Reverse-Seared Steak Recipe
You want to make the perfect steak? Start it with a low oven then grill quickly to get a beautiful crust.
The reverse-sear technique entails slow-cooking of steak or roasting before finishing it off with a hot sear. If you love your steak having a crisp crust, then this technique is for you.
It is called the reverse sear because it flips tradition on its head. It is generally believed that searing “locks in juices”, but it doesn’t actually do so, all it does is to add flavor. Flipping the formula so that the searing comes at the end produces better results which include:
- More even cooking. Gently cooked steak cooks more evenly. You obtain a juicier steak when you cook at a lower temperature
- The end goal when searing a piece of meat is to obtain a crisp and darkly brown crust. Reverse-searing allows this.
- Steaks “age” rapidly when you slowly heat it. So a much more tender meat is obtained
- By slowly cooking, it is much easier to nail the right temperature time and time again. Meathead Goldwyn likens it to shooting an arrow at a tortoise versus shooting an arrow at a rabbit. The slower the arrow moves, the easier it is to hit.
How do I Reverse Sear a Steak?
The reverse-searing technique is remarkably simple: it involves cooking the meat in a low oven at a temperature between 200 and 257oF. It is best to work with steaks at least one and half to two inches thick. The best thing about this technique is it can be done both indoors and outdoors. Cook the steak until it is 10 – 14oF below you desired serving temperature. Then remove it from the oven and sear it in a piping-hot skillet or a hot grill.
- 1 ½ to 2 inches thick beef steak(s)
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Season the steak with salt and pepper. To obtain the best result (although this is optional), set steak(s) on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate overnight without covering.
- Place steak(s) on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Preheat the oven to between 200oF to 275oF; if your oven goes lower, you can set it to a lower temperature. But this will take longer to cook.
- Place steaks in the oven and cook. Cooking time for steak varies depending on the type of steak and several other factors, so do well to check often.
- Add 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of oil to a cast iron, carbon steel, or heavy stainless steel skillet. Cook until the steak(s) and butter are well browned on each side, about 45 seconds per side. Hold the steak sideways with tongs to sear the edges.
- If you are using a grill, light one chimney full of charcoal. Spread the coals evenly over half of the coal grate when all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash. Alternatively, set half of the burners of the gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grates in place, cover the grill and preheat for 5 minutes.
- Set steaks on cooler side of the grill and let it cook uncovered. As stated earlier cooking time can vary, so you need to check steak often
- Cover the steak(s) with a foil and set aside. If you’re using a charcoal grill and the coals are all burned, make the biggest fire you can. But if using a gas oven, make sure all burners are set at high heat and let the grill preheat with its lids closed.
- Return the steak(s) to the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning frequently, for about 1 ½ minutes or until crisp and charred all over. Serve immediately.
Special Equipment you will need:
Wire rack and rimmed baking sheet, casting iron pan, carbon steel skillet, and charcoal or gas grill.