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Does the wok ring serve any other purpose other than stability?

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I just bought an artisan hammered wok from Williams-Sonoma after reading here that its made by Cen Lian Gen (the "wok man" in Grace Young's books) and it came with a wok ring. I placed it on my stove without the ring and its very stable and doesn't wobble. Should I still use the ring? Some believe it acts as a heat trap and concentrates the heat to the bottom of the pan but I feel that it would do the opposite and elevate the pan too high off of the heat source. Your thoughts?

And just one little question about seasoning the wok. Grace Young mentions scouring off the seasoning on the outside of the wok but never mentions reapplying oil to the outside when you season it yourself. Do I need to season the outside? Or is this avoided due to the flames?

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  1. <I placed it on my stove without the ring and its very stable and doesn't wobble.>

    Lucky you.

    <Some believe it acts as a heat trap and concentrates the heat to the bottom of the pan but I feel that it would do the opposite and elevate the pan too high off of the heat source.>

    It does acts as a heat trap, so that is not incorrect, but you may not need the heat trap afterall. Another thing to notice is that the wok ring can be worked in two modes. The larger size up or the smaller size up. Try both.

    <Grace Young mentions scouring off the seasoning on the outside of the wok>

    ??? What?

    <Do I need to season the outside? Or is this avoided due to the flames?>

    In short, you don't have to season the outside for two reasons. First, the cooking surface (inside) is the most important part because you want the seasoned surface to prevent rust and prevent food sticking. Second, the outside surface will eventually get seasoned (even if you do not intentionally do it). The cooking oil will get out, and the outside will get seasoned in a matter of weeks or months.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      <Grace Young mentions scouring off the seasoning on the outside of the wok>
      Grace Young states in her book, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge that before you season your new wok you must wash and "scour the inside of the wok several times and also scour the outside at least once" to remove the oil/grease applied by the factory to prevent rusting. Just wasn't sure if the outside needed to be seasoned since there was a coating that I was scrubbing off. But you pretty much answered my question anyways. :)

      I decided I wont use the wok ring. Hoping to one day get a Robert Yick wok stove anyways.

      1. re: JenniferLopez

        Taco-flavor kisses. Most woks are coated with machine oil and should be thoroughly clean before. Few are lacquered which are even more difficult to remove. Have fun.

    2. You do not want the fire directly on your Wok. The whole point of a Wok is to disperse heat evenly. The ring helps keep the fire and metal at a proper distance.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Scootboy

        No, that is not the whole point of a wok. That is the opposite of the point of a wok.

        1. re: Scootboy

          I agree with acgold. The purpose of a wok is not to disperse heat evenly. Moreover, if you are correct, than some of the wok rings actually concentrate/focus the heat.

          http://www.instructables.com/files/de...

        2. If you use any cast iron cook ware, I would suggest seasoning both the outside and inside. This is what my father taught me about cast iron cookware. Especially if you dry it the way he did, which was to place the wet item over a flame. After which, he would use Crisco and a paper towel to evenly spread the Crisco over the entire surface. He would then use the paper towel to remove any excess. I prefer to use vegetable oil. I would suggest seasoning both the inside and outside if it is cast iron.

          3 Replies
          1. re: DavidACarlson

            Do you use a cast iron wok? That seems so heavy and unwieldy to me.

            1. re: Hobbert

              The traditional cast iron woks are very thin, so it's less of a weight problem and more a brittleness/breakage problem.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Interesting, thanks.

          2. I think using the wok ring is still a good idea. If you are going to do real wok cooking, you will need to be moving the food around very vigorously. The wok ring will stabilize the wok and keep it from tipping over. If it is the kind with a wide side and narrower side, place the wide side up. This will make the flame closer to the wok.

            Secondly it will concentrate the heat on the bottom of the wok. Most of the fire/heat cannot get past the wok ring, this will be the hottest part of the wok. I also find that it keeps the flame from wicking up the sides of the wok, as the wok's shape makes this particularly easy. This will protect you from burns and super hot handles as well. So feel free to turn the burner to the highest flame without fear of open flames burning your hands directly. I also will put a bit of aluminum foil to cover the holes where the handle is, to further protect my hands.

            About the outside of the wok, don't worry about it. I think Chem said it best, it will season itself over time. In fact the bottoms of my woks look better and darker than the insides of my woks. When i rinse off the inside of the wok between dishes with a tawashi (japanese palm fiber brush), the bottom gets wet from the rinse water and oil. Then it goes back onto the fire to be reheated, this process has blackened the bottom quite a bit. Just keep cooking, and the patina will form. The more you cook the faster and more durable the seasoning.

            1. Hi JL-

              A short answer is that being stable, you may not need the ring at all.

              We don't have that stability, having purchased all round bottom woks, so we figured out a way to use them on different hob sets. We use three rings.

              One to stabilize and focus gas flame on the wok while cooking, and from there the second ring used to hold the wok elsewhere when serving. These are both inexpensive aluminum, primarily to facilitate a wok being used outside on a grill side burner. Flip the ring over and the wok is closer to the gas flame source, similar to a restaurant kitchen.

              A third ring for induction is really more of a artistic trivet, in stainless steel. That facilitates any round bottom induction compliant wok used directly on an induction cooktop. It was included with the AEG wok as a set.

              Unlike the alu wok ring for the gas (which gets glowing hot), the induction ring "trivet" does not heat, and can be then taken with the wok used on the induction cooktop, directly to the dining table.

              As these are alu cored-stainless steel woks ( one 22 cm and one 35 cm, which is quite heavy ), they require no seasoning.