In my search for different types of woks, I came across a wok burner as an alternative method for heating woks.
I did not know what a wok burner was, so I decided to do some research. Here is what I found about wok burners:
- Wok burners are made for woks
- Wok burners generate a tremendous amount of heat
- Wok burners can use common sources of fuel, like propane
- Wok burners can be used on camping trips or with picnics
Woks need high temperatures. The stoves and ovens in our homes and apartments usually don’t have the type of heat that Asian restaurants have. Gas stoves, electric glass or porcelain stoves, and electric coil stoves cannot duplicate the kind of temperatures that Asian restaurants can provide in their kitchens.
Wok burners are a solution to the problem of being able to apply enough heat to duplicate true Asian wok cooking. Wok burners can generate 20,000BTU’s to 100,000BTU’s and more, which is more than adequate for heating a wok.
Woks can use propane fuel for cooking and is very economical if you adjust your wok burner correctly.
With wok burners, round-bottomed woks are the norm and work best with wok burners because of their shape. Almost 100% of woks that are used with wok burners are made of carbon steel. You would be hard pressed to find a flat-bottomed wok in an Asian restaurant.
When you use a round-bottomed wok with a wok burner, the cooking is so fast that the food is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The food extracts some of the flavors from the wok itself. If you don’t use a wok burner when using your wok, flavors from the wok are difficult, if not impossible, to be extracted into your food.
Transporting a Wok burner is easy because they are usually smaller than a barbecue. Wok Burners are perfect for picnics, catering, or for use at your home. If you use your wok and wok burner on a picnic, you will find that they clean up a lot easier than barbecue. They take up less space in your car. All you need for fuel is a bottle of propane. You will not have to haul around charcoal or wood to burn.
Are Wok Burners Safe?
Woks are very safe if you use them according to their instructions. When you get your wok burner, make sure you assemble it according to the instructions. Make sure that you test all fuel line connections by spraying water on all the fittings. If bubbles appear, tighten the connection. If you do not see any bubbles, then you are set to go.
Woks burners can come with an electric or manual start. When you start your wok burner, make sure that you turn the main fuel supply down and slowly open the pilot valve. Once you have done this, and you have an electric start, push the button to ignite the pilot light.
If you have a manual start, you will need a match or lighter. Again, turn your main fuel supply to it’s lowest setting or just shut it off. Then slowly open the pilot valve and light the pilot fuel supply with a match or lighter. When you slowly open the pilot valve supply, you will hear gas rushing through the pilot gas system.
A lot of wok burners don’t come with stands to support them. You can use a table or box or whatever you have handy to set you wok burner on you must make sure of two things.
- The support for the wok burner must be stable and robust. The table should not wobble. You do not want your wok burner falling over when you are cooking.
- Your wok burner and wok will be very hot. Be careful that you do not touch either the wok or wok burner until they cool down.
- Keep your children and animals away from the wok burner when you are using it. If either of them goes near the wok burner, it could turn over and cause severe burns or worse. Just be safe.
- Wok burners create such high heat that they cook very quickly. It is essential that you bring all your food out to your wok cooking area. You do not want to run back and forth into your kitchen to get food while the wok burner is running. You could burn the food in your wok if you leave it to get other food from your kitchen.
- Do not put oil in your wok if it has been at a relatively high heat for any length of time. The high heat generated by the wok burner could cause the oil in your pan to flame up and out. Put oil in your wok when it just starts to get warm.
Can You Use a Wok Burner Inside?
Do not use your wok burner inside of your home. Wok burners burn hot and will give off carbon monoxide, so you do not want to use them inside of your home.
If you use your wok burner inside of your home, it could turn over and start a fire. Use wok burners on the outside of your house.
Recommended Wok Burner Stands?
In my research, I discovered that a lot of stands that came with wok burners are flimsy. Some of the legs on these burners were made of metal but very thin-walled which means they were weak. If you use a wooden or glass table to use your wok on, you should consider using a large brick or stepping stone under the wok burner to keep the heat away from the table surface.
What Are The Best Wok Burners for Home Owners?
There are many different types of wok burners on the market. They all work on the same principle. Most all of them use the same kind of fuel (propane gas).
I did a lot of research on wok burners. Some of the burners sit on solid metal tables. Other wok burners are table-top models. Some wok burners even have legs to support them. If you want to build your own wok burner, you can also buy the parts from Amazon.
The wok burner I like the most is the Thunder Group H-205 Fast Stove. Check Amazon for availability and prices. This burner would be perfect for your back lawn or cooking patio, yet big enough for use with catering companies.
- This heavy-duty fast stove is built with a burner that can quickly be adjusted to low and high settings
- It comes complete with a hose and gas nozzle to accommodate meals on the go
- This stove would be a great addition to any busy kitchen or catering company
What Kind of Oil Should I Use in My Wok if I Use a Wok Burner?
With any wok cooking, you should use an oil that has a HIGH SMOKE point. Any of the following oils would be safe to use.
- Refined Coconut oil (smoke point of 450 degrees F)
- Avocado oil (smoke point of 570 degrees F)
- Peanut oil (smoke point of 450 degrees F)
- Sunflower oil (smoke point of 460 degrees F)
- Crisco (smoke point of 490 degrees F)
I would not use flax seed oil to cook with a wok because the smoke point is only around 225 degrees F.
You can get more information on oils to use for woks or carbon steel cookware here. Note that this article on oils pertains mostly to seasoning carbon steel, but also relates to cooking with carbon steel cookware.
What is a BTU? BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. According to Wikipedia – It is a traditional unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Its counterpart in the metric system is the calorie, which is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
How many BTUs are is a wok burner? To stir-fry in a Wok properly, the temperature needs to be able to be hot enough to cook the instant your food hits the pan. Restaurants will have burners that are 20 to 50,000 BTU; some restaurants will even have special Wok burners that are 250,000 BTU.
How many BTUs are in a home gas stove? A home stove has, on average, about 7000 BTUs per burner. Some burners are lower, designed for simmering and low-heat cooking, and may put out 3000 to 5000 BTUs. And there may be one very large burner on a range that goes up to 12,000 BTUs.