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  #1  
Old 05-02-2011, 12:27 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Searing a steak with a flame-thrower

At the moment, porterhouses, rib-eyes, strips, etc. get thrown into an absurdly hot cast iron for a full-face Maillard reaction. They get finished by quickly throwing them into a pot of boiling water. No, just kidding. I finish them in the microwave.

Ahem.

High crimes and misdemeanours aside, Iím wondering if I can skip the cast-iron stage and get the heavenly Maillard reaction right on the grillóvia a flame-thrower. First, is any difference between the intense heat of the cast iron surface and a direct flame? Is there a time difference--one will give complex flavours while the other gives complex carbonisation? If not, what sort of flame? I have a small, hand torch I use for creme brule. But thatís too small a flame to cover a few steaks in a short amount of time. Also, anyone who ever tried toasting a marshmallow over a butane lighter knows that fuel choice is important. Are there full-sized torches out there for use in both the kitchen and the shop? Would MAPP gas do? Acetylene? I know the Internet has a few resources for homemade thermite, but that mite be overkill. What about a basic propane torch? Our grill is propane, so I assume there shouldnít be flavour-related problems or heat problems on the grillís surface (though for safetyís sake Iíd probably shut off the main supply first to avoid crossing the streams). Or are grill-propane and torch-propane slightly different formulations?

Hungrily yours,

Rhythm
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2011, 12:44 PM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
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I know a lot of professional cooks use a scaled up salamander to sear steaks (as have I done on occasion), which works wonderfully (even though it's slightly unsettling to watch if you have a good imagination).

So yeah, go all firebat on its ass.
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2011, 12:49 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Heston Blumenthal did this with a standing rib roast
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnsgPa2wyGE

I've tried it as well with smaller steaks using my propane torch, but I think using my broiler works a bit better.

And if you're going to roast a marshmallow, cut it in half and flame the inside. There is something about the powdery exterior that doesn't caramelize as well. We did this to make individual s'mores for an appetizer once.
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Old 05-02-2011, 12:53 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Sorry, that link was to someone else repeating the process, here's the original video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2naCE...eature=related
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:06 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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This Thread was just after--

Quote:
How did the Israelis actually go about cremating Adolf Eichmann?
DAAYYYYMMMN!
__________________
"He is an abomination of science that curdles the milk of all honest men!"~~One Dr Chouteh, possibly commenting on Bosda Di'Chi.Or not.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:24 PM
Rhythmdvl Rhythmdvl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emacknight View Post
Heston Blumenthal did this with a standing rib roast
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnsgPa2wyGE

I've tried it as well with smaller steaks using my propane torch, but I think using my broiler works a bit better.

And if you're going to roast a marshmallow, cut it in half and flame the inside. There is something about the powdery exterior that doesn't caramelize as well. We did this to make individual s'mores for an appetizer once.
So a regular propane torch from Lowes will work? (I can't get sound at work, so couldn't hear if there was anything different). What was it that made using the broiler better?

Thanks for the tip on marshmallows!
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:50 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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I have a propane torch that I use on occasion. It's handy to finish things that are oddly shaped and don't easily brown on a flat grill, like a chicken or ribs. It's also great for putting a bit of a crust on bits that maybe don't get as nicely done, like that one part of the roast chicken that didn't quite get the same crisp that the rest of it did.

But as far as putting a crust on a whole steak? Not so good. Takes forever, and you risk getting a bit of the propane taste in the food if you don't watch the flame well and it cools down.

And yeah, I've just got a basic propane torch bought at someplace like Lowe's. No need for the fancy kitchen ones - they're more expensive and don't work as well as the Lowe's ones.
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2011, 01:56 PM
drastic_quench drastic_quench is offline
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It make me wonder if a cow butchered with a lightsaber would yield perfect medium rare ready-to-eat steaks.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2011, 02:08 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
So a regular propane torch from Lowes will work? (I can't get sound at work, so couldn't hear if there was anything different). What was it that made using the broiler better?

Thanks for the tip on marshmallows!
My propane torch is from Lowes, produces a better flame than the little dinky things from cooking stores, which I think are butane.

I like the broiler because it's nice and even, also I can do a bunch of steaks at a time. I can also get the oven nice and hot so the whole steak is cooked in about 10min. The think I don't like is that you can't put spices on the steak because they'll burn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drastic_quench View Post
It make me wonder if a cow butchered with a lightsaber would yield perfect medium rare ready-to-eat steaks.
Sounds good in theory, but beef need to age at least 21 days. Taunaun, however, are ready to go.
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2011, 02:11 PM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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Misread header as: Serving a steak with a flame-thrower

You mean, like, alongside? So the diner can finish it to taste?
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2011, 03:14 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beware of Doug View Post
Misread header as: Serving a steak with a flame-thrower

You mean, like, alongside? So the diner can finish it to taste?
That would be kind of cool. Like combining Korean bbq and fondue. Have a big tray of cubed meat, seafood, and vegetables then a torch going in the middle of the table. Sear and eat. Yum.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2011, 05:17 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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It's easier to switch to charcoal. You can get an extremely hot fire to sear on one side of the grill, then finish at a lower temp on the other side of the grill. Or reverse the process. I haven't tried it that way yet.

I've used propane torches from miniature to the MAPP torch I have for plumbing repairs to brown various things. Basically, the bigger the torch, the faster the browning, over a larger area.

The thermite thing sounds fun though.
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Old 05-02-2011, 06:36 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
It's easier to switch to charcoal. You can get an extremely hot fire to sear on one side of the grill, then finish at a lower temp on the other side of the grill. Or reverse the process. I haven't tried it that way yet.

I've used propane torches from miniature to the MAPP torch I have for plumbing repairs to brown various things. Basically, the bigger the torch, the faster the browning, over a larger area.

The thermite thing sounds fun though.
Alton Brown once used a chimney started to sear a steak by placing it over the steak. He filled it with briquettes and got it stinkin hot. Tapped it a few times to shake off the loose dust, had the steak on a Webber grill, then placed the entire chimney over the porterhouse.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-cjy...eature=related
(skip to 4:37)

The problem with placing a steak over hot coals is that you are always going to jhave uices dripping onto the coal and flaring up. The smoke from the oil is going to leave a nasty soot on the steak.

Honeybaked Ham uses the same torches roofers use to glaze their hams, takes a couple of minutes per ham. http://www.sf-fire.org/Modules/ShowI...x?imageid=1644
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2011, 06:56 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emacknight View Post
That would be kind of cool. Like combining Korean bbq and fondue. Have a big tray of cubed meat, seafood, and vegetables then a torch going in the middle of the table. Sear and eat. Yum.
This already exists...it's called a campfire.
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  #15  
Old 05-02-2011, 07:15 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
This already exists...it's called a campfire.
Na, campfires never work, it's the wrong kind of flame, all you get is burned hunks of char, if you're lucky enough to have it stay on the stick. It's the 21st century, I think we can do better. Which is why I plan to sell a table top version of a commercial salamander. Top-down radiant heat kicks ass.
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2011, 07:22 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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I sous vide my steaks at 131 F for 2 to 3 hours and then finish with a Lowes propane torch. It is very damn good.
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2011, 07:38 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emacknight View Post
That would be kind of cool. Like combining Korean bbq and fondue. Have a big tray of cubed meat, seafood, and vegetables then a torch going in the middle of the table. Sear and eat. Yum.
Actually, in a book published in the early 70s had a really great picture of a table with a small circular BBQ set in the center. More or less like this, but in the pic they showed it was obviously a charcoal grill for cooking.

I really would love one, perfect for grilling 'fondue' style, or the worlds largest pupu platter =)
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  #18  
Old 05-02-2011, 08:19 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
I sous vide my steaks at 131 F for 2 to 3 hours and then finish with a Lowes propane torch. It is very damn good.
You win.
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:21 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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I love the taste of napalm in the morning...
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:22 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Actually, in a book published in the early 70s had a really great picture of a table with a small circular BBQ set in the center. More or less like this, but in the pic they showed it was obviously a charcoal grill for cooking.

I really would love one, perfect for grilling 'fondue' style, or the worlds largest pupu platter =)
Certain Korean restaurants in Toronto had that built into the table
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/37/12...324742cdc5.jpg
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  #21  
Old 05-02-2011, 09:02 PM
tr0psn4j tr0psn4j is offline
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Originally Posted by emacknight View Post
Certain Korean restaurants in Toronto had that built into the table
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/37/12...324742cdc5.jpg
All Korean BBQ places have those.


I should probably say most places have them instead of all places but I've never seen one without a BBQ in the middle of the tables.

Last edited by tr0psn4j; 05-02-2011 at 09:03 PM..
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