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need help with e-wok wok

bensy Sep 21, 2013 11:30 AM

Hi all,

So I bought a new 13" hand hammered wok from E-woks. I just got it, and am excited to season it. However, I've been scrubbing till my hands are numb with a metal mesh scrubber (copper), and I still can't seem to get the inside clean. Water runs clear after rinsing, but if I wipe the inside of the wok with a towel, I get a gray residue. And there are still splotches of darker gray in the wok. Do I need to get all of this out? Am I scrubbing off the protective gunk, or am I just scrubbing off deposits of carbon steel?

Just to be clear -- I haven't seasoned it yet. I'm just trying to clean it to prepare it for seasoning.

Thanks for your help!

  1. chefj Sep 21, 2013 12:02 PM

    I think you need to season your Wok. You will continue to get some residue till you do so. The Seasoning will seal the Metal and you won't get anymore grey residue.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefj
      bensy Sep 21, 2013 12:16 PM

      Thanks! I watched that video, but wasn't paying attention when she said that there would be residue left.

    2. Gio Sep 21, 2013 12:03 PM

      I've had my wok for more than 37 years so it's pretty well seasoned, and have never had to give it a wok scrub facial. The only person I know who is the absolute Guru of woks is Grace Young. I'm referring you to what she says about cleaning and seasoning a wok. Here's a link:

      Here's YouTube vid of Grace showing what & how:

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio
        Chemicalkinetics Sep 21, 2013 12:16 PM

        What Grace Young described is nothing new, but she did coin the term. Some people, like I, have called it a mini-seasoning.

        "You will need to do a mini-seasoning afterward, but you should not have to do a full blown seasoning."

        Alternatively, I think a lot of people just call it a "a hot oil run" or "hot oil coating".

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          Gio Sep 21, 2013 12:23 PM

          Yes, Chemicalkinetics, the "hot oil coating" when cleaning after a stir-fry is important.

      2. Chemicalkinetics Sep 21, 2013 12:30 PM

        I have a hand hammered wok from E-wok, so I think I know what you are experiencing. Unfortunately, this is really a hand hand wok with all the pros and cons. The wok has not cleaned up for you. You will need to clean it up.

        I don't know if you have read this earlier article, but this one includes many photos including my own.


        The very first photo is the one which I have cleaned up the wok and removed all that I can, and processed to season the wok. As you can see, it is not shiny.

        I think you are pretty close, but I won't season it at this very moment. I will use the salt-oil scrub. Pour about one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of salt, and use a paper towel and scrub the heck of it. Most likely your paper towel will turn black or gray. Repeat with new paper towel and possibly more oil and salt until the paper towel is no longer black.

        <Am I scrubbing off the protective gunk, or am I just scrubbing off deposits of carbon steel? >

        I don't think there is much protective gunk on this wok. You could be simply scrubbing the oxidized carbon steel, which is why I suggested to use a salt-oil scrub instead of water. Water will keep on inducing the iron oxidation, so you will always get the black/gray color no matte what. The oil, on the other hand, will prevent it.

        Since the paper towel is relatively clear (no longer black), then you can do a quick run of water just to rinse the salt off. Then, lightly wipe of the water. The wok should still feel oily. Now, you can start to season.

        All of these should not take you more than another 10 minutes.

        I hope you will enjoy the wok.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          bensy Sep 21, 2013 12:56 PM

          Thanks a lot Chemicalkinetics. I did look at your thead when I was debating which wok to buy, but did not look at it before cleaning.

          Your first picture is super helpful. If that worked after seasoning, I'm good to go. I've removed even more of the dark color than you did. (I'm telling you, my hands were numb, and they're now sore!) Nevertheless, I'll do the salt thing you suggested before seasoning.

          1. re: bensy
            Chemicalkinetics Sep 21, 2013 01:11 PM

            Yeah, just do the salt thing for once is fine, just to remove any gray/black matter. Good luck. I find the hand hammered wok to be easier to season. Or I should say that that seasoning seems to stick better than my other machined made carbon steel woks (about 6-7 woks in total).

            I hope all work out for you. Please feel free to ask any questions or drop any feedback.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              bensy Sep 21, 2013 01:17 PM

              My other wok is cast iron, which is "ridgy," rather than smooth. It was a cinch to season, so maybe I'm spoiled!

              1. re: bensy
                Chemicalkinetics Sep 21, 2013 01:19 PM

                :) Yeah, all cast iron woks have rough surface. I cannot say how this hand hammered carbon steel wok will compare to your cast iron wok, but it shouldn't be too bad for you. Now, you will have a wok which you can toss food with. (It is very difficult, and ill advise to toss food in a cast iron wok -- due to its brittleness).

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