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A reverse sear is one of the best ways to get tender and juicy steak with a nice brown crust! You cook the steak low and slow in the oven or grill before finishing with a high-temperature sear.

Tomahawk ribeye steak that has been reverse seared to medium doneness with a beautiful pink interior

What is Reverse Sear

Searing means cooking meat at high temperature to form a brown crust with distinctive flavor thanks to the Maillard reaction. Conventional wisdom is to sear at the start of cooking to lock in the juices, but searing at the end is becoming popular too.

With a reverse sear, you cook meat slowly at a low temperature before finishing with a quick sear. This method is well-suited to thick-cut steaks and roasts since it minimizes carryover cooking, the phenomenon where the meat keeps cooking off the heat.

Benefits

Reverse searing is a method of choice for cooking an expensive steak! Here are some of the benefits:

  1. More tender: The uniform cooking makes it easier to hit your desired doneness so you can get steak exactly as you like it.
  2. Better color: Grey edges will be smaller and the pink/red color more consistent throughout (like sous vide cooking).
  3. Easy prep: There’s no need to remove the meat from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking. You also don’t need to pat dry with paper towels either, since the moisture evaporates gradually at low temperature.
  4. No resting: You can serve the steaks HOT out of the oven or grill, as they don’t need to rest to finish cooking.

The only downside is … patience! A thick-cut steak that takes 15-20 minutes to cook normally will need 30-60 minutes for a reverse sear.

Ribeye steak with a nice golden crust garnished with fresh rosemary sprigs

Which Cuts Can You Reverse Sear

You can reverse sear any thick-cut beef steak including rib eye, filet mignon (tenderloin), New York strip, T-bone and porterhouse. It’s also suitable for marinating steaks such as tri tip.

In addition to these types of steak, this cooking method works for roasts like prime rib as well as pork chops.

How to Reverse Sear Steak in the Oven

Reverse searing is best suited to the oven or grill. Here’s the process for the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.
  2. Season the steaks and place them on the wire rack. Put them in the oven to cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the steak every five minutes until you reach the following: 100°F for rare, 110°F for medium-rare, 120°F for medium, 130°F for well-done
  4. Remove the steak from the oven. Heat a cast-iron pan on high heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add oil to the pan followed by the steak. Sear for 1-2 minutes until nicely browned.
  6. Flip the steak and sear the other side for 2 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Note the steak temperature will rise another 15-20°F during searing. Refer to this temperature chart for the final steak doneness, i.e. 125-130°F for medium-rare.

Thick cut ribeye seasoned with coarse salt and black pepper, ready for cooking

Reverse Sear on the Grill

Here’s how to reverse sear a steak on the grill:

  1. Heat one side of your barbecue on medium, leaving the other side OFF. Let the grill heat up to 250-300°F.
  2. Season the steak and place it on the COOL side for 15-20 minutes, adjusting the grill as needed to maintain the same temperature.
  3. Open the grill and insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the steak every five minutes until you reach the levels above.
  4. Crank the heat on the HOT side to HIGH. Move the steak over to the hot side to sear for 2 minutes per side. (If you want crosshatch grill marks, rotate the steak 90 degrees after one minute on each side.)

To avoid opening the grill frequently, I use a wireless dual-probe thermometer to monitor the steak temperature continuously.

 

Closeup of a piece of reverse sear steak cooked medium
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How to Reverse Sear Steak

A reverse sear cooks steak low and slow before finishing with a high-temperature sear. The opposite of traditional methods, it produces tender and juicy meat with a nice brown crust.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 steaks, cuts such as ribeye, T-bone or Porterhouse, at least 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided*
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, or clarified butter
  • fresh thyme, or rosemary, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.
  • Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Add them to the rack and place in the oven to cook for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the steaks from the oven and check the temperature using an instant-read thermometer every 5 minutes until you reach: 100°F for rare, 110°F for medium-rare, 120°F for medium, 130°F for well-done.
  • Remove the steaks from the oven and cover with foil.
  • Place a cast iron pan over high heat and let it heat for 4-5 minutes until very hot. Make sure your ventilation fan is on and carefully add the oil followed by the steak.
  • Sear for 1-2 minutes until nicely browned. Flip the steak and add the butter and optional herbs to the pan.
  • Sear the other side for 1-2 minutes more, spooning pan juices on top to baste the meat.
  • Remove to a carving board or plate and serve immediately.

Notes

  • *Any high-temperature oil will work including canola oil, sunflower oil, refined olive oil (avoid extra virgin olive oil, which will smoke).
  • Grill Method: Set one side of the grill to medium heat, leaving the other side off. Place the seasoned steak on the cool side to cook for 20 minutes. Then begin checking temperatures the same way as above. Once it's at the desired level, increase the hot side heat to High and move the steak over. Sear for 2 minutes per side and serve.
Nutrition Facts
How to Reverse Sear Steak
Amount Per Serving (8 oz)
Calories 440 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 180mg60%
Sodium 744mg31%
Potassium 970mg28%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 62g124%
Vitamin A 87IU2%
Calcium 79mg8%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please read our nutrition disclaimer.

Author: TipBuzz
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to reverse sear a steak, reverse sear ribeye, reverse sear steak
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Reverse Sear a Steak - learn how to make the most tender and juicy steak using a reverse sear in the oven or on the grill #reversesear