What is a Grill Wok?

Malcolm Tatum

Sometimes referred to as a roasting wok or vertical roasting wok, the modern day grill wok is a great way to prepare stir-fried dishes on a gas or electric grill. Here are some facts about the construction of the grill wok, how to care for the utensil, and some of the dishes that can be prepared with this type of wok.

Stir-fries are are easily prepared on a grill wok.
Stir-fries are are easily prepared on a grill wok.

The typical grill wok is a large bowl shaped device that is constructed of either steel or aluminum. While some grill woks do not have any coating on the metal, others have a baked porcelain finish. Two handles attached to the sides of the body make it easy to transfer the grill wok from kitchen counter to the heat medium. The body itself is perforated in a fashion that is similar to a colander, which allows for more even heating throughout the bowl. Unlike a colander, the grill wok does not have legs. Instead, the bottom of the wok is flat, like any pot or pan. Thus, the grill wok can set easily on the wire screen that is usually found above the heating source for the grill.

Cauliflower is often featured in stir fry and can be prepared in a grill wok.
Cauliflower is often featured in stir fry and can be prepared in a grill wok.

A vertical grill wok is equipped with a chamber in the center that can be used for holding basting liquids, with the food arranged about the center chamber. The open mouth design still makes it easy to turn and mix the foods contained in the bowl, and the presence of the chamber makes it possible to maintain a consistent temperature for the basting agent. This can be especially helpful if meats are being prepared in the grill wok, as it allows for a quick basting of the exterior of the meats, helping to keep the meat moist during the cooking process. If vegetables are also being prepared along with the meat, the combination of juices from the meat and the basting agent can enhance the flavor of the vegetables.

Grilling or roasting woks are easy to clean. Simple dish soap and water will often keep them in pristine condition. Since the grill wok is dishwasher safe, the utensil can easily be placed in the dishwasher as well. Essentially, the grill wok can be cleaned with the same ease as any stainless steel pot or pan.

Stir-fry meals composed of fresh cut vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snow peas and onions are easily prepared on a grill wok. The addition of boneless strips of chicken or beef can also be added to the stir-fry and cooked to perfection. With the vertical style of the grill wok, a popular recipe in the United States is called Beer Can Chicken. This involves cooking boneless sections of chicken, while using beer to baste the exterior of the pieces. The infusion of the taste of the beer with the juices from the chicken can also be combined with slivers of onion to make a tasty au jus to accompany the chicken, or be the basis for infusing vegetables with additional flavor.

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