A torch is a great way to finish recipes prepared using the sous vide cooking method. And as you can tell by the name, the Su-V Gun was made for just that.
The concentrated power of a torch flame may be the best and fastest way to caramelize the food’s exterior. This creates a crispy layer, which contrasts beautifully against the perfectly done interior of a piece of meat. It looks and tastes great.
Grillblazer’s Su-V Gun is among the most popular home torches for sous vide cooking. It has awesome high power output, long run time, and a few handy safety features.
In this article, I’ll explain how the torch works, what it’s suitable for, and how it performs compared to other popular kitchen torches.
Table of Contents
How Does the Su-V Gun Work?
The Su-V kitchen torch is essentially a small flamethrower that attaches to a propane take. It’s shaped like a pistol with an extended pipe-like barrel.
When turned on, this torch allows you to ignite propane passing through the device and control its burn rate. The spout at the end of the barrel is designed with a baffle, which helps to concentrate the flame.
The design of the torch makes it easy to turn on and off, and make precise motions with the flame at a high BTU. If you’re using it to finish food cooked in a water bath, the amount of control this torch offers is outstanding.
The Su-V has 240,000 British Thermal Units (BTU) heat output.
Is that a lot? Let me explain.
One BTU is the heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Most home gas stoves are rated between 1k-18k BTU, although some models slightly exceed that.
The Su-V gun offers 10x the output of your typical gas stove. Because of that, it can do things your other heat sources won’t.
Total heat output isn’t the only meaningful aspect of the Su-V flame. The device is equipped with a baffled nozzle, which provides several benefits.
First off, it concentrates the flame in a predictable shape. Unlike some other torch models, this will allow you to be more efficient with fuel usage and fire with greater precision so that the food finishes evenly.
The baffling also helps remove “torch tastes,” an off-flavor characteristic of other torches that allow unburned propane fuel to touch the food.
The gun-like design of this torch is done more for function than fashion. In my experience, most people find it intuitive to operate.
The handle shape is ergonomic and should fit any hand size. And the exterior has a rubberized coating to prevent slips.
I’ve heard some people ask if the handle heats up during use, but that’s not really a problem since the flame is only present at the terminal end of the nozzle, which is far away from the grip and trigger. Only room temperature, uncombusted gas is running through the device’s body.
Trigger & Safety
The trigger controls fuel ignition, and a pull activates the equivalent of a pilot light.
Once the torch is lit and the safety is compressed, you can control the flame intensity by adjusting the pressure applied to the trigger.
The safety lock is incredibly handy because it prevents accidental ignition.
Fuel Options & Consumption
The Su-V gun is compatible with any propane fuel container with a CGA600 connection. Such canisters are sold at camping stores everywhere and at big box retailers like Home Depot and Walmart.
Some vendors offer compatible propane tanks on Amazon. But I’ve always felt funny about ordering combustibles in the mail.
I like a 1 lb canister because it makes the device easy to lift, maneuver, and store. But there are some advantages to getting a bigger fuel source. The Su-V gun has an 8 ft adapter hose option available that lets you (for example) connect to a 20 lb propane tank.
Although a big tank is heavier to lift and takes up more storage space, you can get a longer run time and a better cost per use by working with the adapter.
I did buy the hose adapter and use my old Weber propane grill as my grill station. I simply disconnect my Weber hose and connect the Su-V Gun hose and it works great. The 8 foot hose leaves plenty of slack to maneuver freely. Obviously there’s no added storage in this case.
With a 1-lb canister, you should be able to generate 10 unique burns of about two minutes before you’ll need to replace it. With the 20-lb tank you should get 200 burns.
The manufacturer recommends that you shouldn’t run a single burn for longer than 2 minutes, if possible. Performance drops off after the 2-minute mark because of fluid dynamics inside the gas canister.
The Su-V gun is compatible with MAPP and butane, but not other fuel sources like natural gas. Do not try connecting any gas other than propane, MAPP or butane from a compatible container.
Size & Weight
The design of the Su-V gun is relatively compact compared to other torches, like Grillblazer’s other torch (the Grill Gun).
This torch is about 15” long and only weighs 1.5 lb, not including the weight of any fuel canister you might attach to it.
The device is sold with a “torch stand” that makes it easy to set upright once you’re done using it. It prevents topples and, therefore, the chance of some bobbles and accidental burns.
One of my favorite things about using this torch is the sound. The rushing flame always reminds me of a jet engine, even though it’s much more tame.
Some people might find the noise obnoxious, but the truth is that it’s short-lived and manageable. It will get your testosterone pumping.
It’s loud if you’re holding the device, but don’t expect you’ll be waking the neighbors. Even from the next room, this isn’t the type of nose that carries.
Grillblazer offers a one-year warranty against defects for the Su-V gun. It’s the sort of thing you probably won’t use, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
Most qualified defects should be noticeable upon unboxing or within the first few uses.
Like most modern warranties, the warranty will not cover user error or “wear and tear” damage. If you don’t notice a problem soon after unboxing, my best guess (not legal advice) is that you probably won’t be covered.
The good news is that you’ll have some recourse in the case of missing pieces, or if the device doesn’t function properly out of the box.
Grillblazer recalled about 10,000 products sold from their Su-V Gun and Grill Gun lines in December 2020. The company received 260 complaints about propane leaks, for which they offered a free repair. No injuries were reported, but the incident was considered a manufacturing defect and a fire hazard.
I take this as a lesson learned by the Company. Buying a lower cost competitor can open you up to the risks that caused the Grillblazer recall. The Su-V Gun is now a sound product.
What Can You Do With The Su-V Gun?
The primary marketing angle of the Su-V Gun torch is that it can be used to sear meat after sous vide cooking, but there are several other uses. It isn’t a one-trick pony.
This torch also works well for,
- Browning sugar on desserts
- Blackening vegetables and fruits
- Making cocktails with a flame twist
- Lighting charcoal grills and fire pits
Some people use this torch in combination with a smoker or grill. And, in a pinch, you may be able to employ it for a light welding job. Although I certainly wouldn’t.
How Does the SU-V Gun Compare with Other Torches?
As part of our broader series on kitchen torches, we’ve looked at several different models. The Su-V gun consistently performs among the best of them.
The other models we like include Grillblazer’s other torch, the Grill Gun. And both of Bernzomatic’s popular models, the TS4000 and TS8000.
The Grill Gun is another excellent torch, but it’s really better suited for starting charcoal (or a campfire) than for searing food.
Although the heat output of the Grill Gun is more powerful, at 400k BTU, the flame is less concentrated or directional. It also lacks terminal baffling, and the longer barrel makes it more challenging to control.
Both models (from Grillblazer) are excellent products. Nevertheless, if your primary use case is for finishing food, the Su-V Gun is superior.
Bernzomatic Torches – TS4000 & TS8000
Bernzomatic makes a great torch. The TS4000 and TS8000 are quality products, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed with either.
The TS8000, as we noted in our detailed comparison of the two Bernzomatic products, is incredibly similar to the TS4000. But it does have a handful of features worth paying a few buck extra for. Most notably, the flame control option.
Compared with the Su-V, there are a few notable differences. While I wouldn’t call one objectively better, there are a few matters of preference to consider.
First off, the orientation of the device. The pistol shape of the Su-V may feel slightly more ergonomic when you’re holding it horizontally or at an angle. The TS8000 is easier to maneuver when inverted.
The TS8000 is usually priced at about half of the Su-V Gun, but the base model doesn’t include any diffuser baffling. You’d need to add a Searzall attachment, which is only compatible with the TS8000, to achieve the same level of flame efficiency for mitigation against torch taste.
If you bundle the TS8000 and Searzall attachment, it will cost roughly the same as a Su-V Gun.
Both products can pump out a flame temperature over 3,000 F, and the TS8000 can get all the way to 3,650 F if you use a MAP-Pro fuel cylinder. Either way, it’s more than enough power to generate a fast Maillard reaction and (moreso) caramelization.
For me, the biggest consideration is whether you would like to use your torch indoors. I don’t feel comfortable using the Su-V Gun indoors, but I use my TS8000 with Searzall indoors all the time. The Searzall doesn’t have the same adrenaline punch, but if you want to use the torch indoors, I’d recommend the Bernzomatic TS8000 with Searzall.
- Bernzomatic TS8000 vs TS4000 Torch: Chef’s Comparison
- Searzall Torch Attachment: Review and Use Cases
Weed torches use a lot of the same engineering as the Su-V Gun but they simply aren’t designed to sear. You’ll have a much harder time handling a weed torch to get that great sear without overcooking your meat.
And even though a weed torch costs meaningfully less to purchase, the Su-V Gun uses about half the propane a weed torch uses. In the long run, you’ll save money with the Su-V Gun.
Given the amount of power available with the Su-V Gun, I’d recommend always using it outside. Most kitchen ventilation systems aren’t equipped to exhaust the level of BTUs this torch can output.
Always have an extinguisher nearby when using this torch. You probably won’t need it because of the safety features built into the product. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry when the consequences of an accident are high.
Never leave this torch unattended with children around. Find a safe space to store it, away from young hands, and keep the fuel canister in a separate location from the torch itself. Although the safety lock provides assurance of safe use, this tool may look like a toy to some kids.
Su V Gun Recap
The SU-V Gun is an incredibly powerful torch that works well for several uses, but especially for finishing sous vide proteins. It’s excellent for caramelizing food and creating a nice crispy crust.
I highly recommend it for its functionality, safety features, and ease of use. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve used this product too. Here is a link where you can get the Su-V Gun on Amazon.