How to Reverse-Sear Steak

How to Reverse-Sear Steak

Publish Date November 15, 2022 3 Minute Read

The perfect steak has a tender, juicy inside and a crispy, flavorful crust outside. But achieving this mouth-watering balance is no easy feat—that is, until you try the reverse-sear method. By cooking the steak slowly at a low temperature (similar to sous vide cooking), you can achieve your preferred level of doneness, and finishing it in a sizzling-hot cast iron skillet gives you a beautifully browned exterior.

Reverse Sear Steak

This method first cooks the steak at a low temperature for an even doneness and then finishes it with a quick sear in a hot pan.

What Does it Mean to Reverse-sear a Steak?

The reverse-sear method flips the traditional searing method on its head. Instead of searing first to form a flavorful crust and then cooking it on a lower temperature until the desired doneness is reached, reverse-searing first cooks the steak to the desired doneness and then finishes with a hot sear that crisps up the exterior without overcooking the rest of the steak.

Benefits of the Reverse-sear Method

Read on to see why reverse-searing is one of the best ways to cook a steak:

  • Cooking the steak at a lower temperature means the meat cooks more evenly throughout.
  • Cooking slowly allows for a smaller margin of error, because you have more time to check the doneness to ensure that you stop cooking at the correct time.
  • The warm oven gently dries out the exterior of the steak, which makes it easier for a crust to form in the searing process.
  • Because of the low-heat method used in the first part of cooking, you don’t need to let your steaks rest after cooking. Or if you do, you only need to allow a minute or two.
  • If you need some wiggle room on timing your meal, you can prep ahead by finishing the slow-cooking process and waiting to sear the steaks until right before serving. Just be sure to keep them warm in the meantime.

Tips and Tricks for Reverse-searing a Steak

Here are some handy tips for how to cook a steak using the reverse-sear method:

  • Because of the long cook time, this method should only be used on 1 1/2” to 2” thick steaks. Anything thinner will cook too quickly.
  • Since all ovens and all steaks are not created equal, it’s best to check the temperature of your steaks every 5 minutes after the first 20 minutes of cooking to ensure that you reach the desired doneness.
  • Don’t use olive oil to sear the steaks, since its smoke point is significantly lower than avocado or canola oils, and the oil will smoke before the pan reaches the correct temperature.
  • If desired, you can add a pat of butter during searing and baste the steak with it continuously to enhance the flavor and give the steak a nice glossy finish.

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