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Best Outdoor Wok Burner: Take the Smoke Outside

Gerard Paul
July 21st, 2020

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In my opinion, the best outdoor wok burner is the King Kooker Portable Outdoor Cooker.

Wok cooking is always a great time. Like most people, I most often stir-fry in my wok, although it lends itself to many types of dishes since it's so deep.

One issue? I tend to dump tons of heat and smoke into my kitchen – especially annoying in the summer. In this guide, I'll help you take it outside – let's look at the best outdoor wok burners that may just change your dining experience. 

Top Outdoor Wok Burners Reviewed

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Wok Burner

To face the challenge of choosing the best outdoor wok burner, check out these factors when deciding on a model:

Heat Output

Many Asian cuisine and wok techniques require high-temperatures and even heat distribution to cook in their juices.

So step one? Ensure you go for a wok burner that has a high heat output. On average, look for something claiming at least 40,000 BTUs. This will ensure you cook at a good pace, and give you that crispiness you want from some of your wok dishes.

Accessories

Want to save some steps? Go for an outdoor wok that comes with accessories, like a spatula, spoon, and thermometer – and even a form fitting wok.

These offer excellent value for money since they're essential for ultimate wok-cooking. A lack of accessories isn't a deal-breaker, though, especially if you find your dream burner.

Height and Size

A unit that's too tall or too short can make cooking unwieldy – or even dangerous. It can easily lead to a spill.

Wok cooking should be a fun experience; therefore, go for a burner on legs that're at least 12" high. With this height, you maintain stability, increase cooking comfort, and leave your wok excellent airflow.

For overall size, choose an outdoor wok burner that's compact and lightweight, as this will make it easy to store away when you're done and carry around when setting up.

Fuel Source

There are three types of fuel sources for wok burners: 

  • Propane.
  • Liquid fuel.
  • Butane. 

Propane tank wok burners are the most popular, as they're easy to light and burn clean. Besides, propane is more accessible and affordable compared to other fuel sources.

Portability

How portable a burner depends on how easily you can detach the legs, its weight, and ease of setup. However, the final choice on the portability of your wok burner depends on its use. If you want to travel with the burner, definitely choose one that's light.

Lots of flame in a wok on an open burner with noodles

Benefits of Using an Outdoor Wok Burner

The benefits of using an outdoor wok burner are:

  • High cooking temperatures (and keeping that heat outside!).
  • No smoke indoors.
  • Safer to use.

Let's look at each in turn.

High Cooking Temperatures

The primary purpose of a wok burner is to produce high cooking temperatures for ultra-quick searing and stir-frying. Compared to a typical stove, heat from a wok burner is more effective. An outdoor unit can attain screaming temperatures within a matter of minutes, and still withstand the heat of your outdoor kitchen.

No Smoke Indoors

Since you can only use this wok outdoors, expect no smoke or oil splatter in your kitchen. You also get to experience nature differently while cooking in your backyard.

Safer to Use

Well-designed wok burners are safe to use. They're much larger and come with giant woks with gently flared edges compared to a typical pan. Since they're form built for a wok, they're safer than using a wok burner inside, and it's harder to knock them over when cooking.

How to Cook on an Outdoor Wok Burner

Like any kitchen appliance, it's important to learn how to operate an outdoor wok burner. Here are several principles you need to follow when using a wok.

First, ensure you don't overcrowd the outdoor wok burner. Putting too much food into the wok may cause it not to cook evenly. Instead, try splitting the food into smaller portions that you can serve immediately once cooking is complete. You can also purchase a larger wok to help.

When using the wok outdoors, try sheltering the burner from the wind. This ensures that the flame doesn't go out while lighting the burner.

Most wok burners require the use of a little oil. Go for peanut oil instead of vegetable oil, as it's a better oil choice. Also, never use extra virgin olive oil, as it's perfect for cold meals but not so much for a wok because of its low smoke point.

Review of the Four Top Outdoor Wok Burners

King Kooker Portable Outdoor Cooker

When it comes to size, power, and additional accessories, the King Kooker tops the list. This outdoor unit has a height of 24" with a 54,000 BTU burner. The burner has a 3" width that generates a concentrated flame and provides excellent heat for your Asian and stir-fry dishes. 

The included wok has a width of 18" and a thickness of 1.8 mm, enabling it to withstand high temperatures and cook sizable amounts of food. The whole unit weighs 16.4 pounds, making it lightweight and portable.

This burner also comes with a wooden spoon, a wok, a wooden spatula, and a recipe book to help you start cooking right away. 

The wok has a protective resin coating to keep it from rusting, making it ideal for camping and hiking. It also comes with a flame-protective wind guard and a wok ring. The wind guard protects the flame from the wind while the wok ring holds the wok in place while cooking.

Pros:

  • Excellent heat output.
  • Several accessories and a recipe book included.
  • Includes a wok.
  • Portable.
  • Excellent support and stability.

Cons:

  • Some users note its short legs can make the cooker uncomfortable to use if you're taller.

Eastman Outdoors 90411 Burner

If you're looking for an outdoor wok to add to your camping gear, the Eastman Outdoors 90411 burner should be near the top of your list.

This outdoor unit has a heat output of 65,000 BTUs, allowing for a cleaner, hotter, and efficient flame, although some other models do get hotter.

It also comes with legs you can easily adjust, allowing heights between 18" and 26". This adjustability enables the burner to handle large pots, woks, smaller pots, and even skillets. Note that the legs come with plastic knobs to make them easy to lock and release while adjusting the height. 

This burner comes with a hose and adjustable propane regulator that ensures the gas's flow and pressure are safe.

Pros:

  • Adjustable legs.
  • 65,000 BTUs.
  • Portable.

Cons:

  • No accessories included.
  • Users find this burner to be slightly expensive compared to some options.

Bayou Classic KAB4 Cooker

If you're looking for an affordable wok burner, then the Bayou Classic KAB4 is an excellent choice.

It also comes with excellent features, which improve your cooking experience. One such standout feature is its cast iron burner, which can produce a whopping 210,000 BTUs—a massive amount of heat for any dish! It also includes a spring and air shutter that allows you to control the flow and pressure for customized heating.

With the flame control, you can regulate the heat depending on the food you're cooking. It also has a 12.5-welded steel frame, which provides all-around protection from the wind while using it outdoors.

Pros:

  • Extremely high heat output.
  • Large cooking area.
  • Excellent flame control.

Cons:

  • Doesn't come with accessories.

Gas One B-3600H Outdoor Burner

The first thing to note with the Gas One B-3600H outdoor burner is its high heat output of up to 200,000 BTUs, providing excellent cooking power. This combines well with its painted coating to withstand high heat and prevent rusting.

Another notable feature is its heavy-duty design, making it perfect for various other cooking activities such as beer brewing, turkey frying, general outdoor cooking, and steak cooking. 

I also like the height-adjustable and removable legs, making this burner portable and excellent for outdoor use and traveling. It also comes with an easily adjustable heat-resistant steel-braided hose, enabling you to regulate the flow of gas easily.

Pros:

  • Sturdy construction.
  • High heat output.
  • Versatile.

Cons:

  • Compared to some other options, this burner is on the pricier side.
  • No accessories included

Heated Competition: The Conclusion

In my opinion, the best outdoor wok burner for most users is the King Kooker Portable Outdoor Cooker. If you're looking for a wok burner to make your camping cuisine stand out, it should do the trick.

It may not have the highest heat output from the review, but it comes with features that improve your cooking experience. It's particularly portable and easy to manage, so you can take it with you to cook. It also comes with several accessories, which save you a lot of time putting together a set.

Gerard Paul
Prolific eater and founder of ManyEats.

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