How to Reverse Sear a Steak
Reverse searing a steak is just what the name implies. Instead of searing a raw steak on a hot grill and then continuing to cook it to the perfect internal temperature, you cook the steak at a very low temperature until the center is about 20 degrees cooler than you want the end product to be. Then, you put the steak on a screaming hot part of the grill and sear both sides for just a minute or two. You’ll get a steak that’s evenly pink throughout instead of having the gray ring that forms when you grill a steak the conventional way. There are a few tricks to making this work perfectly every time, but at the end of the day, it’s a beautiful thing to slice into that steak and get a rosy interior from one edge to the other.
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Depending on the thickness of the steak, take them out of the refrigerator 30 minutes to one hour ahead of the time you plan to grill.
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Whether it’s gas or charcoal, you’ll need the temperature on the grill to be about 275 degrees. With a gas grill, a four-burner is preferable so you can get enough heat variance from the lit side to the other three unlit sides. For a charcoal grill, bank the coals far to one side of the grill and use the area of the grill without charcoal underneath it.
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This is one of those techniques that requires a precise knowledge of the internal temperature of the meat. It’s worth the investment because you’ll use it over and over again.
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When you start the reverse searing process, you want the probe of the digital thermometer to be exactly in the center of the steak. So insert it from the side of the steak rather than the top. Set the target temperature on the thermometer to 90 degrees for medium rare.
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When your steak hits that target 90 degrees internal temperature it will look raw. You might panic. Don’t panic. The thermometer won’t lie and your steak will be cooked to 90 degrees in the center.
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Now all you have to do is crank up the gas grill to as hot as it will go and sear the steak on both sides for a minute or two. Or for a charcoal grill, move the steak directly over the coals. If you want a perfectly even crust on both sides of the steak, put it in a screaming hot cast iron pan on the grill. For our reverse-seared T-bones we used the TRU-Infrared Performance 3 burner.
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Let your steaks come to room temperature.
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Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a rack over the cookie sheet.
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Liberally salt and pepper the steaks and put them on the rack, inserting a digital probe thermometer into the center of the side of one of the steaks.
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Put the baking pan on the far side of the unlit portion of the grill, close the lid and wait for the internal temperature to rise to 90-95 degrees for medium rare. Depending on the thickness of the steak this will take 20-40 minutes.
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Once the internal temperature reaches 90 degrees, remove the steak from the grill and increase the heat to high on the one burner. If you’re using a cast iron pan to sear the steak, put it on the grill over the heat, close the lid and let the pan heat up for 10 minutes. If not, still close the lid and let the grill come up to temperature, about 500 degrees.
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Add the steaks back to the grill and sear for 1-2 minutes on both sides (if you’re using a cast iron pan, add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and let it heat up for a minute before adding the steaks).
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