EGGheads and I thank all the contributors.
    REASONS I LIKE TO COOK IN A WOK:
    1 You get to cook at a higher heat on BGE with the wok thus keeping the flavors sealed in the various items you are wokking.
    2 You keep the heat out of the kitchen, and IMHO here in Florida that is a great thing.
    3 Many of the dishes that I cook have meat in them that have been previously cooked on BGE and the smoke flavor is from that cook.
    4 Spatchcocked chicken is great as an ingredient for chicken fried rice. Pulled pork works in pork fried rice.
    5 Think of it as a different method to cook, like many of us use Dutch Ovens as a different vessel to cook in.
    6 Wok cooking opens up a whole new world of recipes, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and the list goes on throughtout the Pacific.
    7 You can cook many side dishes faster and better flavor than a regular pan.
    WOK TIPS:
    1 Assuming that you have your wok seasoned and ready to cook, let's wok & woll!
    Mis En Place:
    1 Is to have all of your ingredients chopped up, and put in separate bowls (meat/poultry, veggies, sauce or ingredients for same). In order of how they go in the wok. The cook is so fast, you don't have time to look for something.
    2 Make sure all the food is cut according to directions before you start. Never try to prepare food while stir-frying.
    3 If not following a recipe, cut all the ingredients into bite-sized pieces. For even cooking, cut all the ingredients the same size.
    COOKING WITH A WOK:
    1 Put wok on hot BGE 450F-600F, heat and let sit 30-60 seconds. Some like to use a spider up or down position depending on what is cooking. With EGGsperience you will get comfortable doing it your way. There is not a good or bad method.
    2 Heat the wok on medium-high to high heat for at least a minute before adding oil. (You may want to skip this step if you have a nonstick pan - it can damage the coating.)
    3 You know when the wok is ready when a drop of water dances.
    4 Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish, drizzling it so that it coats both the sides and the bottom of the wok. The oil heats faster this way. I use peanut oil (for the higher burning point), but some like grape seed, canola or other vegetable oils.
    5 Don't pour your oil into a cold wok or your food will stick. Let the oil get hot, a minutes or so, test by adding a piece of meat/poultry. When it sizzles I add the rest of the meat, a cup at a time and never higher than 1/3-1/2 up the side. Too much to cook drops the heat. Swirling the oil around the wok to get the oil on the sides, at least high enough to where the food is going to be.
    6 Before adding other ingredients, season the oil by cooking a few pieces of garlic and ginger. (Note: you may want to reduce the heat at this point to keep them from burning).
    MEAT:
    1 If the recipe calls for meat and vegetables, cook the meat first and then set it aside. Add the meat back when the vegetables are almost cooked. This ensures that the meat is not overcooked, and that the meat and vegetables retain their individual flavors.
    2 Depending on how much you are cooking you may do this in batches. I add just enough food to cover the metal surface one-third but no more than halfway up the sides. IMHO this allows maximum surface contact for rapid searing of the meats. When done remove to a separate bowl.
    3 Meat is normally stir-fried on high heat to seal in the juices (individual recipes can differ). Never add more than a cup or so of meat at a time to the wok.
    4 Unless you are trying to sear meat, keep the ingredients moving with a spatula at all times. This will allow even cooking and sealing of nutrients.
    5 Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color - for example the redness in the beef is gone. At this point the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.
    6 When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before tossing so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables, begin moving them immediately.
    VEGETABLES:
    1 If possible, wash the vegetables ahead of time to ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.
    2 Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.
    3 Cut your veggies on the diagonal so there is more surface area. Depending on what is being cooked.
    4 I may do the veggies separately or a few at a time. If steaming, you just need a lid for the wok. Again the goal is to cook, but not OVERCOOK. Remove them to the bowl with the first batch.
    5 Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest vegetables being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and eggplant require more cooking time than green leafy vegetables such as bok choy.
    6 If you're uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them separately, one at a time.
    7 At this point some will add everything back into the wok and add the pre-made sauce. I prefer to make or add the sauce in the wok and then add everything else back into the wok and stir to coat. This also keeps the meal from getting over cooked.
    8 When adding sauce to vegetables and/or meat, form a "well" in the middle by pushing the ingredients up the sides of the wok. Add the sauce in the middle and stir to thicken before combining with the other ingredients.
    9 Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
    10 Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.
    SAFETY:
    1 If you do not have a surface that will take hot woks without doing damage, buy a wok ring and keep it right next to your egg. It will keep your hot wok from burning the table surface after removing the wok from the egg.
    2 Unless you are using a wok with a wooden handle, a proper set of high heat gloves is highly recommended.
    FOOTNOTES:
    COOKING SURFACES:
    BGE:
    1 For regular cooking, I like to use a 14" with wood handle and flat bottom on my large. Usually the wood handled ones have a small piece of wood on the back side, I just cut it off.The flat bottom allows it to sit directly on the grate and the wood handle gives greater control over the cooking. Others prefer either a 14"/16" and sit on a spider in the lower position. This gets the wok closer to the fire and hotter CAREFUL of flashbacks as this may happen around the edges of the wok. When wooking with a bamboo steamer basket, I use a 14" or 16" with "D" metal handles, They are placed in a spider either up or down depending on number of layers in the bamboo steamer. Many eggers with a large use the 14"/16" w/metal handles with a spider, but you need some heavy duty gloves much of the time to get to the wok. Those with mini BGEs use a 10" wok with a wood handle from the Wok Shop and it is a perfect fit.
    2 Regarding smoke the BGE produces the regular start the fire smoke and then no more than usual. The only smoke you will eggsperience is if you leave the wok alone and it burns the food, but you can do that without a wok. Unless I am steaming fish I never add wood chips. Living here in Florida I prefer to cook outside as often as possible just to keep the heat out of the kitchen and the AC bill down.
    STOVE TOP
    1 I use a flat bottom with a ring on a ceramic top stove and it does just fine for heat, on the gas stove I use a flat wok without a ring and it works great.. Also a round bottom will work on a flat stove with a wok ring. On BGE I use a flat or round bottom sometimes with a spider legs up or down depending what I am doing.
    COOKING TEMPERATURES:
    1 Finally, a few words about cooking temperatures. Some recipes give instructions on whether to cook a dish at high, medium-high, or medium heat, but others don't. In Chinese Home Cooking, Helen Chen suggests starting to cook at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down as needed on your model of stove. Another option is to have a second burner set on medium heat that you can quickly move the wok to if you feel the food is cooking too fast.
    WOK SIZES--SOME OPINIONS:
    1 The 20" should be perfect for the XLRG with metal "D" handles.
    2 I use both a 14" or 16" round bottom "D" handles with spider on my large and also as VI pointed out I use a wood handle 14" on the grate of the large and my cooktop stove with a wok ring.
    3 My preference is the wood handle as it gives me more control over the wok and I also have been cooking most of my wok meals the last few years on my Oriental Tao.
    4 http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1151884&catid=1
    5 Here are some Wok Ramblings that have been put together to help wokkers..
    6 http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=1277637&catid=1
     
     Recipe Type
    Help
     
     Recipe Source

    Source: BGE Forum, Richard Fl, 2012/10/12

     
         

  • and there is your thread killer......bookmarked

  • odie91odie91 Posts: 175
    dweebs0r said:
    Looking for advice from the Wok users on the forum (VI and any other who will chime in).  I got a Lodge cast iron wok for a Christmas present.  Will this be suitable for my novice woking or should I return it and buy a spider and a steel wok?

    Thanks for the input.
    One of the good things about the Lodge wok is, if you do have to use it indoors on the stove, you can still almost stir fry effectively since the wok stays hot when you dump the food in.  If you have a normal carbon steel wok, the food will cool it off when you dump it in, and you are basically steaming it.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,176
    odie91 said:
    dweebs0r said:
    Looking for advice from the Wok users on the forum (VI and any other who will chime in).  I got a Lodge cast iron wok for a Christmas present.  Will this be suitable for my novice woking or should I return it and buy a spider and a steel wok?

    Thanks for the input.
    One of the good things about the Lodge wok is, if you do have to use it indoors on the stove, you can still almost stir fry effectively since the wok stays hot when you dump the food in.  If you have a normal carbon steel wok, the food will cool it off when you dump it in, and you are basically steaming it.
    I have to agree - the CI holds a lot of heat - you can "charge it up" on a meager heat source, like a 15K BTU burner and quickly cook something. 


    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,947
    edited December 2012
    Dweeb,

    I've never used a CI wok, and am very happy with the CS.  Read what Nola posted and that will give you a good explanation of each.  Also, as I recall, Grace Young much prefers the carbon steel woks.

    No offense to Odie, but if your wok cools down to steaming when you dump your food in, you are putting too much food in the wok.  You should never have it more than 1/3 full.  Also, on meat, especially, you might want to cook it in batches.  Stir fry part of the beef, offload it, then add more and stir fry that, etc. 
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • dweebs0rdweebs0r Posts: 497
    Thanks for the advice fellas.  I am gonna think on it for a couple of days and decide.  Appreciate all of the links as well for more info.
    -Jody Newell (LBGE & finally a mini BGE!)
    Location:  Munford, TN  Homepage:  Shadow photo shadow.gif
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 882
    edited December 2012
    I'll add my two cents worth in here as a series of random thoughts. First off thanks to @Richard_Fl for his post.

    VI is right about Grace Young preferring a CS wok. Based on Grace Young's opinions as expressed in the two books of hers I own, I bought a 16 inch, hand hammered, CS metal D-handled wok. It is very responsive to temperature changes and takes less than a minute to warm up. Once I've got my Egg stabilized at the temperature I wish to use, I run into the house and bring the wok out to the egg. I put it on the spider, close the lid and run back in for my tray of food. It takes less than a minute to do this and when I get back the wok is already heated. I open the lid, close down the bottom draft door a bit and start cooking. I add some vegetable or peanut oil by swirling it onto the wok high up the sides, and within about 30 to 45 seconds the oil is beginning to smoke a little bit which tells me this time to start cooking. BTW you can always tell you are stir frying (and not steaming) is you should always hear a sizzle while you have food on the wok cooking. The hand hammered wok is also thin and light, weighing about half of what a similar sized old American wok we had around the house weighs.

    Frankly I was pleasantly surprised by the ease and rapidity of the seasoning process. One of the supposedly disadvantages of CI wok is they are hard to season. I simply followed the directions that came with my wok, which called for you season it in the oven followed by a stir-fry of some Chinese chives on it. BTW you can also use scallions ginger or several other aromatic items for the stir-fry. After that you simply cook on it. My second cook it resulted in some of the seasoning coming off, but I was advised by the folks here to just keep cooking on the wok and it would reseason itself. This is exactly what happened and after About 15 or 16 cooks on the wok, I noticed it was totally nonstick. Where once the food would tumble off the wok because some of It stuck a bit and some of it didn't, the food now slid off in one giant mass just like a pancake would. The stirf-ries are now incredibly easy because the food doesn't try and stick to the wok at all. Cleanup is also a breeze. Generally I just have to wipe it with a wet sponge (no soap). If there is some food that is stuck on I simply soak the wok in hot water (no soap) for 5 to 10 minutes. So where I was initially worried that a CI wok would take a long time to season, I was pleasantly surprised at how fast the process went for me. In summary: for me, I wouldn't change a thing about the wok I bought.

    I would also suggest getting a metal wok spatula, as opposed to trying to use a wooden spoon, a wooden spatula or some other form of metal spatula. The wok spatula with its curved bottom, curved front edge and turned up sides is ideal for stir-frying. The curved shape and thin material make it easy to pick up food for turning and the curved front edge makes it easy to push food around without any slipping under the blade. Be sure to get one with a long handle so you can keep your hands away from the heat. And some of this heat includes the heat coming up around around the edges of the wok itself. The one I have has a 19 inch handle which works out great.
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Three Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • dweebs0rdweebs0r Posts: 497
    I think I am going to get rid of this cast iron one.  You two guys, Village Idiot and jfm0830 are the main reasons I wanted to buy a wok in the first place.  Your wok posts are awesome.  Thanks for the advice.
    -Jody Newell (LBGE & finally a mini BGE!)
    Location:  Munford, TN  Homepage:  Shadow photo shadow.gif
  • dweebs0r said:
    I think I am going to get rid of this cast iron one.  You two guys, Village Idiot and jfm0830 are the main reasons I wanted to buy a wok in the first place.  Your wok posts are awesome.  Thanks for the advice.
    Great !  If I can be of any help, just let me know. I'm sure Jim feels the same way too.

    A whole new world is about to open up to you.  Go take pictures of your favorite Chinese restaurant, because you will never go back there.  
    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • I've been wanting a wok.  I have a LBGE and a mini.  I was thinking I could use a large wok on the mini if I left enough room between the ceramics and the wok for air flow.  Anyone done this?  My gasket is fried anyway so this wouldn't be a problem.
Sign In or Register to comment.