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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?

Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques.
Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques. (KPRC)

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.

Safety Tips

Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques.
Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques. (KPRC)
  • 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

Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques.
Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques. (KPRC)

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

Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques.
Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques. (KPRC)

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

Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques.
Steak 48 Executive Chef Jeff Taylor shares culinary torching tips and techniques. (KPRC)

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.

Not ready to take the heat in the kitchen? Head to Steak 48 and try their Brûléed Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole or Brûléed Sweet Corn. For more information click here.


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