Sear before or after roasting? With pan or torch?
I've always seared my roasts before putting them in the oven. Call it "start-searing". I got in that habit simply because most recipes say to do it. I even used to salt the roast, leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, then move it directly from 40 F refrigerator to very hot cast iron pan. My theory was that the 40 F beef would better resist being internally cooked by the searing.
But for Thanksgiving I did a roast in rock salt and seared it at the end. It was fast and worked well, so I'm now wondering if "end-searing" should be my new M.O.. Here's my new theory: after the roast has been in the oven, the exterior is well dried out, and can be seared to crusty very fast and with less effect on internal temperature.
What say you all? I know dcarch is end-searing after sous viding.
Oh, another question. I read about one chef who uses a blowtorch to sear his roast, instead of a pan. Does anyone do this? I've tried using my propane torch (the hardware store kind, like you'd use to braze copper tubing). It works well for some things, but so far I find that the flame seems too hot and too concentrated for a full roast. It turns the meat black and burnt quite easily. Also the fat cap gets bubbly and bilstered, not golden and crisp. Not to mention that it seems to take a long time to sear a whole roast with the narrow flame from a torch. Am I missing out on a great tool/technique?