Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

weinoo

The Searzall by Dave Arnold

Recommended Posts

In what might be the greatest "extra" product to have if you're into sous-vide cooking, Dave Arnold, in conjunction with David Chang and Momo, is going to be selling his first consumer product, the Searzall.

One of the things I've always disliked about the blowtorch method of searing food is that I have been able to detect the taste of the blowtorch. This seems to solve that problem:

Essentially a hand-held broiler, the Searzall attaches to a blowtorch, forcing the flames to spread evenly and create a high quality finish. Arnold explains "we are taking the power of the torch, and transforming its pencil thin, too hot flame, into a much more even, almost radiant, infrared heater." Arnold says he was inspired to improve upon the basic blowtorch because he "needed a very powerful, high temperature tool to finish low temperature or sous vide meats without creating what we call 'torch taste,' or that nasty fuel taste typically associated with using a blowtorch when cooking."

I want one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether you sous vide or not, that's a great tool in the kitchen to pan fry a steak both sides at the same time, or to re-crispy up leftover chicken, char to remove bell pepper skin, etc.

I would not be surprised if it can also be the best paint remover ever, serious.

dcarch

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me too. I've used a torch a couple times and every time my wife and I tasted somethign weird and unpleasant. I figured i was doing it wrong because i kept seeing people doing it and instructing to do it, including in Modernist cuisine...turns out I was right, AH HAH!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And the next step? A mini, maybe, for the perfect creme brulee?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oooh! Want!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those interested, here's a link to the Cooking Issues blog (edited since first posted) explaining the reasoning behind the Searzall. Notably, as mentioned in the article linked by the OP, Dave Arnold originally assumed the problem with torch taste was incomplete combustion of the fuel, but later realized the problem was very high heat too closely concentrated. This device, of course, is designed to solve the problem by diffusing the torch.

ps - Kodos to lesliec for mentioning this Cooking Issues post back in Part 8 of the Sous Vide thread, which is how I learned about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems like a worthwhile product, whether or not one is a sous vider, and I am not trying to pick a fight, but just curious: if you want seared meat, why not just sear the meat, rather than investing hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment and then, on top of it, having to make compromises and work-arounds and buy ever more equipment? Have not salamander broilers served us well for decades? In addition, one has to look at the failure rate and perpetual problems with home sous vide equipment. This seems more like a Popular Science or Popular Mechanics project out of the 1950s, like building your own computer or airplane, rather than a true culinary sea change. Sous vide cannot possibly be the best option for everything that we cook, and it really smells of something that will be viewed as a fad of its time a decade or two from now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems like a worthwhile product, whether or not one is a sous vider, and I am not trying to pick a fight, but just curious: if you want seared meat, why not just sear the meat, rather than investing hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment and then, on top of it, having to make compromises and work-arounds and buy ever more equipment? Have not salamander broilers served us well for decades? In addition, one has to look at the failure rate and perpetual problems with home sous vide equipment. This seems more like a Popular Science or Popular Mechanics project out of the 1950s, like building your own computer or airplane, rather than a true culinary sea change. Sous vide cannot possibly be the best option for everything that we cook, and it really smells of something that will be viewed as a fad of its time a decade or two from now...

So the reasons I like sous vide:

  • Control of temperature allows previously 'tricky' processes to be performed much more easily (creme anglais, hollandaise, etc.), with the same quality of result.
  • Consistency of result - my steak or eggs are always done 'so', with little practice or effort, and variation for different tastes of 'doneness' can be made controllably and consistently.
  • I like good food, and I am an average cook.
  • I like toys.

As a result, my meals are of better quality than they were before I was introduced to sous vide. It's definitely not for everything, but it works well for me in many applications. I've not had any issues with failures of equipment that were any worse than if an oven had failed half way through a casserole.

I should also point out that it's not the sous vide that adds the (sometimes) unpleasant flavour - it's the use of a blowtorch. I tend to use a cast iron pan or a hot grill (I'm in the UK - I think what we call a grill is your broiler - heat from above) for final sear, though i also have an iwatani blowtorch - I'm just a bit better with the pan and grill than I am with the blowtorch.

Also, sous vide has been around for a long time so I'm not sure it's valid to call it a fad, it's just become more popular now as equipment becomes more affordable - perhaps in the home it will become a fad, but I know very few people who have tried it and not stuck with it - not for everything, but as another addition to the arsenal in the kitchen.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems like a worthwhile product, whether or not one is a sous vider, and I am not trying to pick a fight, but just curious: if you want seared meat, why not just sear the meat, rather than investing hundreds or thousands of dollars in equipment and then, on top of it, having to make compromises and work-arounds and buy ever more equipment? Have not salamander broilers served us well for decades? In addition, one has to look at the failure rate and perpetual problems with home sous vide equipment. This seems more like a Popular Science or Popular Mechanics project out of the 1950s, like building your own computer or airplane, rather than a true culinary sea change. Sous vide cannot possibly be the best option for everything that we cook, and it really smells of something that will be viewed as a fad of its time a decade or two from now...

Seared meat is one thing; properly cooked meat with a sear is another thing altogether.

No one I know, well - except Dave Arnold - has a salamander broiler at home; those things fire at ridiculous temperatures and they are restaurant equipment.

At $79 for the Searzall, and say $200 for an immersion circulator now that they're being made as consumer products, I hardly see "hundreds or thousands of dollars of equipment" being poured into this "fad." Just like I don't see a Vitamix, Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, ice-cream maker, or any other piece of equipment that a serious home cook might have in his or her battery as a fad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not to mention that heating up a salamander broiler heats up the kitchen, and isn't as intense as direct heat from a torch with the searzall, so it's quite different.

Using a pan is ok, but it makes a pretty big mess of my stovetop with splattered stuff...i imagine this will reduce the mess considerably, and also overcome my anemic stove burners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, why bother with such things when almost anything can be cooked, caveman-style, on a stick over an open fire?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, so I see a theme of "urban sous viders" developing here! With the two pieces of equipment described in weinoo's post and a vessel for the water, perhaps one can do things that limited kitchen space might otherwise prohibit. By the way, I think that Dave's device is a terrific idea, and am probably inclined to buy one myself. I am thinking that sous vide finish work is not its only, nor necessarily its highest and best, use. Of course, I live out in the sticks and tend to cook with a stick over an open fire most of the time...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not inclined to buy a $75 accessory for my $25 Iwatani torch….

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several years ago, I bought a "hose-torch" (made by Bernzomatic) for my propane canister - it's basically the gas valve connected to a 3 foot long hose, which is terminted with a "swirl-torch". I bought it because I thought it would be more convenient to sear things with the canister hanging on my belt just holding the light torch in my hand - plus, as anyone who has done lots of sweat-plumbing, holding the canister sideways with attached normal torch pointing down doesn't always work too well. The swirl-torch is advertised as making a more even and hotter flame for use with plumbing... but I find it works very well for searing post-SV stuff. I use it for all searing purposes, and I have never had a torch taste yet. It does take a bit of practice - I usually stay farther away from the food than I'd normally think was necessary and I get nice even browning with a very small amount little charred freckles so to speak. If there are no spices or ground pepper, then I can really blast a steak and get a really good crust without overcooking the interior. Spices/pepper tend to burn easily.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition, one has to look at the failure rate and perpetual problems with home sous vide equipment. This seems more like a Popular Science or Popular Mechanics project out of the 1950s, like building your own computer or airplane, rather than a true culinary sea change.

You may be right. Time will tell. Bear in mind that you see lots of posts about equipment failure here because this is one of the few places on the internet to raise such issues. Plus, of course, complaints stand out more than successes, notwithstanding oodles of posts relating the latter. My own experiences with LTLT, for example, have been almost uniformly positive, the problems with blowtorches being the main exception. For the time being, I've done well using a countertop convection oven for browning. Others prefer other solutions. IMHO, the Searzall may be the tool which closes the circle and moves LTLT to the mainstream. Or not. As I said, only time will tell.

BTW, on review, I realize DDG linked in Post #3 the same Cooking Issues blog post I linked in Post #8.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not inclined to buy a $75 accessory for my $25 Iwatani torch….

Qiite the opposite... I wish it WERE compatible with the Iwatani torch.

(it's being promised for perhaps later)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pulled the trigger on this today...seems like an obviously good choice to me: high radiant heat, no pan to dirty or oven to turn on, no torch taste. The torch taste is the big motivating factor for me, I've used propane and MAPP gas and they do leave subtle undesirable flavors. The radiant heat of the Searzall is similar to the metal bars on gas grills. Yes it is a Kickstarter, so there is a possibility of delay but this seems like a simple device: insulation and an absorbing metal mesh, no moving or electric parts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, just crossed the finish line today, I think it will be worth the wait if it is a true mini broiler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Umm, it's a kickstarter project, not an order on Amazon. I signed up, but won't be shocked if it fizzles. That's how kickstarter works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Dave the Cook
      Modernist Bread is out now, but maybe you haven't taken the plunge. Here's your chance to win your own copy, courtesy of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.
       
      For part two, we're featuring another cornerstone recipe from the book: Direct Country-Style Bread. The only leavener here is instant yeast, so production time is considerably shortened. The relative lack of flavor compared to long-proofed doughs is offset by the use of whole grains. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):
       




    • By ross
      Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I think I have a plan.
      I was keen on cooking the turkey sous vide, but have been vetoed by my a family member- "you can't feed grandma that bacteria-laden turkey! it never got hot!"
      I've tried to explain the process, and the safety, but I conceided. I'm cooking for a bunch of traditionalists, so I'm trying to keep it interesting, yet familiar and not too out of the box.
      I think I may have a more interesting plan now anyway.
      It goes like this-
      Break down the bird (from my CSA with Allandale Farm in Boston, MA, removing the breast skin in-tact
      break down the carcass, pan-roast it, and make stock.
      Make a tenderloin by stacking the breasts and glueing with Activa RM, and wrapping with the skin.
      two questions on this front:
      How long can the rolled "tenderloin" sit before cooking- can I roll it out 24 hours before showtime?
      Is there a decent way to add some flavor between the breasts- chopped sage/thyme, etc. or will this negatively affect the process? Will it cook OK?
      Braise the dark meat, following this Daniel Boulud recipe (ish.)
      Confit the wings. I currently have a test batch curing overnight, rubbed with a ton of salt, thyme, bay leaf, clove, tellicherry peppercorns, garlic, and some juniper. Picked up 7.5# tub of Hudson Valley Foie Gras duckfat for the cook.
      In addition, I'm going to do some truffled mashed potatoes, butternut squash soup with some smoked duck breast, and some veg- brussel sprouts, and something to keep the kids happy. Also pondering family-style (really partner-style) mac and cheese in some very small le crusets, following the Hattie's recipe.
      Is it worth brining the bird?
      I'm looking for reactions to this plan, and any improvements possible, or a good old-fashioned critique.
      Thoughts?
    • By Raamo
      HOST'S NOTE: This post and those that follow were split off from the pre-release discussion of Modernist Bread.
      *****
       
      Figured I don't need to dump all this into the contest thread - so I'll post here.  My journey to making my first MC loaf.
       
      Her's the poolish after >12 hours:

       
       
      Not pictured - water with yeast in it below the bread flour and poolish

       
      That went into the mixer and not long later I had a shaggy mass:
       

       
      That rested for a while - then mixed until medium gluten formation - a window pane that was both opaque and translucent (no picture for that slightly messy part)
       
      Folded and rested, folded and rested, I think this is 1/2 the mass now ready to rest one final time.
       

       
      Proofed it in the oven - I have a picture of that but it's just foggy window oven
       
      Then it went into the oven, here it is at max temp - 450 with steam turned on.
       

       
      Completed loaf:
       
      \
       
      And the crumb - this is awesome bread:

       
    • By Chris Hennes
      Next week marks the official release of the highly-anticipated Modernist Bread by Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya. The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters is excited to provide you with the opportunity to win a copy of the book. The Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.
       
      For our first recipe, we're starting with a cornerstone recipe from the book: French Lean Bread. I've personally made this one and it's both delicious and completely approachable by anyone with an interest in this book. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):
       





       
      The recipes in this book tend to rely on information presented more extensively earlier in the books, so if anything isn't clear enough here please ask and Dave and I will do our best to answer your questions (we've had early digital access to the books for the last month or so).
       
      ETA: Here's what my first go at the recipe sounded like coming out of the oven...
       
    • By Porthos
      I thought that I had read that if you SV in bulk, and the freeze, that you were supposed to SV the item again based using the same time in the bath as when you first cooked the item. I tried SVing 4 meals's worth of pork strips and froze 3 of the 4. When I re-SV'ed a package last night (at a slightly lower temp to not increase the doneness, they were borderline dry, way different than the first package right out of the bath.  What am I missing?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×