Using a kitchen torch to roast poblanos?
I love poblanos and similar chiles, but I don't love the time it takes to char them on the stovetop burner. Plus, it's so difficult to actually char the concave sections of the pepper. I've tried roasting them in the oven, putting them under the broiler, putting them in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop, the oven, and the broiler in order to escape the charring on the burners - but only the charring on the stovetop burners really gives decent results.
So, I've been considering getting a creme brulee torch to simplify this task. Is this a good idea - do these torches work for charring peppers?
Yes, they would, but you might find they're a slow go as well, depending on the torch. Bigger torches are available and may be better with a bigger flame, trigger ignition, butane canister, safety locks, all that. I really think the gas burner on high is the best bet for pepper roasting, with the second best option being a bbq grill outside. I leave 'em on the burner, and avoid flipping, until the side is well charred. The whole pepper doesn't really need to be completely blackened, btw, which could result in a textureless overcooked pepper.
If you're still interested in purchasing a torch, look for a bigger model, often found in hardware stores, a smaller butane canister Bernzomatic or something like that, which is what I used in the restaurant kitchens I worked in. The small dedicated creme brulee torches don't have much of a flame length, go out frequently, and need refilling constantly. They tend to be pricy for what they are, and hopefully you'll use them for other kitchen tasks, aside from roasting peppers. This one's not too bad, with two good reviews:
This one will whip those peppers into shape very quickly with it's 3400F but the flame is adjustable, and it can do other household and plumbing repairs as well, a real multitasker:
Personally I wouldn't buy a torch for just roasting peppers, I'd stick to the stove top burner method, but if I was to do the creme brulee thing more often than I do, sear meats, brown meringue, melt or brown cheese or pull sugar, even make toast, without prefering the broiler, toaster or hot oven, maybe I'd get one.
Do you have an electric or gas stove? If it's gas, I can't imagine why it would take so long. If it's electric, have you considered getting a camping stove? Most run on butane but offer a much larger flame than a kitchen torch.
Just remember to have plenty of ventilation. And just think, you'll be one step ahead in surviving a natural disaster . Or a post-apocalyptic world even. :o)
I'm thinking something along the lines of this:
Or even this:
I do mine on a flame tamer (on a gas burner), and for me, it works perfectly and about as fast as anything. I'm guessing you're not using a gas burner? But I agree w/what others have said: the little creme brulee torches are unlikely to be very fast. I don't even find mine that effective for creme brulee. If you get a bigger torch for peppers, be careful. They're powerful.
You'll need more BTU's than the creme brulee torch. If you don't have a gas stove or grill, go out (REI for example) and buy backpacking stove. Those have enough juice to get the job done in an efficient manner.
Thank you all for helping. You've all kind of confirmed what I was afraid of - that a kitchen torch isn't going to help me do this particular task more efficiently. Yes, I do it on a gas stove - and as I said, it DOES work, but I just find it to be a pain in the ass. An outdoor grill would probably be better, but as I live in a NYC apartment that is not a practical possibility. Perhaps working in a tiny kitchen is the reason I seem to find this more burdensome than the rest of you. Sigh. Thanks again.
I hear you ratgirl, My problem is that I only have an electric range and doing them under the kitchen broiler is a PITA for sure. Takes forever and does tend to "cook" the peppers and makes them harder to handle. I'm thinking about maybe cutting them in half and removing the seeds, etc THEN roasting. The small camp stove sounds promising, but not sure about using it inside the house.