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What is a good technique for initially seasoning a wok, keeping it seasoned, and preventing rust?

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Dunno if it's a language barrier but I don't get how seasoning can be connected to the rust issue? –  cyberzed Jul 9 '10 at 19:43
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Perhaps edit the question title - How to prepare and care for a wok –  Jacob R Jul 9 '10 at 19:47
    
@jacob, Good point. Much clearer. –  statenjason Jul 9 '10 at 19:56
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@cyberzed -- "seasoning" a pan refers to a treatment where you create a coating on steel or cast iron through oil and heat. See : wikihow.com/Season-Cast-Iron-Cookware –  Joe Jul 10 '10 at 15:03
    
@Joe thank you, just never heard the term in that way :) –  cyberzed Jul 11 '10 at 6:34
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4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Make sure to seriously wash the wok before initial use. Scrub it with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly.

After drying, place the wok over the stove on high heat until it starts to smoke. Rotate the pan so that all parts of the inside are exposed to high heat. Then rub the wok with oil on a paper towel.

After this, try not to scrub the wok. A rinse and rub down are usually all that is needed to clean it up. Always rub the wok with a little bit of vegetable oil after washing/drying. That will help to prevent rust.

And the most important factor of seasoning a wok is to use it. It's definiteily my most used kitchen item, and it's just getting better and better with each use!

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I've heard using peanut oil instead of vegetable oil can be good because of its higher smoke point. Have you always used vegetable? –  statenjason Jul 9 '10 at 20:11
    
I think it depends on what I am cooking. Either should work just as well for seasoning the wok, though. –  Jacob R Jul 9 '10 at 20:31
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Also, avoid soap when cleaning after you've seasoned the pan -- it can ruin the seasoning, as can strong acids (or weak acids over long periods of time). –  Joe Jul 10 '10 at 15:06
    
@statenjason Generally, you want to use an oil that'll take the heat of cooking pretty readily. Peanut is good, so is tea and grape-seed oil if you need to cook for the peanut-sensitive. –  sysadmin1138 Jul 20 '10 at 1:13
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if you find you have things stuck to the inside of the wok that you might be tempted to try and scrub off, you can instead flip the wok upside down over the flame and allow the deposits to be burnt off. Once they have been burnt for a while the ash should come off easily with a wipe (don't forget to let the wok cool first!) and this helps avoid the scratching and keeps the wok seasoned

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Thanks for this answer, I am having a devil of a time keeping things from sticking to my wok. –  Varuuknahl Sep 22 '10 at 16:22
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Good guide to seasoning a wok.

The wok may be seasoned like any cast-iron pan, by brushing the surface with cooking oil and baking in a moderate oven for an hour. However, because of its shape and center of gravity, oil tends to flow down and gather in the center, resulting in an unevenly seasoned surface. For this reason, I prefer to do the seasoning over a burner on top of the stove.

Probably the best fat to use is lard – traditionally when you bought a wok you were given a piece of pig fat to season it. I have also used peanut oil. Polyunsaturated oils are not recommended as they can make the wok very "gunky." When using lard you can carefully brush the lard directly on the wok, all over the surface. Palm oil also works well.

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To season my stainless steal wok I used pork fat. First wash the wok thoroughly and place on burner to dry. Cool the wok. Cover interior of wok with pork fat. Remove battery from your smoke detector if you don't have a range hood.
Heat wok directly on flame, rotating to get all areas of the pan smoking hot. Add chives and push them around the pan. Cool wok, wipe with paper towel, and oil the interior of pan (I used sesame oil).

If you have to wash bits of food off the wok, a teaspoon (or half tsp of each to clarify) of oil and coarse salt work well. Each time I wet the wok I heat it over the burner to completely dry it out.

It took a few days of consistant use for my wok to become nonstick, I varied my seasoning approach... cooking bacon in the wok, then smoking up the pan after I finished using it, smoking up the pan with sesame oil and garlic, as well as repeating the pork and chives method.

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