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I have just purchased a GE Cafe gas range. The user guide indicates:

Do not use a wok on the cooking surface if the wok has a round metal ring that is placed over the burner grate to support the wok. This ring acts as a heat trap, which may damage the burner grate and burner head.
Also, it may cause the burner to work improperly. This may cause a carbon monoxide level above that allowed by current standards, resulting in a health hazard.

However, I have read several times on the web that using a round bottom wok with a wok ring yields optimal results when cooking on a gas range.

What do you think?

Source: Use and Care Manual.

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6 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I find it amusing that your range warns you the cooking ring will work as intended. It's supposed to be heat trap, and focus heat on the bottom of the wok.

That said, they are also correct that it may discolor the burner grate. I can't really say what your grates are made from, and many cooking materials discolor at high temperatures. I think the main idea behind this paragraph in your manual is to save them from warranty replacements for discolored grates.

I also find it highly suspect that a wok could damage the burner itself. They are usually ceramic, in direct contact with open flame, and any pan traps heat to some degree. Burners get HOT and have to be able to take it. Although the little decorative cap on the burner might discolor as well.

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Melting of "wok" burners is common when flat bases pans are used. They reflect the heat back. Always follow the manufacturers directions!Useing a wok with a ring on the bottom will most likely damage the cooktop. A good wok on a good burner doesnt need such rings.

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I think you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for whichever piece of equipment is more expensive. They have spent significant time and effort researching and testing how their equipment works.

In addition, knowingly using equipment in a way specifically warned against by the manufacturer will in almost all cases void your warranty.

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True on the warranty comment, but there's a certain expectation of being able to use something for the purpose for which it was purchased. Ultimately, if you are concerned call GE and ask if you can use the stove to cook things. If they say no, return it. –  Scivitri Oct 15 '10 at 21:19
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I have a Heartland Legend range. So far, the best technique I've found is to remove the grate altogether and balance a round-bottom wok directly on the burner.

I've tried wok rings but they have problems:

  1. Not enough oxygen gets to the flame, and

  2. Heat is trapped at the bottom and doesn't flow up the sides.

I'm thinking that a wire wok ring is the way to go. The only one I've been able to find is Joyce Chen's J31-0063 Chrome Steel Wire Wok Ring. I ordered one from Amazon and am waiting to see if it works better.

Does anyone else have experience with wok rings on high-perfomance gas ranges?

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This is a great article on how to modify your stove for a wok, including the use of wok rings. –  Nello Lucchesi Apr 1 '11 at 18:47
    
Here's the evaluation that I posted on Amazon for the Joyce Chen J31-0063 Chrome Steel Wire Wok Ring –  Nello Lucchesi Jun 10 '11 at 19:58
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I have used my wok and wok ring on my indoor gas range several times with no problem. The metal grates that usually cover the eyes are removable, and I always remove the grate on the eye that I use before placing the wok ring around the burner.

Keep in mind, it is preferable to use an outdoor propane burner as you will get the higher heat that is optimal for wok cooking and stir-frying. I use the wok ring on my outdoor burner as well.

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Of course you can. But it is highly recommended to soak your ingredients in looking water for at least a minute or two. Make sure your wok is heated properly. Actually keep it really hot. If you don't have enough cals/min output on your stove or gas pit, just keep the pan on it like for 5 mins at least. If you are using a teflon coated pan you should see the heat haze on the pan which indictates you are good to go. If you have got a burn coated iron pan, you should drop a thin layer of fat and see it sizzle.

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eh? what has soaking ingredients got to do with anything? –  Sam Holder Oct 15 '10 at 7:18
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And what's "looking water?" I can't figure out what that typo was meant to be. –  Ward Oct 15 '10 at 7:44
    
@Ward: Lukewarm? –  Hello71 Oct 17 '10 at 0:06
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