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I tried to torch sous vide steaks twice with a culinary blow torch, but it seems to take forever to get any kind of crust. So far I was not able to achive a really good crust. Should I simply do it longer? The following result took me several minutes per side:

enter image description here

Granted, I don't notice much of a gradient, so I suppose, that even if it takes a long time, it probably doesn't affect the interior temperature too much. Still I am not sure, how it is even possible to achieve a decent crust with this method. And I am also confused, why would this take longer, considering that the temperature of the torch is a lot hotter, than a cast iron.

  • Did you make sure the surface of the steak was really dry? – aris Mar 30 at 16:43
  • Yes, I padded it a lot with paper towels. But I did add butter on top, let it melt at room temp, then seared with the torch. Maybe this was the problem? – user1721135 Mar 30 at 17:45
  • Is there a reason a blow torch is necessary, as opposed to a hot pan or a grill? – moscafj Apr 2 at 23:37
  • @moscafj, a pan or grill will begin to cook the inside of the steak and cost you one of the best bits of sous vide- the consistent internal color and lack of gradient in doneness. A culinary torch will cook the outside quickly enough without affecting the inside due to the incredibly high temperature of the flame. – Halaster Apr 3 at 5:09
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    @Halaster I could not disagree more. As user of sous vide for many years, I can attest to the fact that a culinary torch is not the best tool for this job. – moscafj Apr 3 at 12:06
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It does take a couple of minutes to get a good crust with a torch, but judging by that photo something went wrong as there’s little crust on that picture.

As aris mentioned, you need to ensure that there is no moisture on the steak. You mentioned adding butter on top and letting it melt at room temperature. This could act as a barrier for the heat but no kitchen test I know of tackled this specifically. Next time try without as I’ve always gotten and seen good results without butter on it.

Lastly, keep the torch at a moderate distance and linger slightly on a spot until you see some sizzling. Make small circles, but don’t move the torch all over rapidly. You don’t need to distribute the heat evenly while trying to get a crust.

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