Those that love to cook stir-fry know the importance of using a wok to create an evenly cooked, well prepared dish. There are several accessories designed to help prepare food in a traditional wok.
What is a wok burner
A wok burner is a high pressure cooking device that is mainly used for woks but can be used for other cooking methods. In essence, it is a type of gas stove designed specifically for woks.
The wok burner is portable and is meant to be used outdoors in your outdoor kitchen or in your backyard bbq and grill area.
It is powered by LPG (propane) gas and produces a high amount of heat in a very short amount of time.
The device itself is quite heavy. It consists of a medium-sized pyron or cast iron metal bowl with a connecting arm. Brass fittings connect a rubber hose to the arm of the wok burner on one side and a propane gas tank on the other.
Underneath the arm of the wok burner sits a shaft that connects to the main valve and delivers propane gas along the shaft to the wok burner itself. There is also a washer that controls the air and fuel mixture.
While the main valve on the burner regulates the amount of propane delivered into the wok burner, the high-pressure regulator on the propane tank regulates the pressure.
Wok burners come with manual or automatic ignition.
Manual ignition comes with a pilot light which you light with regular lighter. The automatic ignition, which sits at the end of the wok burner arm, creates a spark at the lower entrance of the pyron bowl where the arm connects to the bowl, simply by turning the knob.
The bowl of the wok burner serves as protection that prevents anyone from getting burned by the scorching flames that race up the sides of the wok placed inside it. The top of the protector bowl has elevated rectangular sections that both hold the wok in place but also allow some of the flames to escape.
It is essential to set up your wok burner the right way to ensure safe usage. I cover this in my other post “how to use and set up wok burner”
What is a wok burner used for
A wok burner is used to rapidly heat up a wok before and during cooking. This is especially important with stir fry dishes, which means that wok burners are an essential tool for getting the best taste out of your stir fry dish.
Also, anything that would traditionally be prepared in a wok will benefit from a wok burner.
A wok and a wok burner work hand in hand to distribute heat and create wok hei (when it is needed).
Wok burners are designed to distribute heat rapidly onto a wok. This ensures that the food is stir-fried evenly and is finished at the same time.
It is also designed to hug the bowl of the wok and distribute high amounts of heat around the wok in a short amount of time to ensure that all the food inside the wok is heated at the same time with the same amount of intensity.
Do you need a special burner for a wok
Yes. Due to the shape of the wok, a standard burner may not help distribute the heat as evenly.
You could also use a wok ring over the highest BTU ring on a gas stove, but, a wok burner holds many benefits, such as being portable and ideal for various types of cooking methods, and, is most important, for proper heat distribution during cooking.
What kind of burner do you need for a wok
Following are the characteristic of a wok burner you should look for when getting one.
|What kind of burner do you need for a wok||I recomend this one!|
|Power||100000 BTU (30KW, 105 MJ)|
|Burner||Regular or Jet (duck nozzle)|
|High pressure regulator||0-60 PSI (0-4 bar)|
|Weight||211 oz (6 kg)|
|Size||Bowl diameter 13,3 inch (340 mm)|
|Size||Bowl hight 7 inch (180 mm)|
Cooking with wok burner requires a whole series of equipment and it can be difficult to do the research to figure out exactly what to buy depending upon your budget. I’ve created a complete guide to exactly which equipment you should get depending on what your budget is. Best wok burner – Here it is!
The key is that the burner must be powerful enough to produce the kind of heat required to properly cook the food. Most burners are designed to produce heat ranging between 14 and 35 KW. I personally use a 30KW wok burner.
In my opinion, this is far more heat than is required. The wok burner itself doesn’t produce this much power. The essential element for flame adjustment and getting the most out of wok burner is the high pressure regulator on a propane tank.
The flames distributed by a wok burner are conical and centered. This means that wok burners are ideal for round and flat bottom woks.
The burner needs to be very sturdy and should preferably have an iron bowl.
Another important aspect is the burner bowl. As woks come in different sizes, so do the diameters of the burner bowls. You want to make sure that the burner you select has a large enough bowl to accommodate the wok that you will be using.
For example, if you are using a larger wok such as a 16-inch wok, then a burner with a smaller bowl, let’s say 11.6-inches, will not be able to accommodate the wok.
Most home cooks prepare food in a 14-inch wok. Therefore, the ideal burner should have a bowl that is 14-inches in diameter or larger.
I would also recommend burners that have a built-in protective shield. This is ideal as it protects the user from the flames if the burner is set on high.
In addition, keep in mind that the burner does produce a substantial amount of heat both at the top and at the bottom. You could place the wok burner on material that is heat resistant.
Alternatively, the better choice would be to place the burner on a stand. This will elevate the burner, allowing air to circulate through the space below it, preventing it from burning the surface it is placed on.
There are two types of ignition on burners: automatic and manual. Consider automatic ignition as it is much safer. You simply have to turn a knob in order to ignite a spark. With manual burners you must first turn the gas on and then light the burner with a matchstick or a lighter.
The difference between a wok burner for home use vs a professional commercial wok burner
Commercial wok burners are designed for commercial use, as the name suggests, while home wok burners are designed for home use.
This means that commercial wok burners are placed under a lot more stress in order to perform for longer periods at a time. These burners can also cook much hotter and much faster. For the most part, commercial wok burners have larger bowl sizes to accommodate larger woks.
This is due to the fact that much more food needs to be prepared over the course of several hours as opposed to home-use wok burners that are only in use for an hour at most at any given time.
Is it worth having a wok burner
If you are wondering: is a wok burner necessary? The answer is a resounding yes!
The first and most important reason is that if you enjoy cooking with a wok, then this is an investment that will always yield a return. You want your food to cook evenly throughout, quickly, and effortlessly.
Because wok burner produces a substantial amount of heat it is necessary to have one when making stir fry dishes.
When it comes to cooking on regular gas burners, you will find that the heat is not high enough, and it becomes very hard to stir fry for more than one person at a time due to this. In fact, using regular gas burners means that all the heat is centralized at the bottom of the wok and this is where it stays.
Wok burners are worth every peny because you can get restaurant style stir fry dishes at home.
Wok burners can be used for normal cooking; for example, apart from making stir-fries like a professional chef, you can also make other dishes such as stews, soups, deep frying, burgers, etc. I cover this in my other post in more detail.
These burners are also ideal if you have to cook large quantities of food for the family. You could easily cook for a family of five in a 16-inch wok on a wok burner without ingredients getting soggy and mushy.
In addition, most other pots can also be used on a wok burner. This makes it ideal while having a picnic or you could include it in your outdoor kitchen.
Another great reason to invest in a wok burner is that it is ideal for food that releases a lot of moisture. This means that food fries in the wok instead of cooking in its own juices.
The wok burner is a great investment if you are someone that loves cooking for a large family, enjoys cooking food in general, loves the outdoors and traveling, or simply someone that enjoys a good stir-fry.
This is the type of investment that will save time and money, has an excellent resale value, and keeps delivering high-quality, well-cooked food.