How to Reverse Sear A Steak

It always amazes me when I watch someone take a deliciously large piece of meat and deliberately set out to destroying it.

I mean, in my experience, I’ve seen countless cases of “Death By Cooking”(and I just have to bite my tongue), and you probably have seen this, too:

The Typical Way People Abuse Steaks:

1. Fire up a grill to almost unbearable temperatures.

2. Plop down a poor, defenseless slab of “Butcher’s Pride and Joy” Steak.

3. Flip it 40 ways to Sunday.

4. Slice it cruelly with a knife as it’s trying desperately to cook, and let those precious juices smolder.

5. Smile helplessly as that large block of overcooked shoe leather lies stiffly quiet on the cutting board.

I’ll bet that if you’re more advanced than that lost soul, your renditions are far more palatable. I commend you!

Now, my way of cooking thin steaks in a cast iron pan or on a grill is almost fool-proof, but when I get into larger cuts of meat, well, that’s another story.

You’ll see in almost every recipe that deals with big cuts of meat, the first few sentences of the instructions tells you to sear the outsides. And sear that dog unmercifully, too! I’m here to tell you, that’s just plain wrong.

You’re told that searing first seals in the juices. Well that’s almost right. Searing before cooking may just cause the meat to retain perhaps an additional 8%, or a little more, of the steak’s moisture than my “Reverse Sear” method. But what actually happens is that there is now a pretty thick section of meat that’s completely dried out and overcooked under that seared exterior. Continuing to cook that poor unfortunate will only drive more moisture deeper into the meat. So much so that the center may never actually get to properly cook at all!

A better way is to do what is called a “Reverse Sear”. I know, the first time you try the reverse sear method, it will seem counterintuitive, and perhaps a bit awkward. But believe me when I tell you, a reverse seared piece of meat is the best you will ever get!

You oven cook the meat gently until an instant reading thermometer reads 10 degrees F under the doneness you want to achieve. Then you let the meat rest for 15 minutes. This allows the meat’s natural juices time to redistribute themselves throughout the meat and for the meat to finish coming up to temperature. Then you quickly sear the meat’s outsides to form that nice tasty dark bark.

Here’s a favorite recipe of mine:

Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak


12 ounce ribeye steak

Himalayan Pink salt and freshly ground black pepper as you may desire

Sweet Hungarian paprika as you may desire

Onion powder and garlic powder as you may desire

1 tablespoon Avocado oil


Preheat oven to 275°F.

Cover a baking tray with foil.

Rub all the seasonings you may desire all over steak.

Bake steak until a remote reading thermometer reaches a temperature of 130°F.

[The exact temperature is 10 degrees less than whatever you want to end up with. I like my meat ‘medium’].

Remove the steak from the oven, wrap with foil, and let sit 15 minutes.

On an outdoor grill, heat an oiled cast iron pan to a brutal 600°F.

Sear the steak on both sides until a nice dark bark crust has formed.

Let the steak rest off the heat about 15 minutes before serving.

Norm Huffnagle enjoys sharing exotic recipes with friends and family. Although more of a ‘gourmand’ than a ‘gourmet’, he does ‘dabble’ in that arcane art of unconventional cooking to the point that he has actually been invited back to do repeat performances. Norm specializes in ancient Chinese dishes, various flavors of Chilis, contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, and Special Occasion cookbooks.

Check out his avatar’s Author Page on Amazon to see what other cookbooks are available:

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