Wok seasoning: What am I doing wrong?

renoincaliOctober 10, 2006

In attempting to season my 14" carbon steel Typhoon wok, I am not getting the expected results during the process (no black residue apparent on my oiled rag). Should this always occur and why am I not seeing it? Here are my steps after initial washing with hot soapy water:

1)took off the wood handles and placed wok into a 450 deg oven for 30 min.

2) Poured veg oil in and rubbed interior with rag

3)Put back into 450deg oven and repeated #2.

Did this 4-5 times with no residue coming off.The interior is starting to turn golden brown, but I see no signs of the black by-product coming off. Am I doing anything wrong?

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What black by product???
I just wiped my wok with oil and put it on a low flame....cooled ti and repeated the process and then just used it.
Don't understand what residue you are expecting.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:04PM
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I googled 3-4 wok seasoning regimens and they all mention this black residue that will appear on your towel as you wipe the oil from the wok. Some say to continue the process until you no longer show the residue on your towel.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wok seasoning

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:34PM
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Probably they are creating some sort of a carbonized something or other ( a highly scientific term!!) by putting the wok on high heat and then rubbing it with oil....
I don't do that....I just wipe with oil and heat gently...cool wipe and repeat.
Seasoning a wok or a cast iron skillet isn't rocket science, my great grandmother who had a 4th grade education did it with ease....don't over think the process.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:00AM
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Was your wok lacquered? Mine was and I think the coating(yellow-orange color) is still rubbing off after all of these cycles thru the oven/oil!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:30AM
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I have a $10 round 16" hand-hammered carbon steel wok from a local Chinese grocery.

I seasoned this wok on a 22k gas burner on "high." Used pork fat & chinese onions, one of the "recipes" from "The Breath of a Wok." I definitely had black residue to wipe off & repeated this several times. I use it a lot and the whole thing is now shiny black.

If you think about it, the black is from burning. You have to use high heat to get that black burn -- esp in just a few minutes. The wok starts out partially black/brown and gets darker with use. This "use" is how the wok really becomes and stays seasoned.

Woks are different from other pans we like to see "seasoned" in that they are generally used on high heat. When this wok was new I could "see" the markings underneath where the flames licked up the sides. Inside, the black was strongest in the center initially, growing with use until the entire wok was black & slick.

Flat bottomed woks on electric stovetops behave differently but it's the same general idea.

That's my experience!

Here is a link that might be useful: Wok Shop seasoning

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 11:52AM
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I have yet to see the black residue, even after placing it on my Induction cooktop on Boost/3600watts. The cooktop did turn the interior bottom black, but rubbing with an oiled towel did not cause it to release. With the repeated trips from a 500deg oven/oil wipe/cooldown/cooktop boost, my wok is now black at the bottom and reddish-brown on the sides. Is there a chance the lacquer could still be present or am I on the right path?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:19PM
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My wok ( another cheapie from the Chinese store) came coated with some sort of oil. I washed it off, dried the wok over the gas and poured oil into it, wiped it over all surfaces and heated it on low for a few minutes...wiped again with oil and proceeded to stir fry some chicken.
It could be you didn't have any coating on your wok.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 3:04PM
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When you initially washed(scrubbed)it you should have removed any non rust coating.

Now when you used your wok on high and it turned black it is seasoned, it was probably fine doing the oven thing.

Just keep using it and it will get better over time. Woks need to be used, a old wok is a treasure.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 2:44PM
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renoincali, I think you're definitely on your way!

I'm with Gary. Use your wok often to get it going and you'll be well on your way.

Your wok won't turn dark overnight, this will happen with use. As I mentioned earlier, my wok started out just dark in the middle like yours, heat marks on the outside, but the darkness grew with use until the entire wok was dark, inside & out.

I find I need more oil with a new wok, less over time. Also, watch out for foods that might accidentally cut into your newly developing patina (acids). I was horrified to see some foods start to "clean" my wok while it was still darkening. I used the wok a lot (up to 3x/day) and now I can throw all kinds of things in without concern.

I think the main reason I had residue to wipe out was that I seasoned with those tough Chinese scallions in addition to fat, and the onions burned black during the process.

I put all kinds of things in my wok so it stays in use even when we're not in an Asian frame of mind. This is a good tip while coaxing a new wok into becoming an old friend. Use it for everything you can think of for a while!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 3:24PM
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My concern (after not seeing the residue i expected) was that the lacquer remained and had become fused to the steel, especially with this brown/gold/reddish patina the sides have developed. I will post a picture for review. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 5:01PM
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Well here's what it looks like:

    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 6:55PM
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Some Typhoon woks come pre-seasoned. At this point (referring to your 16 Oct image), I think I would call the company.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:37PM
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