Best Wok techniques in your Grillo outdoor kitchen

The sizzle of ingredients hitting a hot wok, the aromatic blend of spices, and the artful toss – wok cooking is an ancient culinary practice that transcends time. Originating in China over two decades ago, the wok has evolved into an indispensable tool in Asian kitchens, enabling chefs to stir-fry, steam, sear, and deep-fry an array of dishes with finesse and theatrics. What if we told you that you can harness the power of a wok in your Grillo Outdoor Kitchen? Let’s delve into the art of wok cooking, and explore techniques that infuse vibrant flavours into your meals.

Can I use a wok in my Grillo kitchen?

Yes you can! In effect, any BBQ with a high heat source is great for wok-style cooking. In your Grillo kitchen, the two most suited barbecues are the Bull gas grill, and the Gusto charcoal grill. Here’s how it works, see pictures below.

  • On the Bull Gas Grill (either Outlaw or Angus), position the wok above the flame tamers for direct heat, much like a stovetop burner. Tip: A wok with a flat base is ideal, as this will sit nice and firm on the BBQ grills.
  • The Gusto charcoal BBQ comes with a dedicated pan holder accessory which enables you to place your wok directly over the hot coals. This works for perfectly for a round based wok.

Wok on the Grillo Gas BBQ Station


Wok on the Grillo Gusto charcoal BBQ

How to enhance your wok BBQ setup:

Using a wok on your BBQ is actually one of the most authentic ways of enjoying Asian cuisines. A stir-fry needs concentrated high heat, and as you constantly toss food through its own vapours, a new flavour develops as the fat and juices hit the hot surfaces of the Wok, and turn into aromatic steam.

Another way to enhance traditional wok and stir fry dishes is to try cooking with the BBQ lid down for parts of your cook. The beauty of doing this on your BBQ is that you not only capture the aromas and flavours from the ingredients themselves, your dish will also be infused by a delicious light smokiness from the BBQ that enriches the depth of flavour. Keeping the lid down also significantly increases the temperature in the BBQ as well, which is exactly what is needed for woks. Just be sure to use a wok that will fit inside the BBQ, and then use heatproof gloves when handling it!

The Anatomy of a BBQ Stir-fry:

Looking for a bit of fresh inspiration to get your stir-fry game on point? We’ve pulled together the basics of how best to utilise a wok on your BBQ.

1. Prepare your Ingredients

Stir-frying is a very quick process. It is important that all of your ingredients are prepped. Vegetables should be cut into uniform size to ensure even cooking, meat should be sliced and marinated and some longer-cooking ingredients should be pre-cooked.

If meat requires extended cooking, this can be pre-cooked or par-cooked on the grill prior to stir-frying. Tough, fibrous or fairly non-porous vegetables may also need to be pre-blanched.

2. Preheat your BBQ

Begin by preheating your Bull Gas Grill or Gusto. Ignite all the burners, or fire up the coals and allow the grill to bask in the heat for approximately 10-15 minutes.

3. Heat your Wok Following ‘Hot Wok, Cold Oil’

Next, heat your dry wok on the preheated grill until it’s ripping hot. Ensuring that the wok is dry helps to optimise the nonstick properties, improving both the speed and ease of the cooking process. In professional Chinese kitchens, chefs will practice lonyau, which involves swirling a generous amount of oil, coating nearly the entire surface of the wok, before dumping this out to the side and adding a smaller amount of oil to begin the stir-fry.

TIP: Opting for a wok with a flat base is preferred as this will nestle atop your grill grates. Furthermore, carbon steel woks reign supreme and offer rapid heating and impeccable heat distribution.

4. Add the Aromatics

After oil, the next thing to add is your aromatics. Typical Chinese aromatics include garlic, ginger and scallions, though they can also include fresh chiles, lemongrass, and herbs. This step can be a good indicator of whether your pan is hot enough. You must hear a sizzle. Your wok needs to talk to you.

5. Add Longer-cooking ingredients

The first ingredients to add are those that will take the longest time to cook. This may include some pre-cooked or par-cooked ingredients.

6. Add the Shorter-Cooking Ingredients

Quick-cooking ingredients could include vegetables like leafy greens, bean sprouts, or snow peas. Cooking these ingredients quickly will preserve its vibrancy and ensure they are still crisp and fresh.

7. Add Sauce

Once the stir fry has been built, it is common to add liquid or sauce to season the mixture.

8. Serve and enjoy!

 The wok’s prowess extends beyond Asian cuisines. You could make fajitas or even simply stir-fry some vegetables as an accompaniment of any stir-fry vegetables.

Other ways to Cook your BBQ Vegetables:

Using a wok is not the only technique that can be used to cook vegetables on your barbecue. Other methods include:

  • Grilling: Elevate flavours by grilling vegetables directly on the BBQ, enhancing them with olive oil and seasonings.
  • Roasting: Encase vegetables in foil pouches for a depth of flavour coupled with a hint of sweetness.
  • Boil: Use a saucepan on the grill to boil vegetables, mirroring your indoor kitchen’s capabilities
  • Kebab: Thread marinated vegetables onto skewers for a delicious BBQ side dish

Other helpful tips from our blog

8 Ways To Gusto
Best Outdoor Kitchens with Pizza Ovens
Gusto Temperature Control