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woking temperatures

So i tried to wok for the second time tonight.. Did some stir fry flank steak and vegetables, a recipe from one of Grace Young's cookbooks. It came out delicious and my head is spinning from all the possibilities I'm going to be able to explore by woking.

That said, I got the egg up to about 550-600 and pre-heated the pan. The stir fry was fairly smoky... so much so that it tripped my indoor fire alarms. Is it possible that I got the egg/pan too hot? I used peanut oil - red that its smoke point is 450. Should I be woking at a lower temp?

Thanks all!


  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 2,124
    Sounds like the wok was too hot. You want to heat it and get a light smoke when you add oil. Heavy smoke is a sign the oil is heated beyond the smoke point & is breaking down. If it is really too hot the oil will burst into flames.
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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 29,478
    Wok hei uses a wok at high temps.  You add a little bit of oil, it'll start smoking almost immediately, then you throw in a small amount of whatever you're cooking and flash cook it.  You get a hint of smokey flavor because your oil is basically burning, but too much oil and it's overpowering. So just a little oil, and the food will act as a "coolant" for that small amount of oil. You're riding a razor's edge, but the results can be phenomenal.
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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 24,244
    you need to work faster and get the food in there before the oil starts to burn. one thing ive found helps is to get the egg up to 600, open dome, shut the lower vent, put wok in until hot, add oil, then start cooking with lower vent shut. after you get faster with a few cooks you can leave it open but i dont do it enough to get much faster so closed lower vent helps me
  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,283
    edited June 2013

    Assuming that you have your wok seasoned and ready to cook, let’s wok & woll!

    1.Mis En Place:
    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.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.
    You know when the wok is ready when a drop of water dances.

    3.Now you are ready to add a tablespoon or so of oil. I use peanut oil (for the higher burning point), but some like grape seed or canola.
    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. 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.

    4.Depending on how much you are cooking you may do this in batches. I add just enough food to cover the metal surface halfway up the sides. IMHO this allows maximum surface contact for rapid searing. When done remove to a separate bowl.

    5.Next do the vegetables, Cut your veggies on the diagonal so there is more surface area. Depending on what is being cooked.
    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.

    6.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.

    7.At this point some will add everything back into the wok and add the pre-made sauce. I prefer to make 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. 

  • Thanks for the tips everyone. Even with all that smoke, last night's stir fry was awesome. It can only go up from here.

    Gotta say - Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge by Grace Young is a wonderful cookbook. I was quickly able to round up all the different staples for my pantry. Now I can pretty much make 90% of what's in that cookbook by just getting the vegetables and meat from the supermarket
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