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May 24, 2010 10:55 AM

Charcoal grilling with a cast iron wok?

I've said I wanted to try this for a few years, but this summer I'm investing in a cast iron wok to use on the grill because my husband is already having too much fun being the burger and chops master--now it's my turn!

I'm just curious if anyone has tried and enjoyed cooking this way, and if you have any tips to share in regards to safety, seasoning/oils, cleaning, etc. Not looking for a discourse on how cast iron stinks and carbon steel is the only way to go.....I have a cs wok and am purchasing this one in addition to try something different ;)

Also, and this may be a dumb question, should I go with a flat or round bottomed wok?

Thanks for the input.

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  1. Round bottom woks are easier to stir-fry with. Alton Brown used one with a wok ring on top of a charcoal grill for the Good Eats Pad Thai episode.

    1. Are you thinking of stir frying with the grill as your heat source? I haven't tried this but I would think it's very doable as long as you preheat your wok well. I suggest a flat bottom wok for your grill for stability, always easier than a round bottom.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        The Chinese have been heating their woks for a really long time with wood and charcoal. The challenge is to create an intensely hot fire -- not necessarily a lot of fuel, but concentrated and with a lot of draft. An idea would be to use a round bottomed wok over a charcoal chimney starter with holes cut into the top as well as bottom. (Or turn your chimney starter upside down and set on top of a grill grate -- assuming there is enough room in the bottom for charcoal.)

      2. I'm a fan of experiments, too. But I wonder what you think will be gained with a cast iron wok? Heat retention? (I actually haven't seen a cast iron wok, so I'm trying to picture things.) Will it be super heavy? What recipes are you shooting for?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bada Bing

          They are super heavy. Great heat retention, though, but take some time to heat up. I can't use them because 1) too heavy 2) too heavy. It's just me, though.

          Photo of Lodge cast iron wok:

          I believe both Le Creuset and Lodge makes a round bottom cast iron woks with a ring on the outer bottom for stability, a good choice for stir frying on the grill. I use a flat bottomed model (not CI) rather than round in the kitchen, with no discernible difference in cooking results.

          Mr Barbeque brand has one with a flat bottom for the grill:

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Thanks for these tips. I'm getting intrigued.

        2. I would opt for a round bottom with a wok ring, but that's the traditionalist in me. Just remember that a cast iron wok will take longer to heat up, owing to its greater mass. Have fun!

          1. I'd go with a flat bottom with round interior for the grill.

            Grilling outdoors is a totally different mindset than cooking in the kitchen. We tend to look at the surroundings more outdoors and distractions abound. Safety would be a big issue if someone or something bumped into the grill. Everyone has different situations and scenarios but I tend to err on the side of caution.