HomeRoast Digest


Topic: What Type of Metal is Good For Roasting Beans? (36 msgs / 1116 lines)
1) From: Lynne
As most of you guys know, I roast my beans stove-top, in a little pot that I
got marked down at T.J. Maxx.  Now, it's made by Caphalon, and while I
probably have already consumed all the toxic, carcinogenic stuff on this in
the two years I've been roasting, it would be nice if I could find a pot for
roasting that's made of a safer material. Also would like something just a
bit larger - but, I'm having a tough time to find a replacement.
My niece sent me her hardly-ever-used cast iron pot. I had great
expectations for this - but (as I wrote in a previous post, some time ago),
I ended up with an array of burnt beans, with some near-green ones scattered
throughout. The cast iron retains way too much heat, so I saved that for
crispy-crusted bread and for the occasional fried chicken cutlet.
Next - saw a wok for a good price at our local discount store (Building 19).
Chose the untreated steel on purpose. Alas - they treat untreated steel with
a coating of plastic. Oh, yummy - (forget the dog food - I have my wok for
my daily dose of plastic!). Well, the instructions said to boil water in it
for 10 minutes to get rid of the plastic coating (why - oh why would they
put that on it?!!) I boiled some for at least an hour...
O.K., it looked fine - I'll try my greens.
Ended up with nother strange melange, but worst of all - I'm not used to the
sloping sides, so I kept getting beans all over my kitchen.
But I'm able to make a great stir fry now (and great for those chicken
cutlets, too)...
(forgot about the little stainless steel pot I got first - no way, too
shiny, just wasn't right. Needed another pot anyway...)
So here's my question - what type of material would make a pot good for
coffee roasting? I would think that this wok-material would be great (sans
the plastic), if only I could find it. Then I noticed the very common
aluminum pans I see in the Latino grocery stores here - well, not sure about
aluminum, but the shape is perfect - curved, but straighter than the wok,(so
I wouldn't have beans all over my kitchen floor).
Any thoughts?
Lynne
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2) From: Lynne
As most of you guys know, I roast my beans stove-top, in a little pot that I
got marked down at T.J. Maxx.  Now, it's made by Caphalon, and while I
probably have already consumed all the toxic, carcinogenic stuff on this in
the two years I've been roasting, it would be nice if I could find a pot for
roasting that's made of a safer material. Also would like something just a
bit larger - but, I'm having a tough time to find a replacement.
My niece sent me her hardly-ever-used cast iron pot. I had great
expectations for this - but (as I wrote in a previous post, some time ago),
I ended up with an array of burnt beans, with some near-green ones scattered
throughout. The cast iron retains way too much heat, so I saved that for
crispy-crusted bread and for the occasional fried chicken cutlet.
Next - saw a wok for a good price at our local discount store (Building 19).
Chose the untreated steel on purpose. Alas - they treat untreated steel with
a coating of plastic. Oh, yummy - (forget the dog food - I have my wok for
my daily dose of plastic!). Well, the instructions said to boil water in it
for 10 minutes to get rid of the plastic coating (why - oh why would they
put that on it?!!) I boiled some for at least an hour...
O.K., it looked fine - I'll try my greens.
Ended up with nother strange melange, but worst of all - I'm not used to the
sloping sides, so I kept getting beans all over my kitchen.
But I'm able to make a great stir fry now (and great for those chicken
cutlets, too)...
(forgot about the little stainless steel pot I got first - no way, too
shiny, just wasn't right. Needed another pot anyway...)
So here's my question - what type of material would make a pot good for
coffee roasting? I would think that this wok-material would be great (sans
the plastic), if only I could find it. Then I noticed the very common
aluminum pans I see in the Latino grocery stores here - well, not sure about
aluminum, but the shape is perfect - curved, but straighter than the wok,(so
I wouldn't have beans all over my kitchen floor).
Any thoughts?
Lynne
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3) From: raymanowen
"what type of material would make a pot good for coffee roasting?"
In one of the local thrift stores I was snooping, I happened to see some
interesting vanity sets with mirrors and lights. Actually, I wanted some
coffee roasting utensils, and as I looked in one of the mirrors it came to
me:
senihcaM daerB - a whole wall full. NIB a few weeks after after Christmas.
(¿Made a Great Gift?)
Cheers, Mabuhay, iechyd da -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
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4) From: Lynne
Ray said:
"bread machine" (in reverse)
Thank you, Ray. I solved your mystery... however, that's not my preferred
method.
~ ~ ~
Hmm - maybe someone can tell me what kind of material is used in their
(various) electric gizmos they use for  roasting? That would be a start...
~ ~ ~
and for you, Ray, I present this OT video:http://www.flixxy.com/voice-talent.htm;>D
Lynne
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5) From: Edward Bourgeois
Lynne I like stainless because it doesn't transfer or hold heat very
well and imho that's a good thing roasting coffee beans. Not the best
for energy conservation but better for getting a nice roast profile.
Being able to adjust temps rather quickly is important in a good
profile. The old Royal and similar drum roasters had little convection
and mostly conduction heating held in a mass of metal  and were
difficult to adjust. A heavy cast iron pan is designed to hold and
store a constant temp.
farm
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:28 AM, Lynne  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
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6) From: Lynne
Ed -
I think the problem with stainless (I gave up trying to roast in the first
alternative pot I bought,
a stainless one) is that it's shiny and smooth. Probably one of the reasons
this current one is
good is that it has been very nicely seasoned. That seems difficult with
stainless. (hence the
name - 'stain' - less.
Finding something like this is quite a project. This type of material (that
makes a good roaster)
would make a lousy cooking pan! Arrgghh!!
Lynne
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 9:36 AM, Edward Bourgeois 
wrote:
<Snip>
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7) From: Mike Chester
Lynne,
I have never pan roasted coffee, but I believe that a plain cheap bare 
aluminum pan should work well.  Aluminum diffuses the heat evenly and it 
heats and cools quickly for maximum control.  It should quickly acquire the 
patina that you want and best of all, they are cheap and readily available.
Mike Chester

8) From: Dave
Calphalon pans are aluminum and are available with and without nonstick
coatings. The color on the ones without coating is dark anodized aluminum
and poses NO danger. I don't roast stovetop but from a scientific viewpoint
I suspect that aluminum is the ideal material, it has a low specific heat,
and a low density, meaning it doesn't take a lot of energy to get it hot,
and it cools fairly quickly, so you have good response to the burner. It
also conducts heat very well so it doesn't develop hot spots. These
qualities also make aluminum great for cooking many things.
Now veering OT... Cast Iron is good for cooking some things because once you
get it hot, it stays that way, and it's thick enough so even with its poor
heat conduction the heat gets spread through the pan. Copper is good because
it holds a fair amount of heat and is very heat conductive, really
eliminating hot spots. Stainless is good because its shiny, that's all it
has going for it, steel doesn't conduct heat well and it develops hot spots.
That's why good stainless pans have aluminum or copper bottoms.
So that calphalon pan works so well because it aluminum, and heavy enough to
spread the heat. I'm not familiar with the pans in the latino markets, but I
suspect many may be too thin to spread the heat.
-- 
Dave
Some days...
It's just not worth chewing through the leather straps
On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 9:28 PM, Lynne  wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From: Mike Koenig
Lynne,
If your old pot is a normal Calphalon (not a non-stick) one, use that
with no worries.  Most Calphalon pots have an anodized aluminum
surface, which is harder and more inert than normal aluminum (it's
mostly aluminum oxide).
Unless you are heating it to near the melting point of the metal (if
you can do this, I want to see your stove!), you don't need to worry
about getting any metal contamination in your coffee.
--mike
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:28 AM, Lynne  wrote:
<Snip>
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10) From: Brummett, Kevin
I have a hand-hammered carbon steel wok that works well with a heat gun.

11) From: Tom Ulmer
I've used cast iron, stainless, and aluminum for roasting. My opinion is
they all will work well but have different considerations when applying
heat. Non-stick coatings are not suitable for roasting coffee.
My experience with wok roasting on a cook top was not good as I found the
heat to be too focused for my desired batch size and the size of the wok I
was using.
I believe the WhirlyPop to be the best for cook top roasting. It has a fixed
lid and stirring mechanism. Beans can be tossed (using an oven mitt opposite
the handle) or stirred easily when roasting. A thermometer can be handily
inserted through a vent for temperature reference. The ones I used were made
of aluminum and were used in conjunction with a cast iron grill to provide a
"softer", more consistent heat source. Sweet Maria's offers aluminum and a
stainless steel version.

12) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
If we're talking pure conduction roasts, i would say cast iron ... 
but really it's about any metal that conducts heat and doesn't have 
hot spots in the construction. IMO pure conduction roasting is not 
ideal, is more difficult to prevent scorching and tipping, and has a 
different (less sweet) roast taste though ... but with skill it works 
out fine. most of the pans mentioned would be fine - copper would be 
pretty amazing too. -Tom
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com
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13) From: Les
In thinking through and observation of all types of roasting, I think that
most of the roast is done through convective heat rather than conductive
heat.  The advantage of the drum roaster is you have a much more stable
platform of controlling the heat in the chamber,  thus allowing the person
roasting to change the profile.  Conductive heat is only going to lead to a
burnt outer bean and an unroasted inner bean.  Of course there is a certain
amount of conduction going on in a drum, but when you realize that the drum
is turning and suspending the beans most of the time in the chamber, it is
the convective heat that is roasting the bean.  With my USRC roaster, I hold
the chamber temperature within a certain range to get a good roast.  I can
vary that temperature by either raising the flame or increasing and
decreasing the air going through the chamber.  I don't know of any roasting
method that does a good job (never could get the sheet pan in the oven to
work real well) that doesn't keep the beans moving.  All of this is to say,
I don't think the metal is as important as keeping the beans moving during
the roast, and having a stable heat chamber.
Les
On 6/12/08, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee 
wrote:
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14) From: Joseph Robertson
Les,
I can't tell you how much it helps all of us to have your roasting comments
and experience on this list. USRC's have taken the guess work or most of it
out of the equation. Between you and miKe with your sweet machines and vast
experience jewels of wisdom do pour freely.
JoeR
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 8:03 AM, Les  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and pallet reform.
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15) From: Lynne
Les said:
All of this is to say,
<Snip>
IMO, you are right - and wrong. Yes - I don't stop stirring for a second -
that's so essential that I tend to *not* mention it (only because I take
this
for granted). But the metal of (my preferred method) of roasting is
important,
maybe just to line up with my style (would never go so far to say that
whatever I prefer would be absolute for everyone - believe me, I *am*unique!)
Instead of using a machine that will computerize the roasting times, I use
my own computer - my instincts and intuition. ;D
The advantage of the drum roaster is you have a much more stable
<Snip>
Well, that's great. But I don't a.) have the money for a drum roaster (and
especially can't plunk down the $$$$ for a USRC!) , b.) have the space
for a drum roaster, or c.) want a drum roaster.
With my USRC roaster, I hold
<Snip>
I do that with the stove knob, and also by taking the pan off the stove.
:P  Low tech, but it works - for me.
So getting back to my question - what material is the drum part of the
USRC is made of?
Lynne
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16) From: Lynne
I'll keep my eye out for discounted copper pots! I'm constantly surprised
what I turn up at yard sales (although, these days, I'm going to keep my
yard sale shopping within walking distance - I can borrow my son's car, but
man, that tank just guzzles the small amt of gas I can afford - and he has a
*Honda!*) I gave up on cast iron - can't get the control I have with my
other pan.
I might (eventually) try the HGDB method - but I hate roasting outdoors. I
don't have the privacy I have in my own kitchen, and that's when I usually
mess up my roasts. The one time I actually tried to show a friend how to
roast - well, I messed that one, too - that interfered with my intuition.
I'm best left alone, late at night or early in the morn, when there's no one
around...
Lynne
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:31 AM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee <
sweetmarias> wrote:
<Snip>
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17) From: Doug Boutell
<Snip>
Stainless
Doug
<Snip>
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18) From: Lynne
Tom -
I believe the WhirlyPop to be the best for cook top roasting.
<Snip>
I started w/a Whirly Pop about 2 yrs ago. It broke after about 2 months of
use.
Wouldn't go back to that - but it taught me the basics. I might say the same
about
stove-top roasting in a pot if I progress to something else someday.
However...
the Whirly-Pop* is* aluminum....
Mike -
If your old pot is a normal Calphalon (not a non-stick) one, use that
<Snip>
Hmm - not sure. I guess it's just a regular Calphalon. I definitely avoid
non-stick
anything, so if there was any material on the pan that said that, I would *
not* have
purchased it.
Unless you are heating it to near the melting point of the metal
There might be some debate in my family about my other pans (ha)... the ones
I had
to toss because I got lost in my thoughts, or on the computer (fortunately,
burning
down the house hasn't accompanied my absent-mindedness. :O)
Dave -
Calphalon pans are aluminum and are available with and without nonstick
<Snip>
O.K. - that's it! It's one of the dark ones. I hope you're right about there
being no danger.
Lord knows I have enough to worry about (here at home, in the world, in the
universe,
yadda, yadda, yadda...)
I don't roast stovetop but from a scientific viewpoint
<Snip>
Doug -
<Snip>
Tried stainless - didn't work for me. Are you suggesting stainless, or
saying that the
drum of the USRC is stainless? Well, it doesn't matter anyway - stainless
just didn't
work for me.
Hmmm - looks like I might get the curved aluminum pot I spotted. I can keep
my great
little $10 Caphalon pot for everyday use - if the large pot works, I've
invested all of (think
it was) $12, and I'll be able to roast a larger amount.
And I am very happy with the addition of the small stainless steel pot, cast
iron pot and
very handy wok (that I'm now using almost daily).
My mom (rest her soul) would have been proud to see no waste in my kitchen,
and, since she
was a die-hard coffee lover, I bet I would have made her smile with my
homeroast results! (and if only
she could have seen my garbage day score yesterday - had my son wheel home
(on our dolly)
a terrific, almost perfect round dining room table that a neighbor around
the corner had tossed
for trash day. Free is even better than a thrift store find!!
Lynne
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19) From: Doug Boutell
Lynne wrote:
<Snip>
The USRC has a stainless drum. Les and mine arrived within  a week of 
each other.
Since then it has been a nice learning curve for both of us. It seems 
that the education
of coffee roasting never ends.
Doug
<Snip>
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20) From: Dean De Crisce
Why not try the oven on a perforated pan. Worked great for me for awhile. Low cost....easy.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

21) From: Lynne
Kevin -
I have to know - where did you get a hand hammered carbon steel wok??
(I should check our google map before I ask that question - you might be
living in Taiwan or Japan,
for all I know!)
Lynne (too lazy right now..)
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 10:23 AM, Brummett, Kevin <
Kevin.Brummett> wrote:
<Snip>
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22) From: Lynne
Hi Dean -
Dean De Crisce said:
<Snip>
Because I really like roasting on the stove. The oven wouldn't give me
enough control - *and* it
would mean yet another learning curve...and more coffee that would have to
be tossed, most
likely.
Lynne
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23) From: Lynne
How true! That's a good part of the fun, isn't it?!
Doug Boutell said:
<Snip>
Lynne
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24) From: Brummett, Kevin
http://www.amazon.com/Handhammered-carbon-steel-pow-wok/dp/B00011UHJM/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ieF8&s=home-garden&qid13290780&sr=8-2

25) From: Mike Chester
I am not Kevin, but The Wok Shop (online) is the best source for woks and 
information about them that I have found.  I bought a cast iron wok from 
them and have been very pleased with it.  The owner of the store wrote me a 
handwritten letter explaining how to properly cure the wok before its use. 
They can be reached at: http://tinyurl.com/k4o6hMike Chester

26) From: Lynne
Mike -
Oh, wow - what a site! Just looked at their hand-hammered wok... and the
cast iron one.. they aren't expensive...
I am so tempted...
I used to have a similar type of 'herb brew pot' that they sell on this
site. Only I never realized that was what I bought!
Before I buy anything, though, I am taking a trip to Boston's Chinatown
(that's where I bought the clay herb brew pot, no longer in my possession),
and see what I might find. There are two big stores there that might have
something interesting.
Mike - I'm curious. Never even heard of a cast iron wok. I love cast iron -
what do you cook in it? Does it have qualities that makes you prefer that to
a carbon steel one?
Lynne
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 1:28 PM, Mike Chester  wrote:
<Snip>
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27) From: Sandy Andina
I'd think that carbon steel (washed to remove any manufacturing  
residue, then "heat-seasoned" to darken it) such as that in a basic  
wok might be dark enough to roast effectively while not being as heavy  
and tiring to use as cast iron.
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
On Jun 12, 2008, at 8:42 AM, Lynne wrote:
<Snip>
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28) From: Sandy Andina
Though carbon steel is thin and gets hot spots, it's pretty good if  
your style of roasting is shake-and-stir--and a long-handled wok is  
cheaper, easier and safer to grip and sturdier than one of those hand- 
crank stovetop poppers.
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
On Jun 12, 2008, at 9:17 AM, Dave wrote:
<Snip>
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29) From: Lynne
Well, the material is good, but I need something with the sides a bit
straighter - or I end up with beans all over the floor (and me shouting at
poor Emma, who is only doing her job of trying to clean up everything toxic,
lol).
The pot I have is great - oh, I just discovered it's not a Caphalon, but a
Tramontina, which, after googling it, seems to be a good, less expensive
version of Caphalon. I would like to be able to roast larger quantities
sometimes, though. Right now, I can do about 9 ounces, max - and it's really
better to use less.
Lynne
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 2:20 PM, Sandy Andina  wrote:
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30) From: Les
 Lynne,
To answer your question:  Stainless steel.  To answer your implied
question:  After over 20 years of homeroasting using many other methods, I
count myself blessed to have been able to splurge and indulge my hobby with
a USRC roaster.  I hope I have not disparaged anyone else's roasting
method.  I still use my Behmor, I enjoy roasting in an Androck over the fire
when camping (thanks Pecan Jim!), and I still have a popper.  I really like
the HG/DG method, and I think that what ever method you use, can produce
good tasting coffee if you practice and learn how the roast progresses.  I
do like my roaster, but without learning from other methods, I wouldn't
appreciate it like I do.
Les
On 6/12/08, Lynne  wrote:
<Snip>
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31) From: raymanowen
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 7:21 AM, Lynne  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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32) From: raymanowen
Oh, this pushing of the rong button gets old-
Seriously, my gizmo for roasting will initially be powered by propane flames
and a hand crank. The normal weakfish burner will be augmented by a weed
burner torch until I get the gas heat under control. Gas isn't as precise or
rapid as the HG/BM changes can be.
I was going to end mount a stainless steel drum on a bayonet drive using a
bicycle frame with derailleurs and stepped sprockets for drum speed control.
RLK's stainless drum with most other pieces made of steel.
The beans probably get as hot as the air that heats them and the drum. The
fast dump is still to be worked out. Don't want to wreck the drum design, as
much as I don't want That Pattern on my forearms. It's sad when you need
aloe vera gel as a roasting ingredient. (The burn never happened when you
apply a-v gel from the jar in the fridge.)
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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33) From: Linda Ferguson
Not sure what to tell  you I've been using  cast iron  skillet or dutch
ovens for all of my roasting from day one. As long as I stay on top of
things and keep the beans moving I don't have any problems. Only problem I
have now is finding some $$ to buy more greens. 
Linda in Lakeside
dasofergie
Roasting in a Cast Iron Skillet
Stitching on a Treadle

34) From: Dean De Crisce
Yes I hear that lynne...i tried twice on the stove top using a nonstick wok. The beans got scortched and I went back to the stove (which controlled the smoke too)...just didn't have the knack (sp?) for it I guess.
However yesterday was reading about the ethiopian coffee ceremony and was fascinated by the roast-grind-brew all in one setting. I wanted to do it....so I took a super cheap aluminum open cup type ibrik...washed the beans in water...put enough to make a full french press in the ibrik...fired up the stove top and shook away. It took about 12 min and went to the begining of second crack and stopped. Put the whole ibrik in the freezer for a minute ...ground and brewed a nice yirg at full city. It was nice...and I'd do it again.
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo phone.

35) From: Lynne
Les -
Well, if I was ever able to have a splurge like that, I would certainly
enjoy it.
Although - knowing me - I might not. My past experiences with machines tend
to remind me of that old Twilight Zone episode where all the household
appliances
came to life - and took over the house. I have moments when I think that's
actually
happening with me... plus there is the added possibility of more injury. (my
now
young-adult kids tend to add, "don't hurt yourself," to their conversations,
much
as I would have told them when they were children
Lynne
(who has learned to know her limits..)
On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM, Les  wrote:
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36) From: Jim Gundlach
Wok roasting required a wok that has metal as thick as a nickel at  
least.  It also requires constant stirring. I have has success over  
wood fires and a large gas burner.  I think electric heat would create  
hot spots.
       pecan jim
      p.s. Just  back from the land of floods.  We loaded the truck,  
which was too small so we had to add a trailer, on Wednesday and I  
drove them about 1400 miles over the last two days.
On Jun 12, 2008, at 8:42 PM, Dean De Crisce wrote:
<Snip>
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