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I need help on my 2 year old cast iron wok

ictown775 Mar 21, 2010 10:58 AM

Hi,

I bought my cast iron in the SF area (the wok shop). I purchased a 16'' traditional cast iron wok.

I washed the wok vigorous before seasoning to get the rust film off the wok.

and I have had problems with it for the last two years. I could never get my wok to get to that bronze-black patina color nor its shiny state. Each time I've used it, the seasoning just comes off (I've only been trying to cook fatty foods on the wok)

I have the instructions from the wok shop how to season the wok. I tried the stovetop method (with Crisco oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, Crisco shortening, palm oil, and other suggestions Tammy gave me through email). In the booklet it states doing 450 for 20 minutes, I have done that along with several hours in other attempts.

In addition oven seasoning method was used, I have tried using 450 degree to 550 degree temperature in the oven. I do place the wok upside down and when it stops smoking it let it cool and I wash with water and dry, and then season it again.

Tried using a grill my cousin's recommendation, (btw each of those attempts I made the wok slate clean, removing all seasoning).

I also have a butane burner, and I tried to season with that, still no go...

My first attempt when I tried to season the wok, after I finished all the coating, it was very sticky and tar-like, and I knew that wasn't good (took organic chem the previous semester).

Other than that, when I try to cook fatty foods such as beacon or coconut oil, it seems to cook fine but later on in the middle of the cooking, the seasoning comes off at the bottom and the temperature isn't even that hot to the point of removing the seasoning. Using different methods and sources, I tried seasoning the wok at least 8-18 hours. Also fyi, I've only rinsed the wok, never used soapy water to clean the wok after cooking.

I used carbon steel woks, and so far I had much more success with that, seasoning on carbon steel is much more a breeze, although it wasn't my carbon steel wok.

The first two pics was last year the first attempt of seasoning the wok

Last two pics are recent seasoning I tried to do, I was able to get it non tar-like but it still has the smudgy look.

http://www.eatingoutloud.com/2007/10/...

That link above, it seems that person bought the same kind of wok at the wok shop as I did. And his wok seems to work fine and as you can see, my wok hasn't been able to get that kind of patina nor as ones in youtube.

So after this long 1st post, do you guys/gals have any suggestions what I can do.

 
 
 
 
  1. moto Mar 21, 2010 12:06 PM

    your last photo looks like a pretty good seasoning--not too different from that blog you linked--and it isn't tarry. if it works really well and consistently, you might need to adjust your expectations about appearance, because it might just be one of those quirky things in the non-conformity/unpredictable file. your account didn't describe any attempts with a slightly lower temperature than 450--and you are correct about carbon steel being much more tractable in the seasoning process than cast iron, in my experience with many different vessels.

    2 Replies
    1. re: moto
      ictown775 Mar 21, 2010 01:24 PM

      I'll take that in consideration about the quirky things and I had someone email me about iron that is used to make the wok not being a good quality metal-iron. He mentioned about the porosity in the surface for the oil "take hold"

      I did try organic coconut oil about 300-350 degrees because the smoking point is much lower than the other hydrogenated oil products and it came sticky.

      1. re: ictown775
        moto Mar 21, 2010 09:52 PM

        both monku and cakebaker have excellent techniques for cast iron, and both utilize temp's well below 450. you should not need (not saying it can't work, just haven't tried it) a temp above, likely even equal to deep frying, which is generally 360-375 depending on the grease/oil.

    2. monku Mar 21, 2010 01:55 PM

      "My first attempt when I tried to season the wok, after I finished all the coating, it was very sticky and tar-like, and I knew that wasn't good (took organic chem the previous semester)."
      ...........from experience that seems to be the first stage I always encounter too, but I thought that was the start of the process. My experience is you'll never get an even coat of seasoning the first several attempts, you have to keep at it and it will eventually become uniform.

      Sounds like you've tried everything. I don't have a cast iron wok, but I'll give you my tip on how I season cast iron. When you're finished cooking scrape as much food crud off as you can and then "dry" wipe it with a paper towel-don't use any water. Turn up the heat to high and turn off the burner when it gets hot., Then coat it with any kind of cooking oil. When it cools off wipe off any excess oil then put it away. Half dozen times should start forming some good seasoning and you should be able to start using water to clean. Before I put it away I'll "dry" it on the stove using high heat again and coating it with oil and wiping away the excess oil.

      1. c
        cakebaker Mar 21, 2010 02:15 PM

        I have never seasoned a wok but many cast iron pans. It takes years for a nonstick patina to develop. I have always used solid crisco...liberally coating it inside and out and turning it upside down and leaving it for hours in a 250 oven. Once used NEVER use water...only coarse salt and a paper towel. After years of patina only then is it safe to use a little water but your wok hasn't filled in the pores yet. Then for months after each use I reseason it with crisco every few times and eventually you have a beautiful black patina but it takes work and time. It can't be done in a few months.

        1. c
          cakebaker Mar 22, 2010 01:01 AM

          I took a closer look at your pictures and I have some questions. How often have you used it in the past 2 years? What is the longest you've left it to season in the oven and how often? It looks like it still has some rough edges but maybe that's the picture. I'd do a couple of things at this point. Scrub it all over with either fine steel wool or fine sand paper removing rough spots and rust. Really smear it with Crisco and turn it upside down in a roasting pan (I always use a foil one like for turkeys) and leave it in the oven at 250 for 2 hours. Turn oven off and leave a couple of hours longer. Wipe wok and put away. use it as frequently as possible and each time after use while still hot pour a LITTLE water around the upper edge of wok and let it boil a second then wipe with a paper towel after turning off heat. return to heat to remove ANY moisture. It's really better to use no water but in case you can't do that I offer the minimum. once cool if any bits remain add a couple of teaspoons of COARSE kosher salt and scub and dump using no water. then smear a thin coating of crisco over inside of wok. the outside shouldn't need it if you haven't gotten it wet. when you use it next as the crisco melts wipe it out and proceed to add whatever oil you desire. but for seasoning i'd use crisco only. it looks like you haven't used it much but maybe it's just the picture. even with rust I'd expect some color change to the metal from heat exposure but I don't see any. seasoning is about consistency and time. hope this helps.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cakebaker
            ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 08:44 AM

            Hey thanks for your responses,

            I have at least tried to use it 3-5 times a week cooking such as bacon, anything with oil and fat, I avoided using eggs, acidic foods. I tried to wait at least couple months to see if some seasoning goes well, most of the time it just flakes off and all I see is bare metal, even if when temperature is low. When I try to (just to season the bottom part or the sides), seasoning didn't really stick.

            I had someone respond to me a day before saying my wok is possibly a bad iron?

            "I am not local to you, but sometimes the iron that used to make the wok is
            not a decent quality. They need some porosity in the surface for the oil to
            "take hold.""

            Longest I had in the oven was 2-3 hours at 400 degrees. When I look at the wok (not viewing the pics), the wok is not shiny at all...not one bit. Basically its a dull brown color. And lots of the black spots.

            I'll take your help in consideration, if it doesn't work out, maybe I should just go buy a new piece ware.

            1. re: ictown775
              c
              cakebaker Mar 22, 2010 09:29 AM

              I have restored many badly and mean badly rusted pans so don't give up. I don't know what you mean "most of it flakes off"...what is flaking off? you shouldn't "see" the seasoning...if you do what i have advised religiously it will work. If the longest period you have tried at one time is 2-3 hours than that confirms what I originally said...not enough time even though it may seem like you've been working at it and much too high a temp for seasoning. I don't think the metal is bad at all...you should see "bare metal"...by the way..you didn't spray it with anything did you? i know pictures can be tricky but it actually looks like what you would see if you had sprayed it with something like PAM but again could be the pictures. try only crisco...both for seasoning after the steel wool and then after each use rubbing in a circular motion around the wok to really work the fat into the pores. If something is "flaking off" that is food residue not seasoning. As I said...seasoning is filling the pores of the metal and can't be seen and doesn't rub off. start over and try again...as you'll only have to do this with a new wok and as I said there are no short cuts to this but once done you will have a beautiful wok. Also the comment "seasoning doesn't stick" confuses me...not sure what you mean except it seems that you are thinking you should be done with this by now. it is an ongoing process and you should use medium high heat not low heat when cooking. I really encourage you to start again with my instructions as I fear you want to just buy a new one and I think you'll be right back here in a couple of months with now two woks that aren't seasoned. solid crisco will work.

              1. re: cakebaker
                ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 10:26 AM

                I mean not that it flakes off.

                To clarify, when I finish cooking, I wipe the wok with dry paper towel. After I dry, the bare metal is exposed (gray color).

                I misinterpret the one time you asked. I thought you asked one time how long you season it. The longest period of time I spent seasoning is around 23 hours.

                I do not spray either. I don't like using those aerosol type cooking sprays. However, there are some cat hair ^_^ on the wok if you look closely. Out of topic, buy my cat likes to go inside the wok.

                Just last Saturday and Sunday, I seasoned my wok from scratch, used sandpaper. The last two pics are the results of my seasoning. (used Crisco shortening, I had trouble using Crisco oil a year ago) Should I restart the seasoning again? other than that I will follow your great instructions.

                If it doesn't work out I'll just go out and buy carbon steel wok, I've seasoned those before but I actually don't have one myself.

              2. re: ictown775
                Fuller Mar 22, 2010 01:18 PM

                Dull brown is good! That's all you can expect and it's all you need. Read below for more info. You CAN'T (everybody who has cast iron/carbon steel problems say it with me one time) YOU CAN'T get a proper black patina and seasoning in one day. It starts as brown and VERY slowly turns black.

            2. o
              OldTimer Mar 22, 2010 10:17 AM

              Unless you have some strange obsession, why don't you simply get a carbon steel wok? Since you have had success seasoning someone else's wok. Actually, the thinness of carbon steel permits the desirable intense heat required for proper wok cooking. The Chinese have had pretty good luck with carbon steel for a few thousand years.

              2 Replies
              1. re: OldTimer
                ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 10:39 AM

                lol strange obsession, I am somewhat like that...

                If i can't get something done, I try to tackle the problem and get it fix or done.

                I'm kinda ocd on that kind of stuff.

                Plus I spent money and time on my cast iron and I do hope I can resolve this.

                1. re: ictown775
                  c
                  cakebaker Mar 22, 2010 12:00 PM

                  the reason i asked about spray is the kind of concentric brown marks on the one picture. if you sand again or use brillo to really clean it ...you should have bare metal with no color. I know I'm repeating but really coat it with crisco this next attempt. like really white. then leave it in 250 right side up for 2 hrs. then turn it over and dump out. the return to oven upside down in pan for another couple. turn off oven and let cool, Sometimes I have treated pans several days in a row before even using them. it is a lot of work but once you get through it you have the start of patina (still years to develop) but once you do it you have a great pan for life. keep going! it is the color that makes me think you haven't done it enough as even with a new pan after a few weeks there is some color change that I don't see in your wok. everything is relative so that's why I'm being so specific.

              2. Fuller Mar 22, 2010 12:49 PM

                ictown775 - if I can toot my own horn a bit I discussed some aspects of seasoning pans like this here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/695122 It's a quick thread only 8 posts or so, I suggest reading it. Personally I think it has some better information than here. I'll touch on 4 problems briefly.

                #1 what you have is carbon steel, not cast iron... I could be wrong, but your pictures sure look like carbon steel and cast iron is not as traditional as carbon steel is.

                #2 do not by ANY stretch of the imagination think that all the old wives tales about carbon steel and cast iron are true. The biggest fallacy is that people think you cannot ever introduce these kinds of things to water. That simply isn't true. I use water on all my pans and I can assure you that I don't have any problems. Put it this way: if it is true that you aren't supposed to use water then all the people in China who use and clean their woks with water are doing it incorrectly. Make sense yet?

                #3 do not build layers of seasoning. When you try to get 5 or 6 "layers" of seasoning in a very short time period, you get exactly what is happening. Problems. You CANNOT rush this process and get a good seasoning in one afternoon, it will take months.

                #4 use a scrub brush. Going back to my China comment, they scrub their pans with hot water and a bamboo brush made from a bunch of split bamboo pieces. So while you can certainly get a bamboo brush (they are all over the place online) I can strongly suggest you get a plastic scrub brush to clean your pan.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Fuller
                  ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 01:41 PM

                  Hi Fuller,

                  1. I'm 100% sure I have cast iron wok..Even Tammy from the wok shop verified it as cast iron when I had problems. In addition I just used a carbon steel wok couple weeks ago at my realtive's house.

                  2. Yeah I get what you saying, it makes sense.

                  3. Time is the essence

                  4. I'll take the plastic in consideration, what about those silicon brushes?

                  I did read the the link you posted, thanks for linking it.

                  I posted a closer screenshot with more light in it, and without so much glare

                   
                  1. re: ictown775
                    Fuller Mar 22, 2010 01:51 PM

                    Time is the essence of what? You mean time is OF the essence? If you're implying that you need to get this done ASAP... well good luck. It won't happen.

                    I can also suggest never using sandpaper. The advantage of pans like this (Asian woks, French carbon steel, American cast iron) is that they become naturally non-stick. Sandpapering the smooth inside of one of these pans creates (obviously) tiny scratches ALL over the place. All those scratches love to hang on to food bits and as a result, you have sticking. Of course using a wok, you know that eggs are sometimes incorporated into the dish by scrambling them in the bottom of the pan quickly at the end of cooking. Eggs on a sandpapered surface does not equal good results.

                    Silicon brushes? The only siliconE (with an e) brushes I know about are the soft basting brushes made by OXO and others. You want something to scrub your pan with. Bamboo, a clean scrubby sponge, a plastic scrub brush - anything with some heft to it so you can dislodge the little bits of food and over abundance of oil.

                    1. re: Fuller
                      ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 02:29 PM

                      don't take it the wrong way...time is the essence..patience is the key is what i'm implying.

                      1. re: Fuller
                        c
                        cakebaker Mar 22, 2010 11:19 PM

                        Not to put too fine a point on this but both sandpaper and/or fine steel wool are recommended by Lodge in reseasoning cast iron. It is the only way to start over and also remove any sharp edges or bits of metal in the process. It is done obviously before seasoning so I'm not sure about the sandpaper/eggs reference.

                        http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-seas...

                        Of course water is acceptable once a pan is seasoned and more so as patina develops but I think for someone that has been struggling with this for 2 years avoiding water as much as possible until some patina begins is a reasonable suggestion. I know many friends that find seasoning a cast iron pan almost impossible while I actually enjoy the process. But many people do not as we are an instant society and as Fuller aptly expressed this requires time meaning months/years and patience. I was only suggesting what I did based on your comments to avoid more frustration and not have you return to the same place with this over and over. My sense from all this (and this is NOT in any way meant to be critical...just an observation based on your comments) is that you have been trying to get it over with hence all your different efforts. You instead should settle on a technique and do it over and over as part of the process.

                  2. Chemicalkinetics Mar 22, 2010 02:58 PM

                    ictown,

                    That is strange. Most people have better succuess with seasoning on a cast iron wok than on a carbon steel wok. Either way, from the looks of your photos, your seasoning is not stablized and that is probably what happened. In my experience, stovetop seasoning works better for wok than oven seasoning because stove top get to a higher temperature and carbonized the oil faster. You shouldn't have to do more than 1-2 times stove top seasoning and from then on it is all about cooking and putting on my seasoning. You may want to stir fried some chopping onions to the point of burning for the first run and throw those onion away. I will also use a wooden utensil or a plastic utensil for the first 2-4 weeks, so you are not scrapping off the new seasoning right away. After that, you should able to move to metal utensils if you wish.

                    P.S.: Why did you nickname Tane into Tammy? :)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 03:10 PM

                      My apologies, at the moment I switched up my friends name instead of hers. Sometimes I refer people by their wrong name...yikes...sorry

                      1. re: ictown775
                        Chemicalkinetics Mar 22, 2010 03:21 PM

                        I were just teasing you. Didn't you see the smiley face I put after that comment?

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          ictown775 Mar 22, 2010 03:59 PM

                          ughh... nope I didn't see it, lol. I might need new glasses again lol.

                    2. ictown775 Mar 23, 2010 01:12 PM

                      Update,

                      I reseasoned the cast iron wok (from scratch)

                      used metal scrubber to clean in and out

                      seasoned with crisco at 250 degrees F. for 2.5 hours, 3 times in the oven

                      cooked beacon at medium high, stovetop around 6.

                      after i cooked beacon, wiped wok with paper towel.

                      I took photos after I finished cooking beacon.

                      In the center of the wok, it looks dull and metal-like.

                      if you look closely to the photos, you can see tiny holes that are open, or w/e you call them pores. not sure what to do with them...there's too many of them.

                      I also added to picasa, if you guys wanted to see it in higher res.

                      http://picasaweb.google.com/asianbboy...

                      The color of the cast iron looks nice and all, but the center is the problem for me.

                      I will later put some oil in the center and use the stovetop method.

                       
                       
                       
                       
                      11 Replies
                      1. re: ictown775
                        Fuller Mar 23, 2010 01:18 PM

                        I think the problem is still that you're trying to rush it. 3 times is excessive. Patience, patience, patience. Must I say it a dozen more times? ;-)

                        While we're quoting Lodge's product instructions (cakebaker) I took a look at them myself. Surprise. Nearly identical to my instructions. It also says do one seasoning, not 3 layers. It also says use water to clean it. I don't see the part about steel wool, etc.

                        http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-seas...

                        1. re: Fuller
                          ictown775 Mar 23, 2010 01:24 PM

                          Well I did try just once when I first received the wok from the wok shop. And the result was the same as it is now. Nothing has really changed what ever method I used.

                          Plus in the wok shop instructions, they tell me to do it at least twice or 3 times.

                          I meant I reseasoned meaning, I started from scratch from bare metal. last time I did that was several months ago.

                          1. re: ictown775
                            ictown775 Mar 23, 2010 01:29 PM

                            I really do like the bronze color, looks very antique like

                          2. re: Fuller
                            c
                            cakebaker Mar 23, 2010 03:51 PM

                            The Lodge link I posted above under "Cleaning cast iron" clearly states using fine sand paper or steel wool for cleaning surface prior to reseasoning so I'm not sure if you read it how you missed it.

                            Ictown: Again, I sense from your latest post that you seem to feel that you can make this effort once and then you're done with a seasoned pan. It is a process as has been stated here over and over. Keeping it free from rust, using it repeatedly over months and years, using crisco to fill in pores (over months)...is how you develop a nonstick surface that turns black. IT CANNOT BE DONE WITH ONE EFFORT OR ONE USE. The process cannot be rushed and I feel something about that isn't getting through. I would also use only steel wool or fine grit sandpaper. The coiled scrubber is very different and abrasive. You are not trying to "scratch up the surface" as posted but smooth out metal fragments before reseasoning.

                            1. re: cakebaker
                              ictown775 Mar 23, 2010 04:20 PM

                              I'm sure from day 1 the process will take a long time.

                              Basically the problems I'm getting are, is that through a normal process? Or even when I use my nails not too light or hard, it scrapes off the the bronze color stuff, is it suppose to scrape off that easily.

                              Around May 08-Dec 08 I seasoned the pan as instructed by the manual (wok shop) Every time I cooked I always had to scrape off food each time I cooked. I had to add liberal amounts of oil so that almost none of the food don't stick. It didn't get any better or worse. After that period I tried everything else.

                              I know and read plenty that black patina takes a long time to occur, but the things I encountered, are they suppose to occur every time you finished cooking?

                              1. re: ictown775
                                c
                                cakebaker Mar 23, 2010 05:16 PM

                                I'm not sure how much overall cooking experience you've had so I don't mean to be too basic so forgive me if i'm telling you things you already know. The seasoning can't be seen. When you say you can scrape "it " off what you are scraping off is either food residue or burnt on build up of most likely some oil you've used. The wok or pan will stick until the pores of metal absorb fat and seal. The patina is developed with two things...exposure (repeated) to heat and fat. re: Fuller's comment's that Lodge only suggested one seasoning...that section from Lodge is for their PRESEASONED pans that are imbedded with proprietory soybean oil prior to sale. You don't have to believe me but as I said I have done this for over 30 years and ALWAYS you must reseason repeatedly if you want a truly nonstick pan. You get there by using the pan or wok as much as possible and being consistent. As I said, what I do is after use and cleaning I would coat it with a thin film of crisco that you will then wipe out when it melts the next time you use it. And you will have to use oil or fat of some kind for cooking and the more the better until some time passes. the more fat you get into the pores the better. When cooking the way to deal with sticking until you have patina is to use something at the last minute for release...like a little stock. But to expect that you season it once and then you can cook and if it sticks there's something wrong tells me you don't understand how this works. All protein will stick...you need to use something to release it. High heat over time and fat you will get the wok you want but again you have to be willing to do this. For cleaning just to be clear...normally I use coarse salt and a paper towel with hot water. But then I NEVER use oil as it turns to gunk and I make sure my pan surface is as smooth as I can get it. I have taken pans that had to be sandblasted to remove the layers of rust and turned them into beautiful coal black shiny smooth pans so your wok is far from impossible but you need to decide if it's worth it to you. I can see you are frustrated by this but I think a big problem is you are using one method once then abandoning that and going on to the next one then the next. For your purposes I would use a bamboo to clean with a little hot water and coarse salt. Not brillo, nor metal scrubbers. the problem with plastic scrubbers is that it is best to clean when the wok is warm so plastic is out but if that's what works best for you go ahead but no metal scrubbers and if you can add the wiping of crisco afterward if it's warm all the better. remember...heat and fat...heat and fat. That's what seasons cast iron. Eventually you don't have to coat it but you will know as it will be black and shiny. but that's a long time off.

                                1. re: cakebaker
                                  c
                                  cakebaker Mar 23, 2010 07:43 PM

                                  One more thing...when I told you to season with crisco several times I didn't mean you could do it all in one day as your last update implied. There is no advantage to seasoning 3 or 4 times in one day. You need to season...cook, then a few weeks later season, then cook and so on. again heat, fat and time is what you need.

                                  1. re: cakebaker
                                    ictown775 Mar 23, 2010 10:36 PM

                                    Thanks for you insight and everyone else, you guys know what you guys are doing.

                                    I'll just have to wait a long time then and pray the Cast Iron God to bless me for the black patina.

                                    I enjoy cooking, but my cooking experience aren't high as everyone, I'm not even 25 yet. ^_*

                                    1. re: ictown775
                                      c
                                      cakebaker Mar 23, 2010 11:14 PM

                                      Not even 25 and you've been working on this wok for 2 years? I"m impressed! Actually I'm impressed that you even want to cook let alone tackle a cast iron wok at your age. You are being too hard on yourself and your wok. Just keep at it...follow the suggestions and maybe by your 25th things will look differently.

                                      1. re: cakebaker
                                        ictown775 Mar 24, 2010 03:17 PM

                                        At the time, my younger ignorance age, only thing I knew was nonstick pans (teflon) and stainless steel. Wanted to look for alternatives and the internet was the place to search. Yay for chowhound!

                                        Yeah, its actually quite sad though, I was living at my dorm for couple years, the number of people who did not know how to cook or just basic cooking was quite staggering. Most of the time, I saw everyone eating dorm food, or ordering out. On the days there were no dorm food, it's all fast food,etc.

                                        In the future I do want to another wok, except this time it'll be a 1 handle carbon steel wok. I'm also interested in getting lodge cast iron griddle.

                                        And maybe in two years, things will look differently.

                          3. re: ictown775
                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 23, 2010 02:30 PM

                            Try the stovetop method. I think it worked better for me.

                          4. Paulustrious Mar 24, 2010 08:23 AM

                            I was convinced by the sadists on this board to buy a cast-iron wok. I have a couple of 'ordinary' Chinese carbon steel ones that I had seasoned on a stove top using this technique. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDp_2x... They worked perfectly. However the cast-iron transmitted the heat away so it took much, much longer - almost an hour - to season it. Even then it did not do as well. The brown colour means there was not enough time / heat to turn black

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Paulustrious
                              ictown775 Mar 24, 2010 03:37 PM

                              Where did you buy your cast iron wok?

                              Cast iron does take longer to season than carbon steel.

                              LOL, sadists

                              http://schoolagain.com/wok.htm (those are nice woks)

                            2. t
                              Timmy42 Apr 2, 2010 03:42 AM

                              Use crisco or peanut oil they work the best. Or try a cup of salt on high heat till it turns black, usually about 20 min. Also grab a book " Breath of a Wok" best wok book in print that I've seen. it goes intohistory, multiple seasoning methods and has some killer recipies in it. I've used a chineese cast iron wok for a few years now. Getting that bookisthe most helpful thing youcan possibly do. Theres also a few really authentic looking woks on Ebay now. Nice hand hammered ones

                              1. c
                                christopher109 Apr 14, 2010 06:47 PM

                                hi I put some notes on a similar blog 'whats the difference...'. Fuller's advice aligns with my experience. Go to the de buyer website and watch video clip on seasoning one of their pans. You are not seeking to put a layer on - rather to fill in the microscopic pores in the steel - the rest come with years of use. I've always used coconut threads to season. Shown to me by 60 yr old amah (home help) in Singapore. Always wash straight after use - let cool first scrub with bamboo brush scraper and detergent, or a green poly pad kind of thing. Be firm and rip it up. rinse with hot water dry and oil. Reading these blogs i can't believe the drama being played out here. Did your granny teach you nothing?? Steel and iron pans are fantastic for cooking; slow down and love them.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: christopher109
                                  ictown775 May 8, 2010 08:36 PM

                                  My granny? I may be asian, but all my relatives are white, aka(adopted), and I'm pretty sure NONE of my relatives know a thing about cast iron or even cast iron wok.

                                  Yah I cooked my fatty angus steak today, and I used coconut oil and iwatani butane burner on the low setting. After I finished eating there was some sticky gunk, mostly just salt and pepper and non acidic seasoning. After I cleaned it out with hot water and wiped it dry, what do I see? I see the wok turned back to silver. bare metal. the top looks nicely season and until you look down its basically a silver platter.

                                  So ya, I basically had to season the bottom with coconut oil so it doesn't look so naked (bare metal).

                                2. ictown775 Aug 22, 2010 01:04 PM

                                  5 months later...

                                  I bought a new cast iron wok and I used the same type of a wok, same oil, same oven, same temp,

                                  The original wok I had, about a month I used it, I only used to stir fry veggies (chives, onions, garlic, ginger, etc), no meats or eggs or any acidic food. It didn't go well as I hoped. The bottom layer, its like the seasoning comes off, if that is the seasoning. By the end of it there are spots with exposed iron. So I left it outside for about a week and the whole thing rusted.

                                  So i bought a new cast iron wok and thai clay bbq stove.

                                  The wok it turned out the way it was suppose to, unlike the other wok and the seasoning doesn't come off when i cook with it, no stickiness or tar like texture.

                                  With the thai stove, its a good combination and I'll wait patiently for the wok to be truly black.

                                  For the old wok I think I'm gonna put it on top of a charcoal chimney and fill it up with charcoal and use it to grill some food, might as well put it to some use.

                                  BTW, I would like to say thanks for all the advices, internet is sure a wonderful thing.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ictown775
                                    Chemicalkinetics Aug 22, 2010 03:58 PM

                                    Glad to hear it works out.

                                    1. re: ictown775
                                      Paulustrious Aug 22, 2010 05:00 PM

                                      And thanks for the good grace of putting closure to the thread.

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