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How to cook a steak with Reverse Sear method
Hailed as the ultimate way to cook a perfect medium-rare steak, it’s easy to learn how to cook the Reverse Sear method, and rock steakhouse quality cooking at home. Even better – reverse sear method works every time.
You may have heard of this “reverse sear” method. It might be the biggest thing to happen to steak since the discovery of the ribeye. The reason reverse sear is garnering SO much attention, is that it’s a nearly infallible way to cook a steak perfectly, every single time. It also works on larger pieces of red meat.
Traditionally, a restaurant method of cooking steak involved searing over incredibly high heat, then transferring to an oven to finish on a more gentle heat until done. The reverse sear method pretty much just flips the order. It involves first cooking the meat on a very low heat before searing the outside on a super hot surface.
The basic idea is that with reverse sear, you have greater control over the Maillard Reaction (that magical process that turns the cooked edges of meats yummy and brown), because you’re making sure the high heat only comes into play right at the end and that the steak inside will be perfect. So, instead of an internal grey ring of different “doneness” your steak will be perfectly medium from edge to edge.
Truth be told, I love my steaks rare, so a regular pan sear works for me, but there’s no denying this is the ultimate cook method to achieve a perfect medium/medium-rare throughout. If you wanna get super meat-nerd about it, consider removing the steak about 3-5 degrees before it reaches doneness, as it will continue to cook slightly from residual heat during resting.
Internal Temperature Guide:
- Rare: 125 f
- Medium Rare: 130 f
- Medium: 140 f
- Well done: 160 f (if you’re cooking to this degree of doneness you’re going to make me very upset…)
You will definitely need a meat thermometer to do this correctly – the ‘ol palm pinch test is not gonna cut it here! Back in the day I used to use a cheapie stick-thermometer, until I started noticing bad inconsistencies and realised it wasn’t calibrated. When there’s just a few degrees difference between rare and medium, you can’t risk it! These days, I prefer to use a Thermapen which has an instant read and takes the temp off the very thin tip of the probe. That means less heat loss if I’m opening the grill or smoker to check something, and no nasty huge probe marks. Put it this way, investing once in perfectly cooked meat is cheaper than ruining your nice quality steaks!
One more point – the piece of meat needs to be at least 1.5 inches thick for the reverse sear method to work. It will not work on minute steaks or any thinner cuts of meat. You will just end up overcooking the meat. However, you can use this method on anything bigger than 1.5 inches thick – even up to a whole prime rib roast.
Though it ultimately takes longer to cook with reverse sear than other methods, it’s ready to eat immediately because you’ve rested the steak prior to the sear – so you can eat it nice’n’hot! I use an oven/heavy cast iron pan to reverse sear, but you can definitely experiment with a smoking/grilling combo too. If you’re looking for an extra secret weapon to help you achieve an incredible crust and appearance on the sear, you wanna check out this Hardcore Carnivore rub. It has activated charcoal IN the rub, so gives you a great appearance before you have even seared, which can help avoid overcooking.
Oven method after the pics! And if you’d rather see how to do the reverse sear method on a charcoal grill, check this out.
How to reverse sear cook a steak
- One behemothly thick steak (bone in ribeye works great!). It's going to need to be at least 1" thick if not more. The thicker, the better.
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 135c/275f
- Place well seasoned steaks on a rack over a baking tray (cover the tray with foil to save yourself a clean up)
- Put in oven and cook til an internal temp of 125-135f depending on your preference of "doneness". Usually takes around 45-60 minutes.
- Remove when at temp and rest for 10-15 minutes under foil
- Preheat a skillet or heavy based pan to screamingly hot temperatures
- Sear steaks for one minute each side
- Serve immediately
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