HIGH HEAT GAS at home, real wok cooking, outdoor jet burners...
Its summer. I refuse to wok cook on a stove anymore. I want to set up an outdoor burner, but am wondering if anyone can share their experience with (pretty cheap) high heat gas home set ups.
I've looked at cheap outdoor jet burners on Amazon, and would consider buying a used restaurant stove top burner piece. I have no idea if there is a wide range of quality with the little jet burners, or a world of difference between those and your standard commercial kitchen burner. I see a spectrim of different configurations, nozzles arranged in different patterns... no idea what's what.
I don't care how it looks. I even prefer if it appears small and unpredictably dangerous (for easy storage and "leave this alone" intimidation value.) It's just going on the deck
I haven't done this, following your prior approach - buying an outdoor propane burner off of Ebay, which has worked really well (its great for wok cooking but also for things like steaming a bunch of lobsters and carrying with you when camping).
If you are looking for an indoor solution, BE VERY CAREFUL - homes lack 2 things very important here - insulation and ventilation. Burners putting out really high heat can start nearby things on fire, and high heat means a lot of CO is put out.. every year, somone gets killed because they drag their gas grill inside and fire it up.
You're saying it's going "on the deck" so I presume still outside, yes?
I have a propane-fueled "Big Kahuna" burner. Works fine for wokking. But after I bought it, I learned there are other outdoor cookers that may be designed better...for example, with collars that prevent gusts of wind from deflecting the flame. Shop around.
Please DON'T use anything like this indoors! You're not even supposed to keep a propane tank indoors.
I'm going to get the terminology wrong, but I don't think you want a true "jet" burner. My understanding is that these are the ones with a single outlet and a deflector plate above to spread the flame. Here's what I'm talking about at HD: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/s...
What I think of as a "ring" burner has multiple outlets across a 4" plus diameter burner. Think you'll get better coverage across your wok with these. I'd go for as wide as you're willing to spend on. That's because I still think most of the heat will be under the middle with the smaller burners. Here's a link to what I'm thinking about (I have a tall, high-pressure propane burner that I used to use for brewing): http://bayouclassicdepot.com/single_p...
I've only used mine maybe once or twice w/ a wok. You'd need to come up with something to stabilize a wok or you'll have to keep one hand on it while using. Maybe a wok ring. But I have mine set up with 'wings' for setting a big kettle on top. Hard to explain, but I use inexpensive C-clamps to hold them on. Just thinking that 3 or 4 clamps placed properly would support a round bottom wok.
Many Asian groceries carry a small variety of restaurant small wares, rice cookers, and wok burners. Check out one of those and build a frame for what you need. Be sure to use it outside.
As for going through a cylinder of gas in a few minutes...that might be true. But if you're high temp wok cooking, you'll be using that burner for less than 2 minutes in many occasions.
Just as one more reference point, I use my Big Kahuna burner about once a week during favorable weather (I'm in NYC) and hardly at all in the dead of winter. At those rates of use, a tank of propane lasts me about two years.
The Big Kahuna has two rings of flame, if I recall correctly.