We made kung pao beef again tonight. This time instead of cooking over the propane burner of my turkey fryer, I used the coals in our fireplace.

We had a good fire going most of the evening… when it had burned down and was largely a big pile of coals, I just stuck the wok right on them.

Here's our recipe (not authentic, but damn tasty):

1/2 pounds steak
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 egg white
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tbl spoon Jack Daniels

2 tablespoons peanut oil
10-20 cloves of garlic whole

1/3 cup skinless roasted peanuts
1 small yellow onion sliced
1 scallion sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 red bell pepper sliced
1 cup of mushrooms quartered

Mix the Jack (I was out of Dry Sherry, and I thought JD would make a better substitute. It did.) & cornstarch to make a paste, stir in the egg white and then throw in the beef. Stir until everything is coated.

Get wok screamin' hot. Pour in oil, and throw the cloves of garlic in. Chase them around the wok until they start brown (1 min or so.) Throw in the beef, cook for a bit, then throw in the onions, then the peanuts. Once the beef is mostly browned throw in the rest. Cook for another minute or two, then pour in the sauce.


1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Jack Daniels
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Cook about a minute, until the sauce begins to boil, then serve on a big pile of rice.

Cooking in the fireplace is excellent. Last year we just setup a small charcoal grill in the fireplace. This year we started cooking steaks over the coals of a wood fire. This was the first we tried using a wok over a fire, and it's awesome. No spatter, no smoke, and most importantly, the wok actually gets hot enough. We're using a big, cheap carbon steel wok we picked up at a resturant supply store.

Only drawback: The cook gets damn hot from the fire. My “boys” were practically soft boiled.