Steak lovers understand that achieving the perfect steak is no small feat. Traditional methods such as open-flame grilling often struggle with temperature control, which can lead to unevenly cooked meat. Thankfully, the reverse sear method is gaining traction as a foolproof way to prepare steak. This simple yet effective technique involves cooking the steak low and slow to ensure even internal cooking, followed by a quick sear that produces a juicy, tender, and beautifully even result. Let’s walk through how simple it is to do.

Sliced medium-rare steak on a wooden board garnished with fresh herbs, close-up view.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.
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What Is Reverse Searing?

Grilled steak with peppercorns on a wooden board, accompanied by herbs, tomatoes, and potato wedges on the side.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

Reverse searing is a two-part cooking method where the meat is first roasted at a low temperature and then seared over high heat. This technique allows for an even, edge-to-edge interior cook with a deliciously crispy outer crust. Starting with a slow roast draws out deep, rich flavors and tenderizes the meat, setting the stage for a quick, fiery sear that locks in juices. Reverse searing not only optimizes texture and moisture retention but also gives you precise control over the desired degree of doneness.

What Cuts of Meat It Works For

Raw steak seasoned with spices on a wooden board, accompanied by olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs.
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Reverse searing is suitable for a variety of steaks, from luxurious filet mignon to more economical top sirloin, ideally those that are thick (1 ½ to 2 inches) and well-marbled. Favorites include:

  • Ribeye
  • New York strip
  • T-bone

However, it’s not limited to just steak; beef roasts and other meats like venison or thick-cut pork chops are also excellent candidates.

Stay away from thinner cuts, which risk overcooking and stick to other cooking methods like grilling or stir-frying instead.

How It Compares To Grilling

Two steaks seasoned with herbs and spices cooking on a flaming grill, with smoke rising from the surface.
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Reverse searing and grilling are two distinct methodologies for cooking meat, each with its unique approach and results. Grilling involves cooking meat quickly over high heat, which imparts a smoky flavor and a charred exterior but can lead to uneven cooking and less moisture retention.

In contrast, reverse searing starts with slowly roasting the meat at a low temperature to achieve an even doneness from edge to edge, followed by a quick sear at high heat to create a crispy, caramelized crust.

The Overnight Dry Brine

Raw chuck eye steak seasoned with spices on a wooden cutting board.
Photo credit: Pexels.

An optional, but highly recommended overnight dry brine can elevate the reverse searing technique by bringing out the meat’s flavor and texture. This process involves salting the steak and letting it rest uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, which helps to season it deeply and draw out moisture for a better sear.

The salt also breaks down proteins within the meat, resulting in a juicier, more tender steak once cooked. Incorporating this step ensures a crustier sear and a more flavorful bite.

The Low and Slow Cook

Medium-rare steak garnished with rosemary, served with sliced oranges and seasonings on a slate plate.
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The low and slow phase of reverse searing is crucial for achieving even cooking and optimal tenderness. Done between 200-275°F, the steak cooks gently for a longer period of time. This method allows the entire cut to reach the target internal temperature without the edges overcooking.

Oven Method

A person holds a frying pan with steak, taking it out of an oven.
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To reverse sear a steak using the oven method, start by preheating your oven to a low setting, between 200-275°F (93-135°C). Place your seasoned steak on a rack set over a baking sheet; this setup allows air to circulate around the steak, ensuring it cooks evenly. Let the steak roast slowly until it reaches an internal temperature about 10-15°F below your desired doneness — this usually takes about 45-60 minutes for a 2-inch steak.

Grill Method

A steak with grill marks cooking on a barbecue next to a plate of grilled asparagus.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

For the grill method, set up your grill — charcoal or gas — for indirect cooking and preheat to a low heat of around 225-275°F. Place the steak on the cooler side of the grill to slowly come up to temperature. This indirect heat mimics the oven’s even heat environment, allowing the steak to cook slowly and evenly. After the steak reaches the target internal temperature (which should be 10-15°F below the desired doneness), it’s ready for the final sear.

Use The Right Equipment

Meat thermometer inserted into a steak showing "well done" on the grill, with rosemary sprigs.
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When reverse searing, precision is key, which makes the right equipment crucial. At the top of the list is an instant-read thermometer, an indispensable tool for this method. This device allows you to accurately check the internal temperature of your steak, ensuring it reaches the exact level of doneness desired before searing.

Sear It Off

A succulent steak frying in a pan with garlic cloves and fresh herbs, with butter foam around it.
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The final sear is the pivotal step of the reverse searing method, crucial for adding that rich, caramelized crust to your steak. Whether on the stovetop or grill, this stage should be done quickly over high heat.

On the stovetop, heat a cast iron skillet until it’s smoking hot, then add a bit of high-smoke-point oil or butter before placing your steak in the pan. Sear for about one to two minutes on each side, ensuring the surface gets a beautifully browned crust without overcooking the interior.

For those preferring the grill, after the steak has slowly reached the desired internal temperature through indirect heat, transfer it to the hottest part of the grill. Here, the intense direct heat will sear the steak swiftly, charring the surface while locking in moisture.

The key in both methods is speed; the steak should spend minimal time on the high heat to avoid drying out.

Reverse Seared Tri Tip

Reverse Seared Tri Tip. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

The reverse sear on this simple Tri-Tip recipe locks in flavor, creates a wonderful crispy crust and results in a tender, juicy steak that’s unbeatable!
Get the Recipe: Reverse Seared Tri Tip

Reverse Seared Hanger Steak

Reverse Seared Hanger Steak. Photo credit: Or Whatever You Do.

Try the Reverse Seared Hanger Steak with Bourbon Pan Sauce for an impressive meal option. The steak is finished off with a sear at a high temperature to develop a crisp crust, complemented by a rich bourbon sauce that enhances the robust flavors of the meat.
Get the Recipe: Reverse Seared Hanger Steak

Reverse Seared Flat Iron Steak Recipe

Reverse Seared Flat Iron Steak Recipe. Photo credit: Or Whatever You Do.

Our Reverse-Seared Flat Iron Steak is prepared by first smoking the steaks on a pellet grill, which infuses the meat with flavor while it cooks uniformly. Following the smoking phase, the steaks are seared off at high temperatures on a gas griddle or in a cast iron skillet to achieve a perfect crust.
Get the Recipe: Reverse Seared Flat Iron Steak Recipe

10 Genius Ways To Use Leftover Bacon Grease You Probably Haven’t Tried

Bacon being cooked in a frying pan.
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So, you’ve cooked up some bacon and now you’re left with a jar of bacon grease sitting on the counter. What’s next? Before you even think about tossing it, let me tell you there’s a whole world of uses for that flavorful fat. From cooking hacks to surprising twists in your recipes, bacon grease can be your kitchen’s secret weapon. Here are some fun ways to use it beyond just frying eggs.

See Them Here: 10 Genius Ways To Use Leftover Bacon Grease You Probably Haven’t Tried

Top 10 Most Common Food Safety Mistakes People Make At Home

A man and a boy are preparing hamburgers on a cutting board.
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Navigating kitchen safety can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield of dos and don’ts. Let’s shed some light on the common food safety mistakes that sneak into our daily routines. By understanding and adjusting these small, often overlooked actions, we can significantly improve our food handling practices and keep our kitchens and families safe.

See Them Here: Top 10 Most Common Food Safety Mistakes People Make At Home

The Best Fast Food Sides That Go Beyond Fries

A variety of fast food items on a wooden table.
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Let’s face it, when we think fast food, it’s the burgers and fries that usually steal the show. But what about the unsung heroes of the menu, those side dishes that can turn a quick meal into something special? From the crispy, golden perfection of onion rings to the fluffy, buttery bliss of biscuits, there’s a whole world of flavor waiting to be explored. We’re diving into some of the most delicious and underrated fast food sides out there.

See Them Here: The Best Fast Food Sides That Go Beyond Fries

Select images provided by Depositphotos.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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