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May 16, 2008 08:15 AM

Nonstick wok + high heat....

OK, I've got a nonstick wok that I never use, but it has a nice pot-style handle, which is why I bought it. And I have an old iron wok with the two loop handles, and a nice outdoor propane burner and wok ring that can get it as hot as necessary; but it's hard (and rather dangerous) to work with, because of the small handles. Now, the nonstick one will obviously not stand up to the high heat of the propane burner; but what if I burn off the nonstick coating - get the thing red-hot, scorch it down to the bare metal? Then I can use it for high-heat cooking, the way a wok is intended. Is this a bad idea? Will there be residual toxins on the metal? Will the resulting surface be any good for cooking on? Should I just buy another iron wok with a handle?

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  1. Argh! Bad idea! Very. Throw the nonstick wok away. Real woks are very inexpensive. Buy woks in an Asian market. Buy ugly black woks. Do not buy stainless steel woks, or nonstick woks. Or - maybe best of all on a home stove, especially an electric stove - a Lodge cast iron wok. That's my favorite.

    1 Reply
    1. re: justjoe

      Yes. one of the "Joy of Cooking" authors said a Chinese neighbor preferred a skillet to a wok. Woks are not designed American cooking appliaces, anyway.

    2. I would say your best bet is to go to your local Asian store and buy a 14" carbon steel wok. Here in Washington I normally see them for 9.99 to 19.99 depending on the sophistication of the wok. Ones for 9.99 are pretty roughly made but I am sure do the job great.
      I have a flat bottom non-stick wok I use on my glass cooktop that I paid 14.99 for at Ross but am planning on getting a carbon steel round bottomed one to use on the outdoor gas grill just like you.

      1. I agree that this is a terrible idea. Get rid of it if it doesn't suit your needs. The non-stick coating is full of toxic material and burning it off will only fill your home with fumes that you (and your pet birds) should not be breathing. Go spend some money on a wok that can take the heat and save the Joyce Chen for the light duty work. Heck, it was probably less than $20 -- why risk it?

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGC1982

          You're probably right. I was going to burn it off outdoors, but even then I was thinking that there could be lingering toxins or whatever. Yes, it was cheap and a replacement real wok would not be expensive either. Thanks all for the advice.