Sous Vide cooking is great but obviously we can’t get a good sear without a little extra effort. In this comparison we compare the Searzall and a torch without an attachment to find out which has the best sear results. For those that may not know, the Searzall is an attachment for your sous vide torch specifically designed for producing a proper sear on your steaks or other sous vide cooked foods that need searing. The torch used in this comparison is the TS8000 torch from Bernzomatic. The Searzall is designed to diffuse the flame of a raw torch which should allow it to help eliminate the taste of torch fumes permeating your food as well as helping to more evenly sear you food. Continue reading to learn how well the Searzall performs.
Searing with the TS8000
To begin, the steak on the left is seared with the Bernzomatic TS8000. The TS8000 is used because smaller torches that you see for sale aren’t powerful enough to properly sear a steak. You need a robust flame to sear the surface of the steak without cooking the inside. This would defeat the purpose of cooking your steak via sous vide. The TS8000 is a trigger operated torch which makes it very easy to work with. Unlike they Searzall, you’ll need to keep the end of the torch back a bit from your meat to help it sear more evenly. 3 to 4 inches is ideal. Also, keep the flame moving. Lingering too long on one spot will burn it instead of simply searing it. A gentle swaying motion back and forth is the best method.
Searing with the SearzallAs mentioned earlier, the Searzall is an attachment for a blowtorch. Its job is to essentially diffuse the flame from the torch. The purpose of this is to help eliminate the chance of over searing spots on your food and make the tool more forgiving to use. For best results the Searzall should be held about 1 inch away from the food you’re searing. Since the flame is much more diffused it doesn’t jet out of the end of the torch in the same way and much more lazily exits the Searzall. You can linger much longer over the food without worrying as much about over searing an individual spot.
Comparing the results
The results of both honestly turned out great with both although the blowtorch turned out a little better. The main difference between the 2 steaks was that the Searzall steak ended up cooking a little more on the outside as compared to the one seared with the TS8000 Bernzomatic torch with no attachment. Flavor turned out to be similar, both being excellent. Texture was slightly different with the Searzall. It was slightly tougher since it had cooked a bit more from the heat of the flame. The blowtorch does a better job of just searing the outside without cooking the inside much more. To be clear, the difference isn’t a deal breaker but it does call into question whether or not it is worth it to spend the money on the Searzall.
Things To Keep In Mind
Is it safe to sous vide in Ziploc bags?
Absolutely. It isn’t absolutely necessary for most sous vide cooking to be vacuum sealed. For some sous vide it is preferable.
Can I put frozen meat in sous vide?
Yes you can. You do have to adjust your cooking time to account for thawing time. This will vary depending on the amount of meat and thickness.
Can you overcook meat in a sous vide?
Not exactly. You can leave your steak or other meat cooking for up to 4 hours without worrying about it overcooking and you can leave it cooking longer and never worry about it overcooking but it will begin to get mushy after 4 hours in a sous vide bath. This is obviously not a desirable outcome for your steak.
Are food saver bags safe for sous vide?
Absolutely. Vacuum sealer bags are ideal and preferred to use when sous vide cooking. They are great for higher temperatures since they will resist unsealing as they get hotter.
What temperature to cook sous vide steak?
- Very rare = 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours @120º
- Rare = 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours @128º
- Medium Rare = 1 hour to 4 hours @131º
- Medium = 1 hour to 4 hours @140º
- Medium Well = 1 hour to 3 1/2 hours @150º
- Well = 1 hour to 3 hours @156º
Searzall vs TS8000 Torch Comparison Results
In the end, both steaks turned out very good and very tasty however the Searzall did cook the meat a little bit. This does lead the steak to becoming slightly tougher than if a traditional blowtorch with no attachment were used. It’s pretty marginal in difference but if you’re super picky you may want to stick with the Bernzomatic without an attachment. If you have had trouble with your technique searing with a torch then the Searzall may be a great alternative. It is far more forgiving at the expense of ever so lightly cooking the meat. It slows down the process and makes searing more manageable so you don’t need to worry about overdoing a spot here or there. It’s a handy tool for searing steaks and can be helpful for searing other foods you may sous vide.