How to Season a Carbon-Steel Wok

I recently acquired a carbon-steel wok designed to fit over an outdoor propane burner, like those used for frying turkeys. Obviously, this wok is going to be great for stir-frying in the summer. I also plan on using it for making big batches of breakfast burrito fillings for hunting camp, among other outdoor cooking duties. But first it needed to be seasoned. I spent about 10 minutes scrubbing the thing with steel wool and dish detergent to clean it, then another 15 or so swishing hot oil around it over the burner to get a non-stick surface. Too bad I didn’t watch the video first as it would have sped up the process.

Instead of scrubbing off the factory finish with elbow grease, the chef lets fire do the hard work. Set over high heat for about four minutes, the wok goes from bright steel to dull gray. Then a quick scrub with water, detergent, and steel wool removes any remaining residue. Once the wok is clean and rinsed, the chef adds several ladles of hot oil, then wipes everything down with an oil-soaked rag to create a non-stick finish. In just six minutes, the wok is ready to cook with—which beat my wok-seasoning time by about 20 minutes.