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is a cast iron wok safe to burn wood IN?

Dear Chowhounds,

I have a random question, but I'm certain someone will know the answer....or have an opinion. : )

I have a flat bottomed cast iron wok that has been sitting around unused. This weekend, I thought it would be fun to use it as a "fire pit" and let my son and his friends roast their hot dogs over a teeny tiny wood burning fire.

If its hearty enough to handle intense heat on the outside, I figure its hearty enough to put logs in it and burn wood on the inside. I do not intend to use this wok anyway so I don't care if its ruined - just dont' want it to crack and spill hot embers out!

Any thoughts? Thanks and happy 4th!

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  1. Hi, Lynndsey:

    Yes, it's safe, if by that you mean the wok won't crack, break or melt. All bets are off as to whether the boys set something ELSE on fire.

    But no coal. A coal fire can melt cast iron.

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    3 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      Really? I had a cast iron hibachi way back before propane BBQs were cheap. At least I think it was cast iron, it was sure heavy. Although it did have a grate so the coal wasn't sitting right on the base.

      1. re: hsk

        Hi, hsk:

        Maybe a little chunk of anthracite coal wouldn't, but a pile of burning bituminous in direct contact with the CI will sag and drop the bottom right out of a cast iron skillet.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

      2. re: kaleokahu

        Ummm... who the heck would cook over coal? Charcoal, yes, but coal...

      3. There are easier and safer ways to make a fire pit.

        1. whatever method you use, remember that just like a fire outside the pan makes the inside hot enough to burn flesh, a fire inside the pan will make the outside hot enough to burn flesh (and set who knows what else on fire)

          1. Buy a cheap mini grill or hibachi for them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: JMF

              Ignore the Grannies here-fire it up and Have Fun!

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                Just make sure you put it on a concrete deck (or similar).

            2. Yes, like everyone said, it should work just fine.

              1. It'll survive, but the seasoning won't. You'll need to reseason it post-inferno.