What Is Reverse Searing? And How Do It Cook Steaks Using This Technique?

Touted by many world-renown chefs as being the best way to cook steaks, reverse searing has become increasingly popular in recent years. This alternative cooking technique combines both low-heat and high-heat cooking to offer truly mouthwatering steaks. Whether you're cooking sirloins, filets, New York strips or ribeyes, you can't go wrong with reverse searing.

Reverse Searing Explained

Reverse searing is a cooking technique that involves cooking steaks -- or any other meat for that matter -- at a low temperature and then moving the steaks to a grill where they finish at a higher temperature. The idea is to evenly cook the inside of the steaks by exposing them to low heat. After the inside has cooked, you transfer the steaks to your grill to achieve a chargrilled exterior.

Benefits of Reverse Searing Steaks

Depending on the size of your steaks, cooking them entirely on the grill may result in an overcooked exterior and undercooked interior. If your steaks are too thick -- typically over 1-inch thick -- the exterior will cook more quickly than the interior. As the exterior of your steaks begins to burn, the interior will remain undercooked. Even if you prefer your steaks medium rare, you may struggle to achieve a pink interior when cooking them on the grill.

Reverse searing, however, allows you to easily cook the interior of your steaks to a desirable temperature without burning the exterior. You cook the steaks at a low temperature, and then you cook them at a higher temperature for a shorter length of time. It's an highly useful technique that will help you cook better, more delicious steaks. The exterior will have a semi-crispy, chargrilled texture without being burnt.

Step #1) Prepare Your Steaks

To get started, you should prepare the steaks that you want to reverse sear. You can cook any type of steaks using this technique, but it's particularly effective for thick cuts. Regardless, you should prepare your steaks by trimming unwanted fat as well as seasoning or marinating them. If you're going to marinate your steaks, it's recommended that you let them soak in the marinade for at least two hours, preferably at least six hours for maximum flavor. Just remember to avoid marinating steaks for longer than 24 hours, as this increases the risk of foodborne illness.

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Step #2) Cook Steaks at a Low Temperature

Next, you need to cook your steaks at a low temperature. There are two ways to cook steaks at a low temperature when reverse searing: either inside the oven or on your grill. When cooking steaks in the oven, set the temperature for 260 to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooking steaks on the grill, create a cold zone by stacking all the charcoal or wood to one side. By placing your steaks here, they'll cook at a low temperature. When the internal temperature of your steaks reads about 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you can proceed to the next step.

Step #3) Move Steaks to Your Grill

Now it's time to finish your steaks on the grill. If you began your steaks on the grill, move them from the cold zone to the hot zone. Of course, the hot zone is the area of the grate that's directly above the burning charcoal or wood. The heat from the charcoal or wood will rise and, therefore, heat up the grate in the hot zone.

Before adding your steaks to the grill, brush the grate with a small amount of oil to create a nonstick surface. Using a pair of tongs or a grill spatula, carefully move your steaks to the hot zone of the grate. Keep in mind that your steaks will cook significantly faster when placed directly over the burning charcoal or wood. In many cases, it may only take three or four minutes to sear each side of the steak. After allowing your steaks to cook on the grill for three or four minutes, flip them. And after they've cooked for three or four minutes on this side, you can remove them.

When you are finished searing your steaks, let them sit at room temperature for about five minutes. This allows the juices to settle, resulting in increased tenderness and flavor.

In Conclusion

Reverse searing is a culinary technique that involves the use of both low heat and high heat to cook meat. It's difficult to cook the interior of thick steaks to a desirable temperature without burning the exterior. Reverse searing, however, is an effective solution for this otherwise common problem. It involves cooking steaks at a low temperature -- either in an oven or a cold zone on the grill -- and then finishing them at a higher temperature.

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About The Author

Leroy Hite

Leroy Hite is the founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood, an ultra-premium firewood and cooking wood company located in Atlanta, Georgia. Leroy's mission is to give people the experience of the perfect fire because some of life’s best memories are made in the warmth of a fire’s glow. He founded Cutting Edge Firewood in 2013 with a goal to provide unmatched quality wood and unparalleled customer service nationwide. The company offers premium kiln-dried firewood, cooking wood, and pizza wood in a wide variety of species and cuts to customers around the country.