Is It Possible To Smoke Food In A Wok?

It's always a great feeling when you find out that there are more uses for your kitchen appliances, gadgets, and utensils than you knew about when you got them. For instance, the ability to make hard-boiled eggs or to reheat leftovers in your air fryer. Have you considered grilling fruit on a panini maker to accompany ice cream for dessert? Chef Alton Brown says that can be done, too.

A wok is another terrific item to have in your kitchen. While it is great for making stir-fries, are there other uses for it to help justify it taking up a lot of your cupboard space? According to Taste of Home, using a wok for cooking has many benefits, such as its ability to conduct heat quickly and efficiently, thanks to how thin the material is used to make the round pan. Another plus is that because woks have flared sides, the steam leaves the wok, allowing the food to cook but not to become soggy. 

While stir-fries may be the main recipe that comes to mind when the word "wok" is said, Consumer Reports calls the wok a versatile tool for the kitchen because it can be used for deep-frying, braising, and steaming food. But can it smoke food, a process that is generally done only in large outdoor smokers?

Easy way to smoke foods

The wok can indeed be used to smoke food, according to Serious Eats. But before you start to prepare that chuck roast, think a little smaller. Serious Eats suggests using the wok for smoking items like cheese, chicken wings, and fish. To smoke food in a wok, all you need is aluminum foil and smoking elements. First, line the wok with foil, then set a rack in the wok that the food will be placed on. Pour some smoking elements on the foil and then place the wok on a burner before covering entirely in foil once the smoke starts to form. Per Serious Eats, the smoke gets trapped inside the foil, and the food gets a smokey flavor. If you have a wok with a lid, make sure there is room for the air to flow between the lid and the food, per Atlas Obscura

Don't feel limited when it comes to the type of smoking elements you use. Eat Cured Meat recommends loose-leaf tea, smoking sawdust, or woodchips. Think fruitwood with tea for fish like salmon or a nutty flavor, and experiment with pistachio shells. The whole process of smoking using a wok takes only minutes, not hours, like using a backyard smoker. In fact, Eat Cured Meats recommends a maximum of 10 minutes for the wok-smoking process. Should the food require more cooking time, simply turn off the burner and allow it to absorb the smoke in the wok before enjoying it.