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Article

Wok Power

Serious about stir-frying? Make your cooktop work better with a wok.

Fine Cooking Issue 72
Photos: courtesy of the manufacturers
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Stir-frying and other wok cooking can be done on any burner, but to do it well, the pan needs special support and a high-powered flame. Enter the wok burner. Whether you stir-fry occasionally or frequently, there’s a wok burner for you. The most basic setup is a simple wok ring that sits atop a burner, converting the flat surface to one that’s able to cradle a wok. From there, it gets more serious, as you’ll see below.

Good: Wok Grate
Some manufacturers make cooktops and ranges with “integrated” or reversible wok grates. The regular grate that covers your burner inverts to cradle a wok. The advantage is that if you’re prone to losing things, you don’t have to worry about where you put the wok ring: just flip the existing grate over and you’re ready to wok.

A reversible wok grate. This one is made by GE; Fisher-Paykel also offers one.

Better: High-Btu Wok Burner
If you love wok cooking and want the requisite firepower, you can seek out a cooktop that includes a special wok burner. This type of extra-large burner, which can offer as much as 20,000 Btu, can accommodate a wok and also serves as a superhot burner for any wide pan.

This wok burner is made by Wolf; other manufacturers include Thermador, Jade, Gaggenau, and Five-Star.

Best: Separate Wok Unit
If you’re really serious about a wok on the wild side, or if you have an outdoor kitchen, you can go all out and get a drop-in wok burner. This is a separate unit, usually 24 inches wide, with a 27,500 or higher Btu burner (twice as powerful as the highest burner on most pro-style ranges). Prices are in the range of $2,000.

Viking makes this separate wok unit; Thermador and DCS offer them, too.

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