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Old 03-08-2007, 01:19 PM   #1
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Cast Iron Wok

Some of my favorite cooking is wok cooking. I love thai food. I really like my joyce chen carbon steel flat bottom wok. It gets very hot very quickly. The only thing i don't like about it is when you put a good quantity of food in it the temperature drops to much and you end up with steam/boiled food. I have this thing lit under a gas 16,000 BTU burner. Of course your never going to get the heat level they have at a real thai resteruant. Maybe if you use that trick that AB did on goodeats where he used a turker fryer.

Anyways i decided to give cast iron a try. There are two type of cast iron woks (im only referring to flat bottom). You have the thick/heavy massive woks that are mostly manufactored by lodge i think. Then you have the thinner (while still heavy) made usually in asia. I know one of the things people complain about with cast iron woks is they don't cool off quickly enough. I think maybe if you keep stiring what you have and turn off the heat till it cools down some you should be fine. When i ordered my recent KA food processor from amazon i decided to order one of these cast iron woks (it looks like the thinner style that i talked about above). Here is the unit i ordered:
Amazon.com: Mr. Bar-B-Q Cast Iron Wok: Home & Garden

Hopefully with the thinner style you will get some of the heat retention properties of cast iron and it won't stay hot too long after you turn off the burner.

Anyone had a chance to compare cooking with this style of wok & carbon steel? What did you think?

Ncage

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Old 03-08-2007, 01:23 PM   #2
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Besides the speed of cooking concern is the weight of cast iron...I tend to get in there with a wok, and wouldn't cast iron give me the right arm of a tennis player? (and leave me too tired to use my chopsticks?)
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Old 03-08-2007, 01:41 PM   #3
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I'd stick with carbon steel and cook the food in small batches.

I prep all my ingredients and cook them one at a time, meat first, then each veggie separately. Then I combine them at the end and add the sauce.
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
I'd stick with carbon steel and cook the food in small batches.

I prep all my ingredients and cook them one at a time, meat first, then each veggie separately. Then I combine them at the end and add the sauce.
My vote this gets!!
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
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Maybe this is one of those things i will have to use and write up a review for. It would be nice for anyone trying to decide whether to use a cast iron or carbon steel wok. Like lulu stated cast iron might not be good for anyone that is concerned with the weight factor (i am not). This beast weighs 11 pounds. I thought what they hey for $16 shipped. Im sure if i still prefer the carbon steel wok i can always find something do do with it.

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Old 03-08-2007, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncage1974
Im sure if i still prefer the carbon steel wok i can always find something do do with it.

Ncage
Add a chin strap and it might make a nice hat for working in the garden.

The major problem with a cast iron wok is that the entire wok will be the same temperature. When cooking in a wok, you need the ability to move certain items that are cooking too fast, or have finished cooking, into the higher areas of the wok that are less hot, so that everything finishes cooking at the same time. This is also why a teflon coated wok is less than desireable. If you move the faster cooking food up the sides, it slides right back down into the bottom!

If your temperature is dropping too much when you add food to it, you are using too much food for the size of your wok. Cook in smaller batches, or buy a bigger carbon steel wok.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:58 PM   #7
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Thumbs up loved it....

I got the cast iron wok tonight and i was going to wait to the weekend to try it out. I didn't have much as the way of stir fry veggies so i had to come up with something out of my head. I came up with something i called Thai Stir Fried Silver Noodle. I seasoned the wok in the oven as directed by the instructions. This thing is not as heavy as i thought it would be. Yes its 11 pounds but its not that bad in my opinion. This thing got rocket hot. Ok and like someone noted above your not going to have as big of a temperature difference but between the sides of the pan and the bottom of the plan. There is still a big difference though. I threw my onions, garlic, and thai peppers in first and after that i moved the onion mixture to the side and i did not have any problem with it overbrowning. Yes there is a bigger difference in a carbon steel wok but i didn't have any problems. When i threw the chicken and everything in i had no problem with the wok cooling down like i usually do. It stayed hot. The chicken got browned perfectly and when i threw the rice noodles in i lowered the heat to medium and it just was a perfect dish. So i will tell you...I LOVE THIS WOK!!!!!! Since the patina isn't fully developed yet the wok was amazining pretty non stick...i can't imagine what will happen when it develops a full patina. Oh and lastly i loved the shape of the wok. Nice and wide. It was perfect for me. Other than getting the top of my stove dirty everything worked out perfectly ;). Here is some pictures:


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Old 03-12-2007, 07:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncage1974
Im sure if i still prefer the carbon steel wok i can always find something do do with it.

Ncage
I'm sure it could be one he11 of a weapon!
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:54 PM   #9
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You might think about using a turkey fryer propane grill as your heat source--outside, of course.
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candocook
You might think about using a turkey fryer propane grill as your heat source--outside, of course.
Do you think it would work since this is a flat bottom wok? I thought the turkey fryer method was only for round bottom woks.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caine
Add a chin strap and it might make a nice hat for working in the garden.

The major problem with a cast iron wok is that the entire wok will be the same temperature. When cooking in a wok, you need the ability to move certain items that are cooking too fast, or have finished cooking, into the higher areas of the wok that are less hot, so that everything finishes cooking at the same time. This is also why a teflon coated wok is less than desireable. If you move the faster cooking food up the sides, it slides right back down into the bottom!

If your temperature is dropping too much when you add food to it, you are using too much food for the size of your wok. Cook in smaller batches, or buy a bigger carbon steel wok.
Well dang i actually liked it so it looks like im going to order another one for my hat . Actually that was a good one :).
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:50 PM   #12
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I am not "venting" here but ever since this topic came up..I remembered..I have one those little devils!! At the present it is playing hide-N-see with me. I will find it and give it a try and report my finding here.
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
I am not "venting" here but ever since this topic came up..I remembered..I have one those little devils!! At the present it is playing hide-N-see with me. I will find it and give it a try and report my finding here.
That would be cool. Let us know Bob what you think. My opinion now that i have worked with a cast iron wok is that i think its better for the home range. If i had one of those SUPER HOT resteraunt burners than i would probably switch back to carbon steel but even with the higher powered gas burners (mine is 16,000BTU) which is at near the top of BTU for home gas ranges (i think i seen one once that was 18,000 but its not going to make THAT much of a difference). I will still use my carbon steel for some dishes and when i know im not going to put a lot of vegetables or other things that would produce a lot of water when you cook them. This thing would probably work great if you put it on top of the coals directly with a charcoal grill. If your going to use a turkey fryer for woking then a round bottom carbon steel unit is probably the best.

Ncage
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:48 PM   #14
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Still looking Ncage....I do use a fish cooker at times with a round bottom steel wok..Now where is that thing?
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:58 PM   #15
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I found by inverting the wok ring, I get the center of my wok nearer the gas, and get a much hotter pan.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:00 AM   #16
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I gotta say, you have definitely peaked my interest with your Cast Iron Wok. I upgraded my Rice cooker this year and planned on putting my older rice cooker in the Camper. I guess the natural companion to a Rice Cooker when camping is a Cast Iron Wok.. Nice price too..

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Old 03-14-2007, 06:30 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Robo410
I found by inverting the wok ring, I get the center of my wok nearer the gas, and get a much hotter pan.
I do this too Robo...sometimes I don't use the ring..just let it sit on the bruner grate. I usually have one hand on the handle and one on the Chan anyway It sits a little sideways but still works. It does get very hot!
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:08 PM   #18
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Mr. NCage1975

Well I found the little devil...right before my eyes. If it had been a....well you know.

I used it tonight for stir fry. It took a we bit longer to get hot than the carbon steel one does. It does retain heat longer however:which I believe is typical for Cast Iron. I cooked in small batches, Chicken, then three more batches of different veggies. It performed well even after adding all 'goodies" back in at the end. The only draw back to mine is..it is only 12" dia and somewhat shallow as compared to my carbon steel one at 14" and much deeper. Day in and day out...I still prefer the carbon one if for no other reason than size...more room to work. This Cast one was a "freebie" at one of the banks I do business with for opening a new acccount. I stepped into the Mgrs. office and suggested that I receive one as a bonus for Not Closing an account or two..Since she knows Uncle Bob, she smiled and handed me one Anyway it is an import..not a Lodge etc..
So I hope this helps you somewhat.

Enjoy..

Uncle Bob/
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob
Mr. NCage1975

Well I found the little devil...right before my eyes. If it had been a....well you know.

I used it tonight for stir fry. It took a we bit longer to get hot than the carbon steel one does. It does retain heat longer however:which I believe is typical for Cast Iron. I cooked in small batches, Chicken, then three more batches of different veggies. It performed well even after adding all 'goodies" back in at the end. The only draw back to mine is..it is only 12" dia and somewhat shallow as compared to my carbon steel one at 14" and much deeper. Day in and day out...I still prefer the carbon one if for no other reason than size...more room to work. This Cast one was a "freebie" at one of the banks I do business with for opening a new acccount. I stepped into the Mgrs. office and suggested that I receive one as a bonus for Not Closing an account or two..Since she knows Uncle Bob, she smiled and handed me one Anyway it is an import..not a Lodge etc..
So I hope this helps you somewhat.

Enjoy..

Uncle Bob/
Sorry for taking so long to reply. I just installed Vista x64 on my computer so i had to have a few days to set uverything up. I wish you could try to the wok i have. Its very large. I think you might just like it. Like yours mine is an import which i actually prefer. Lodge is great cast iron cookware but lodge would be way to thick for woking. You would probably have trouble cooling everything down after your done cooking. I think the import cast iron that is thinner is the perfect compromise and mine was only $16 shipped. What a steal since this thing probably cost almost that much to ship ;). I already used it 3 more times and for me there is no going back.

Ncage
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