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After looking at various searing approaches incorporating the use of gas torches I wondered if heat guns might be a useful tool for searing. Heat guns are relatively inexpensive and have various tips to adjust the heat pattern. Having used both tools I believe the heat gun might be easier to use in this application. An inexpensive variable output gun can attain either 750 or 1000 degrees F. Has anyone tried this approach?

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I doubt that it will work. A butane torch can provide a temperature of up to 1700K (1,430 °C; 2,600 °F) (according to Wikipedia), whereas I haven't seen any electric ones claiming to go above 600°C (1100°F).

While 600°C seems plenty warm to get a decent Maillard reaction going, it will take much longer than with a higher temperature, and you will probably dry out the underlying layers.

(The 'Searzall' looks like a modified butane torch, rather than an electric heat gun.)

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Yes. The crew at Momofuku in New York invented a heat gun called the Searzall for exactly this purpose. Bon Appetit has an article on it; they're raising production funds through Kickstarter.

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    As Popup mentions in his answer, the Searzall is a torch, not an electric heat gun.
    – Preston
    Jun 20, 2014 at 18:30
  • True, @DrRandy. But on the other hand (s)he talks about a 'heat gun' as an alternative to a 'gas torch'. I can't think of any other alternatives, that would apply here. (Although, re-reading the OP again (and again, and again) I concede that depending on parsing, there's maybe no strict dichotomy in it between the two terms.)
    – Popup
    Jun 23, 2014 at 15:06
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    "Electric" is specified in the title of the question. But of course now we are beating a dead horse.
    – Preston
    Jun 23, 2014 at 19:08

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