Houston chef shows how to bring the heat to your next dinner party
Don’t be afraid to play with fire with this crash course in culinary torching
HOUSTON – Want to step up your hosting game? Impress your guests with culinary torching. Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares tips on choosing the right torch for home cooks, safety tips and professional techniques.
Which torch is right for you?
Chef Jeff Taylor recommends using a small handheld butane torch, like the above pictured Spicy Dew. Make life easier by selecting a torch that does not require a power source (batteries or plug.) Check if butane is included, as it may need to be purchased separately. Affordable torches are available at Amazon, Williams Sonoma or other culinary supply stores. Prices range from $15 and up.
- Special equipment like goggles or gloves is not necessary.
- Be sure to tie back any loose hair or clothing, including facial hair.
- Keep a small container of water close by in case of emergency.
- When torching, move the flame away from you.
Pro Tip #1: Add Sugar to Caramelize
This does not always have to be straight sugar, like the above pictured turbinado topping. Substitutes like steak seasoning with sugar or marshmallow fluff can also caramelize well.
Pro Tip #2: Use Quick Smooth Movements 2″ - 3″ from Food
Be sure to keep flame moving constantly to avoid burning. When starting out, keep flame 3 inches away from food and move closer as you become more comfortable. Use sight and smell as a guide.
Pro Tip #3: Meat Needs More Time
For the carnivores who want a rare steak with a crispy crust, the culinary torch is the way to go. However, unlike with sweets or sides, you’ll need to use the torch for more than a few seconds. Torch until the desired texture is achieved.
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