Don't try this at home (a cautionary tale?)
After a year and a half of living with the crusty electric range that came with our house, we decided we had finally paid our dues and earned a replacement. Anything but gas was out of the question (yes, induction sounds nice, but this decision was competing with a lot of other upcoming expenses). We settled on an all-gas, convection Frigidaire with sealed burners, and it's just great.
Last night, my wife was working late. In keeping with my usual strategy, I decided to take advantage of the fact that she wasn't home to try something stupid and dangerous.
Having read some of the threads on sealed vs. open burners, attenuated output, etc, etc, I've been curious about the possibility of modifying a cap (i.e. drilling holes: obviously NOT something I would consider trying unless I had a spare) to swap in place of the "normal" one for very high-heat applications (maybe I can achieve some wok hei at home after all). Naturally, the first test would be to remove the cap entirely and try (carefully!!!) to light the burner. Even with the gas on very low, this produced what I can most accurately describe as a large blowtorch. It quickly blew itself out when I tried to turn it up past "medium"- not surprisingly, the burner cap seems to play an instrumental role in regulation of pressure as well as proper mixing of air and fuel (natural gas, I'm told, has a narrow optimal ratio).
Before inflicting any damage to my nice new range hood, I shut off the torch...uh, burner. My next step was to try and see how the uncapped burner would perform with a wok in place...but before I could get it out, I heard the garage door open- and quickly put everything back. This would have to continue on another night.
What I'd like to know is whether anyone else has thought about this at all, or been bold/stupid enough to try anything? Please don't tell me how wonderful your open-burner Viking/Garland/Bluestar is and how I should have simply found the extra money for one of those instead- I already know that. :)
It sounds like we have similar new Frigidaire gas ranges (mine is convection with 5 burners and cast iron grates, after DECADES of cruddy electric coil stoves) and all I know is that I *accidentally* forgot to replace one of the caps the other day and scared the hell out of myself. ;-) Let me know if you decide to...uhm...modify the set up.