Reverse Sear Steak: Master the Perfect Crust and Juicy Interior

If you’re aiming to elevate your steak game to professional levels, the reverse sear method is a technique that should be in your culinary toolkit. This approach to preparing steak flips traditional cooking wisdom on its head, starting the steak at a lower temperature and finishing with a high-heat sear.

Understanding the Reverse Sear Method

The reverse sear is a term that refers to cooking a steak in the reverse order of a traditional sear. Normally, a steak is seared at high temperatures to form a crust, then transferred to a lower temperature to finish cooking. The reverse sear technique, however, begins with slowly bringing the steak up to temperature in a low-heat environment, then finishing it off with a sear on a hot grill or pan. The result is a steak with a beautifully even cook and a perfect crust.

Why Choose Reverse Sear?

The reverse sear method offers several benefits over traditional cooking methods. It provides greater control over the internal temperature, allowing you to achieve the perfect level of doneness without overshooting the mark. Additionally, it creates a more uniform cook from edge to center, avoiding the common problem of a well-done perimeter around a medium-rare middle. Finally, it delivers a superior crust by ensuring that the steak’s surface is completely dry before it hits the high heat, leading to better Maillard reaction and flavor development.

grill then sear steak

Selecting the Right Steak for Reverse Sear

Not all steaks are created equal when it comes to the reverse sear method. Ideally, you should select a thick-cut steak, at least 1.5 inches thick, such as a ribeye, porterhouse, or New York strip. These cuts will benefit most from the gradual cooking process, resulting in a tender, juicy steak with a crisp, flavorful crust.

Prepping Your Steak for Reverse Sear

Before you begin, pat your steak dry with paper towels and season it generously with salt. If you have time, let the steak sit with the salt on it for about an hour, or even better, overnight in the refrigerator. This dry brine helps the seasoning penetrate the meat and also aids in drying out the exterior for a better sear later on.

How to Reverse Sear on the Grill

Start by preheating your grill to a low temperature, around 225-250°F (107-121°C). Place the steak on the grill away from the direct heat source, and cook it slowly until it reaches an internal temperature of about 10-15°F (5-8°C) below your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the steak’s temperature accurately.

Once the steak is almost at the target temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest while you increase the grill temperature to its highest setting. After the grill is scorching hot, place the steak back on the grill and sear it for about one minute per side, just long enough to form a rich, brown crust.

Tips for a Perfect Reverse Sear Steak

  • Use a reliable thermometer: The key to reverse searing is precision. An accurate meat thermometer is an indispensable tool for this method.
  • Rest the steak: After the initial slow cook, rest your steak for a few minutes before searing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
  • Get the grill blazing hot: After resting, you want to sear the steak on the hottest possible surface to create a quick and effective crust.

By following these steps and tips, you can master the reverse sear technique for grilling steaks. The result is a steak that’s cooked to perfection with a delectable crust that’s sure to impress at your next barbecue or dinner party.

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