Cooking gurus that I am reading criticize the flavor of propane and butane fueled torches, likely for the mercaptan oderant added.
Are there recommendations of power of an electric torch / hot air gun?
1500 Watts is 5,000 BTU/hour.
Edited to add: Just now in conversation with my Son in Law professional chef (ex-Sous Chef for Peter Merriman at Maui). He says Searzall sucks and has offered his Searzall to me.
Meanwhile I can find no recommendation pro or con of an 1500 Watt electric torch / hot air gun.
Hi Douglas, for this cook’s 2-cents worth heated air wafting over the meat wouldn’t be comparable to a broad flame or a hot surface contact. You might get some browning with a hot air gun, and a tired arm too.
Did SiL give you reasons for his results with Searzall?
Many pros use butane torches.
He did not give a reason. He did say (I think it was) black iron pan as hot as it will get.
If one has ever smelled Thiol sulfur-hydrogen called mercaptan and smelling of pure rotten eggs or garlic, then aversion to that taint in food might be obvious.
The only reason a flame looks like a flame is for glowing incandescent carbon particles not present in air.
On the topic of the ‘flame’ appearance of hot gases, a training demonstration of the effects of a power plant steam leak has a 2 inch diameter valve opened in a 600 PSI steam header pipe. It looks like a six feet long pale blue flame of superheated steam, that does not condense to saturated steam until it collects in the overhead of the building.
One advantage restaurants and a few homes have is an exhaust fan to discharge the smoke generated when searing in a cast iron pan. I use a single burner propane stove outside for my sear with a cast iron pan. I also have a tiny Green Egg clone that does a great job. It is a bother for just searing so I use it when I have other things in addition to the meat to grill.
I have often thought of a custom range hood, but shudder at the expense.
My home is very non-standard, being homemade by an old seaman and his sons. Sorry about the rotation, the seas are not that rough. When we were moving in I found his AB Seaman Card dated when he was seventeen years old.
Reviewing the literature I see Maillard Reaction proceeds rapidly from around 140 to 165 °C (280 to 330 °F).
So now the question is of the function of the excess heat energy beyond that necessary to get the surface to 300ºF. I am pretty sure that it is to dry the surface to prevent the cooling effect of steaming away the moisture. Temperatures cannot exceed 212ºF in the presence of liquid water.
I found Herve This’ book Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor at ScribD. In it, among many other things, he explains that water judiciously added to a meringue increases the volume many fold, to liters of egg white foam.
Check it out: Molecular Gastronomy by Hervé This - Ebook | Scribd
I found a YT video of a TV-chef demonstrating searing with an electric hot air gun of similar specifications 1500 Watts to mine. His critical comment was that it was slow.
Previously he demonstrated SU-V Gun searing torch, and commented that it was too fast. He also commented that off flavors were avoided by not using the close cool-blue part of the flame, made of uncombusted chemicals, presumably the Thiol - mercaptan oderant.