How to Reverse Sear a Steak

I was browsing through IG the other day and came across a few pages that mentioned reverse searing and how much better it is when cooking steaks and pork chops. Now, as much as I love cooking I have failed at every attempt I have made at cooking steak. It just never works out how I think it should. I know my first mistake is the cut of meat and the quality. Since I'm new to Austin and was exploring I decided to find a local butcher and try this thing out. 

So, I spent $90 on steak (shush...don't tell Willow)! I figured if I was going to try this out I better do it right. I found a place called Lee's Meat Market. When I walked in I didn't see any meat so I figured I was in the wrong place. I asked the cashier about their meats and she explained that they have a butcher in the back who cuts your meat to your liking such as thickness and weight. I was shocked because you don't come across too many butchers these days and typically go to the store and just pick a piece of meat and go on about your business. My mom explained the meat business to me once we talked and how they were once unionized and then they weren't and how they went out of business. Here's a nice article on the art of butchering and how it's dying. 

So back to reverse searing. I even had someone ask me if I made it up and she's also a food with culinary experience. It's not well known or even practiced too much but I think once people try it one good time they won't cook meat any other way. The full history of the reverse sear is a little hazy. It's one of those techniques that seem to have been developed independently by multiple people right around the same time. With all the interest in food science and precision cooking techniques like sous vide that cropped up in the early 2000s, I imagine the time was simply ripe for it to come around.

It's called the reverse sear because it flips tradition on its head. Historically, almost every cookbook and chef have taught that when you're cooking a piece of meat, the first step should be searing. Most often, the explanation is that searing "locks in juices." These days, we know that this statement is definitively false. Searing does not actually lock in juices at all; it merely adds flavor. Flipping the formula so that the searing comes at the end produces better results.So let's get started! 

The process of reverse-searing is really simple:

1. Season a roast or a thick-cut steak (the method works best with steaks at least one and a half to two inches thick).

2. Arrange the meat on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and place it in a low oven—between 200 and 275°F (93 and 135°C). You can also do this outdoors by placing the meat directly on the cooler side of a closed grill with half the burners on.

3. Cook it until it's about 10 to 15°F below your desired serving temperature (see the chart at the end of this section), then take it out and sear it in a ripping-hot skillet, or on a grill that's as hot as you can get it.

Then dig into the best-cooked steak you've ever had in your life. I'm not even a fan of steaks but this was honestly the best steak I have ever made and ever had. The leftovers were even perfect. 

Here's a quick chart to help you with the temperature depending on how you like your steak, I'm a fan of medium myself.

Reverse-Seared Steak Temperature and Timing for 1 1/2–Inch Steaks in a 250°F (120°C) Oven

Rare 105°F (40°C)120°F (49°C)20 to 25 minutes

Medium-Rare 115°F (46°C)130°F (54°C)25 to 30 minutes

Medium 125°F (52°C)140°F (60°C)30 to 35 minutes

Medium-Well 135°F (57°C)150°F (66°C)35 to 40 minutes

** All time ranges are approximate. Use a thermometer! **

 Photo courtesy of Serious Eats.

Photo courtesy of Serious Eats.

There you have it. Now go be great and reverse sear your steak!