Best Torch for Sous Vide

In the Sous Vide Equipment Forum
Baldwin's Practical Guide... site has been down for a couple of days, and of course now I can't remember the name of the torch he recommended (started with an "I", japanesish sounding perhaps). My husband bought me a torch from Sur La Table several months ago for creme brulee, etc., before I got my Sous Vide Supreme, but it just doesn't cut it. By the time my husband finished playing with it and "artistically" searing 3 short ribs, we had to refill the thing to finish the other 3 short ribs.
I'd appreciate any information on a better torch. Also, which fuel is best?

3 Replies So Far

I just used a propane torch for the first time to sear some beef tenderloin filets. The results were wonderful. I think they were much better than pan-frying. The results are more uniform, the cut can be uniformly treated on all sides, and there's no oil taste once I was done. Also, the time it took to finish the steaks via torch was about the same as frying with easier clean-up.

I would suggest going to a good hardware store. Mine is a Bernzamatic brand name... Many choices available for any price range. If you have a little money to splurg, I'd suggest looking for the following features:
1) get one with a lighter built in.... very handy
2) get one where the torch is connected to the propane canister by a flexible hose. That means you don't have to hold the propane canister while using the torch. It also means the torch is very easy to manipulate.
3) for sous vide, you need a fairly large flame. Seems like torches that can be used for plumbing put out decent heat for this application in the kitchen.

If you do get a torch with a hose, look for the propane canisters that are fatter and more squat. They sit on your counter very nicely while you use the torch.

And one hint: be careful not to hold the torch tip too close to your meat. This can result in incomplete combustion and may be the reason that some people have reported an off-taste when using a torch.

Good luck.

The torch is Iwatani.

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