As chefs, we are always trying to sharpen our skills, expand our base of knowledge, and fill our bag of tricks to meet any challenge that might present itself in the restaurant. We are always thinking of new ways to improve what we currently cook, new techniques to make our food better, and new dishes to grab the attention of our guests. But not all of this is done in the restaurant, as being a chef and a cook involves way more than actual cooking while at work. Much of this brainstorming and experimentation (at least in my case) is done at home, and our loved ones are subject to our successes and failures. I still love to cook at home, the pace of the restaurant and the grind of a job in the world of hospitality have not changed my love of playing with food…
I purchased a cheap grill wok a while back (maybe 15 dollars or so) and have never looked back. The simple grill “wok” is a perforated metal basket which allows the heat, smoke, and char of a hot grill to get to your small food bits without them falling through the grates. Take, for instance, onions. You want to grill a couple sliced onions for your steak, what do you do before the magic of grill wok? You slice them uniformly, carefully salt and pepper each side and brush with a little oil, artfully arrange them on the grates and are very careful to turn each one and not let them slinky apart into little onion rings which love to fall through to their fiery end. All of this careful tong work, fingertip burning, and inevitable loss of precious onion goodness and what are you left with? I would venture 60-70% of what you started with if you are really good, the rest of your delicious onions are going the way of the coals* below. Onions are cheap, yes, but the eye burning, smelly fingers, and attempt at perfect slices should merit at least a 95% success rate on the grill.
This dream is now a reality with grill wok. Just sliver the onion, no slicing necessary. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and dump haphazardly into the hot wok. Toss, turn, or stir frequently with tongs until your desired level of charred awesomeness is reached. Your family will love you for your abundance of grilled onions, whose uses are endless and versatility unmatched. Many chefs say bacon makes everything better, maybe they have not met grilled onions. Please don’t limit the usefulness of your grill wok to just onion, it is great for fajitas, stir fry, roasted tomatoes, sausage and peppers, meatballs, Brussels sprouts, you name the awkward item that you want grilled, the grill wok will deliver. Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already, and stop grilling in the past… get a grill wok.