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Old 01-25-2015, 07:38 PM   #1
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Seasoned Carbon Steel wok emitting black flakes

Greetings,

I've bought a Carbon Steel Wok and seasoned it about 2 years ago. I have been using it around once a week on average since then. It now has a lovely black patina, but also a little bit of buildup inside (so it is not a smooth patina). I notice that when I use it, I often get black flakes in the food, clearly coming from the wok. I have tried to do some research on what this is, but have not found anything I could call useful. Stir frying is considered quite healthy, and these flakes look awfully carcinogenic. I use rice bran oil, I heat the wok, put the oil in once it's hot, wait for the oil to start to slide around and JUST begin to smoke, and put the ingredients in. However, when I shuffle/stir it around, the flakes come off and though the food always comes out delicious, it makes me worried. Please advise!

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Old 01-25-2015, 08:25 PM   #2
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Your wok needs a facial.

For a good explination:
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Old 01-25-2015, 08:48 PM   #3
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In the playlist at the end of the video is this companion piece. I think it shows a better angle what she is doing.

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Old 01-25-2015, 09:17 PM   #4
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It does give a good view of what she is doing.

What I normally do is heat the wok, turn off the heat then scrub with salt and wash. After washing put it back on the burner until it is dry then coat with oil and turn off the heat.

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Old 01-26-2015, 06:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by azza View Post
Greetings,

I've bought a Carbon Steel Wok and seasoned it about 2 years ago. I have been using it around once a week on average since then. It now has a lovely black patina, but also a little bit of buildup inside (so it is not a smooth patina). I notice that when I use it, I often get black flakes in the food, clearly coming from the wok. I have tried to do some research on what this is, but have not found anything I could call useful. Stir frying is considered quite healthy, and these flakes look awfully carcinogenic. I use rice bran oil, I heat the wok, put the oil in once it's hot, wait for the oil to start to slide around and JUST begin to smoke, and put the ingredients in. However, when I shuffle/stir it around, the flakes come off and though the food always comes out delicious, it makes me worried. Please advise!
I expect someone will have hysterics when they read this but every now and again - probably every 2-3 years or when it starts to need it - I attack my carbon steel wok with a Brillo pad (steel wool impregnated with soap. I don't what their name is over there) and a lot of elbow grease, rinse well in hot water and dry in a warm place. When it's dry I season it again in the usual way (I use rape seed oil but only because it can stand high temps and I have it in my cupboard anyway. Olive oil is too expensive and can't take very high temps).

I also wash my wok (Shock! Horror!), by hand not in the d/w, after use especially when I've used it for something finished with a sticky sauce.

I have friends who tell me I'll go to hell for doing all this but it works for me.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerplantop View Post
Your wok needs a facial.

For a good explination:
Saw this after I'd said my two penn'orth. I love the idea of giving my wok a facial

Sadly the sound was very poor when I watched it but the pictures made it very clear
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mad Cook View Post
I expect someone will have hysterics when they read this but every now and again - probably every 2-3 years or when it starts to need it - I attack my carbon steel wok with a Brillo pad (steel wool impregnated with soap. I don't what their name is over there) and a lot of elbow grease, rinse well in hot water and dry in a warm place. When it's dry I season it again in the usual way (I use rape seed oil but only because it can stand high temps and I have it in my cupboard anyway. Olive oil is too expensive and can't take very high temps).

I also wash my wok (Shock! Horror!), by hand not in the d/w, after use especially when I've used it for something finished with a sticky sauce.

I have friends who tell me I'll go to hell for doing all this but it works for me.
I do this myself with my wok and cast iron skillet.
I never really understood how you could clean a greasy iron skillet or wok without the use of hot soapy water. A scrubbing pad is also employed. We use scotch brite pads as needed.
My wife has been washing her cast iron skillet for years. Its pure black and is smooth on the inside bottom. It more than 100 years old and has been passed down.
Soap and water has never hurt it. She dries it real good and applies some vegetable oil and puts it away.
Good to go and clean!
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:45 PM   #8
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Thank you very much, everyone!! I will do this, but i am wondering, meanwhile, how bad injesting this has been.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:01 PM   #9
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Since nothing can be done about that now, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:24 PM   #10
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Seasoned Carbon Steel wok emitting black flakes

If we don't see you in a few days, we'll send out a search party! You'll be fine. Nothing worse than what you'd get from eating a grilled burger.
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:45 PM   #11
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Plastic net

That plastic net that onions come in works well on cast iron and carbon steel. It is hard enough to remove build-up without damaging the finish/patina.
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Old 10-09-2015, 04:41 PM   #12
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Use BonAmi and a bit of elbow grease. Every 5 years I do this on my cast iron pans to remove part of the "cooking patina".
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:19 PM   #13
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I've had a wok for about five months now. It has been fun, and I've made some tasty meals, but seasoning it hasn't worked out quite the way I've been told (and I've read a lot of advice by now). In particular, getting that "lovely no stick patina" has been elusive, although it's gotten to the point where I can get the most stubborn stuck food off just by soaking it in water for a few minutes. Still, bits of seasoning were flaking off even with washing in plain water.

So I followed the video on the previous page for "giving a wok a facial" with salt and oil. That seems to have smoothed out the parts where crud was developing. However, in a few spots, it flaked off to the point where bare metal was visible, surrounded by the blackened area. The question is, is it okay just to continue mini seasonings with more oil, or would people advise scouring the whole bottom to remove the current seasoning and starting everything again at the same level? I've already done that twice (the most recent time was about two months ago), reseasoning it one of those times in the oven, but I always get back to the same point, it seems.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:37 PM   #14
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Why remove perfectly good seasoning if you don't have to? once you've created a smooth surface around the effected area, just re-season that area.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:42 PM   #15
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Why remove perfectly good seasoning if you don't have to? once you've created a smooth surface around the effected area, just re-season that area.
Thanks. That's certainly my instinct. I was just wondering if the seasoning needed to be all at the same level, but maybe that's overthinking it.
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Old 11-07-2015, 12:52 PM   #16
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Thanks. That's certainly my instinct. I was just wondering if the seasoning needed to be all at the same level, but maybe that's overthinking it.
The function of seasoning is to prevent rusting and provide a non-stick surface. As long as you are getting that, you can't ask for more.
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:39 AM   #17
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I have been using carbon steel wok for a long time now may be around 5-8 years. I have never exprience flaking in my carbon steel wok I bought from Bowring.
First , i seasoned the wok with little oil and wipe it with paper towel and turn the stove at high heat until it starts smoking. Wipe again with the oiled paper tower.
Do not cook on carbon steel until the wok is real hot. You don't need a non-stick wok when you cook at high heat and the oil is real hot or almost smoking..
You fry eggs with sticking to the wok if you cook at high heat as describe above.
Wash clean and season before hanging or storing. Once you use many times at high heat (smoking) you don't need to season it anymore.
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