What Is Reverse Searing?

Ready for a game changer?

Have you tried cooking a steak? Then you've probably come across the typical way of cooking it: searing a cut of steak on a cast-iron pan at room temperature, then finishing it on low heat in the oven. However, this can yield a less-than-perfect steak with a band of overcooked, grayish meat near the crust.

You can easily avoid this! You need to learn how to reverse sear a steak because it can seriously up your steak game.

What is a perfect steak?

A perfect steak is one that has a nice, deep brown, crispy crust and a pink interior. The more uniform the color inside-ranging from rare to medium-the better it is. The browned outside is flavorful, the pink inside is juicy with flavor, and every bite-if the cut is right-should be tender.

The perfect steak is often accomplished using a sous vide method.

To sous vide, what you're cooking is placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooked in a pot of intensely regulated, precise temperature-controlled water. The sous vide method produces consistent, near-perfect results each time. However, the small kitchen appliance may not be easily accessible to home cooks as the gadget can be quite expensive. Also, it's hard to achieve that perfectly browned crust after cooking via sous vide because the surface of the meat doesn't become hot enough to promote browning.

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That's why chefs developed a way to cook a perfect steak with a browned crust while still using a sous vide machine.  

There's a method that complements sous vide: reverse searing.

First of all, what is searing? Searing used to be about sealing in juices, but that's been debunked. Today, we know that what searing does is encourage the Maillard reaction which makes cooked, browned food tasty. Typically, steak is seared first, and then roasted but with reverse searing, the steak is roasted at a low, low temperature first, then seared.

Here's a simple step-by-step of how to reverse sear a steak:

We took a page from Serious Eats and made a super simple guide on how you can reverse sear your steak. It's quite life-changing. Here's what you need to know: 

Sage specializes in perfectly cooked and seasoned steaks like this mouth-watering ribeye and vegetable charcoal-encrusted tenderloin.
Photo courtesy of Sage Bespoke Grill

1 Choose a thick cut of steak.

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You need your steak cut to be at least one and a half inches thick. Any less and you're in danger of overcooking your steak once you are searing it.

2 Dry out the surface of your steak.

Simply season your steak with salt and pepper, and place on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Place the steaks in your refrigerator overnight, so the surface of the steak will dry out. This quickens the browning process of your steak later on when you sear it.

Photo by Riell Santos

3 Cook your steak at the lowest oven temperature.

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Preheat your oven to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees F). Place your steak with rack and tray straight into your preheated oven. Check your steak's internal temperature every five minutes after the first ten minutes. Aim for a temperature that is 15 degrees C (59 degrees F) lower than the final internal temperature you're going for.

What internal temperature should you be going for? Check this video guide. A few degrees spell the difference between medium-rare, medium, and well done.

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Photo by from Pixabay

4 Sear on high heat.

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Sear the very same way as you always did. Preheat your cast iron on high heat, and place your steak with a good amount of delicious butter. Sear for about 45 seconds on each side, then press the sides of the steak into the hot oil to sear those, and you're done. You can then eat it right away as this method of cooking doesn't even need you to rest your steak.

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You'll never cook steak a different way ever again. It will be juicy, tender, and bursting with flavor every time when you follow this unique way of cooking your steak. 

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