Friday, February 3, 2012

"Wok Complete!"...?

See my new post, in which I discuss the resolution of the seasoning's "flaking" mystery, and other revisions to my wok/cast iron seasoning approach.

Well, I did it. I finally went and seasoned the whole inside of the wok. Well, except where the long handle meets the wok; that part's hard to reach. The seasoning had started to crack and flake in one part, so I tried to scrub it out and just season over the whole thing. Took a while to do, and I smoked up the apartment while I was at it. (Sorry, roommates.) Guess I should probably scrub the outside base and season that, too, as there's a bit of a rust ring where the wok rests on the stove-top... I think it'd probably just get scraped out as I used the wok anyway, though.

I'm not sure why it started cracking, though. At first I thought maybe it was the occasional steaming I'd use my wok for. But I'd done it previously without any problems. Rather, I think what changed in recent uses was that I'd started wiping up the oil more in my cleanup-seasoning, leaving little on the surface between uses. Someone on the web described the process as finishing with no coloring of your paper towel used to swab the oil around the wok. But I think that's wrong [edit: turns out that's just for the very first cleaning of your new wok before seasoning].
[update: hmm, still having flaking issues. I've seen suggestions that people mightn't have gotten off all the industrial wax or coating, but I had no issues for the first year of use, so I'm pretty sure it's not that. Maybe my original seasoning wasn't done in thin enough coats, and it's finally come to a head. Guess I'll have to try giving it a salt rub to start over some time.]

You can see previous stages of the seasoning in past posts here and here. Didn't really know how to do it then, but I know better now, thanks to the flaking. But that's how things go, right? You can learn to do something the right way, and stick to how you've learned it without problems, but it's when you make a mistake and mess things up that you really learn how things work. Just be sure to stay aware of what you're doing and what's going on so that you're able to catch the lesson.

[Can you name the oblique computer game reference I'm riffing on with the title...? #nerdiness]


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  2. If you're serious about developing a good seasoning, first of all be PATIENT. The kind of dark all over quick seasoning you did looks great, but it's not stable—it can, as you found out, flake off. That dark of a wonderful seasoning that does not flake off takes years of frequent use; or use with very high heat (like 25K BTU burners and up (this can be a BIG short cut. I've gotten them stable black in a year).

    SECOND—NO steaming! This is hard and drying on seasoning. Have a dedicated non-stick or stainless wok for steaming. Only use your seasoned carbn steel for stir frying and frying.

    1. Thanks, Todd--those are very helpful comments.
      Did you see my followup post? Basically the same conclusions as you posted here. Things have been going well with the wok, since then.