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Quick Question for Wok Eggsperts

jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 816
edited February 2013 in EggHead Forum
I am making a new stir-fried dish tonight and I have a question about adjusting temperature on the Egg. 

The recipe has you start cooking the chicken on high and then switch the temperature to medium and add some items that will burn at high heat. Meanwhile the chicken continues to cook in the wok for 10-15 minutes at medium heat. I am a little worried that a high charcoal fire won't make as quick a temperature change as a gas burner. So I am thinking I may pull the chicken for a few minutes to let the wok cool down to medium and I'll add the chicken back in. To those of you who are Eggsperts on working: How fast will the Egg respond to a temperature change from high to medium (550-400 or so)? If there is a bit of a delay, how long a time should I wait for the Egg to adjust?

TIA
Jim
BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

Middlesex County, MA
Two Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count

Comments

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 8,914
    edited February 2013
    The wok is heated primarily through direct heat from burning lump.  I'd wager you could tame that thar fire pretty quick by shutting off the bottom vent for a minute - lid open. You don't really care about smoke quality with a wok.  You can pull the wok off during this time and let it cool down a bit.  If you close the lid, your dome thermo will be reading temp with a high bias because there's still a bunch of radiant heat from the hot ceramic.  You don't care about that heat, just the fire.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone
    New Orleans

  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 7,474
    I usually cook the meat/poultry first at high heat.  Remove to a side plate, do the veggies then the sauce and add the meat/poultry back in.

    Long answer for a quick question.  Enjoy your wok:

     WOKS, 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 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 the edges of the wok itself. The one I have has a 19 inch handle which works out great. 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


  • RLeeperRLeeper Posts: 466
    You could just get another Egg and you can maintain two temps simultaneously!
    Extra Large, Large, and Mini. Tucker, GA
  • Solson005Solson005 Posts: 1,839
    @RLeeper he does have two eggs although that might be overkill.

    I agree with Nola just getting the flame down should help quite a bit.

    I just got a Tao Charcoal Burner and that works pretty good for using a wok. That's what @Richard_Fl mentioned he uses now too.
    Large & Small BGE, CGW Two-Tier Swing Rack for BOTH EGGS, Spider for the Wok, eggCARTen & and Cedar Pergola my Eggs call home in Edmond, OK. 
  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,132
    If you're using a spider, and a wok with loop handles, set the spider "center-down" for the first part of the cook, then flip it "center-up" for the remainder.
    If it were me, though (and probably 1.3 billion chinese) I'd just adjust the recipe to cook the "burnable" stuff for less time.  I can't recall a "two-temp" chinese recipe... 
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 816
    Thanks to everyone for answering. I tried to get back on last night to say thanks, but the board denied my access. I had been trying to post that question for 24 hours before the board finally let me on at the last minute late yesterday afternoon.

    @nolaegghead thanks. This was my thinking too. I did this but I didn't do it long enough as my temps were still a bit too hot when I added the dried Sichuan peppercorns. I didn't sweat it too much cause the peppercorns get removed before serving, but some of their papery exterior surface flaked off into the sauce, It was more visual and didn't seem to affect the taste of the dish. I will make this again and give the fire a bit more time to cool down. Plus I couldn't locate my  IR thermo where I could have shot the surface of the wok/oil to check it. Of course I found it when I'd finished up last night.

    @Richard Fl some great info there! I turned it into a PDF I can keep on my laptop & iPad.

    @RLeeper I did consider brining the second Egg into play, but it did seem a bit like overkill. I wanted to see what was involved trying to use the one Egg.

    @Botch I thought turning the temps down was odd and "non-authentic" at first, but I have 4 cookbooks now by 3 different authors and they all have recipes where you are called for to adjust the heat up or down. I've had not trouble going up, but as we all know most of the time if your Egg isn't clogged, it takes longer to lower the temp than it does to raise it.

    Once again thanks for jumping in with all your suggestions.

    Jim
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Two Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 8,914
    I was just thinking, Jim, that you could wipe down the bottom of the wok with a wet rag, or mist it with a water bottle sprayer to drop the temp.  Maybe even drop a pizza stone on the spider for a quick temp drop.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone
    New Orleans

  • Just a thought, but the majority of "western" adapted traditional wok recipes will often advise to use high heat for protein (meat) then reduce, add other ingredients, veggie and sauce. Usually these are recipes adapted for the "western" cook, probably using a skillet. Chicken cut in stir fry pieces will be overcooked at medium heat for 10-15 minutes (even without the high heat sear). If the chicken is larger pieces it might make sense. 

    Like Richard, I do veggies and meat separately except for the finish blend and warm-up. The reason I use a propane burner is the ability to control the heat in seconds, not minutes. 

    Delta B.C., Canuckistan - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 816
    @nolaegghead My wok has a very thin shell and reacts quickly to changes in temperature. The problem was the charcoal mass which was heated to 550 not cooling down real quickly.

    @fishlessman Been there done that. But in this recipe the dried Sichuan chilies, which have a paper like skin are what burns. They are intended to be dried fried along with the chicken oils and other liquids to help flavor the sauce. I can't speed them up because everything needs to be together so the chilis flavor the sauce.

    @Skiddymarker Fuchsia Dunlop, the chef behind this cookbook, was the first Westerner admitted into a prestigious Chines culinary school so she is the real deal. I've made some of her other recipes and they are amazing. Now wether she adapted this recipe to Western needs, I do not know. The chicken was cut into 1" pieces and was intended to be dry fried using a small amout of oil until they were crisp and browned.
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Two Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • I just ordered her book...every grain of rice. Looking forward to it.
  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,327
    @jfm0830 in regards to the forum not allowing you to login the other day here's the reason:
    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


    And you were not alone in that status:
    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


    The moderator said we were "accidentally banned in the spam folder". Still a mystery how we ended up there but maybe that "post after approval" issue is related. Or matbe whoever hit Hap messed with us as well (but not as severely).

    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs
    Bay Area, CA
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 816
    edited February 2013
    @R2Egg2Q Thanks for the explanation. What was that Graucho Marx line about not wanting to join any club that would have me as a member? I couldn't even quit the board, because I couldn't get on!

    SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM....
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Two Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • Great wokking info here - thanks. I just got a SS wok from CGS. What is the best way to go about seasoning it?
  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,327
    This method has worked well for seasoning my woks:
    However I put them in my gasser so I don't stink up the house while seasoning. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
    One of the few uses I have left for my gasser. :-?
    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs
    Bay Area, CA
  • Solson005Solson005 Posts: 1,839
    I used my gasser to season the wok for my small as well. Much better than using the oven in the house, IMHO... 

    As always nicely done @R2Egg2Q
    Large & Small BGE, CGW Two-Tier Swing Rack for BOTH EGGS, Spider for the Wok, eggCARTen & and Cedar Pergola my Eggs call home in Edmond, OK. 
  • Thanks all - this method was perfect. Wok looks great... Now to cook with it
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