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Pro Tip for Serious Eats: Mastering the Reverse Sear

mat dumont Reverse Sear

We’ve all suffered from dried out steaks from an in-law who had no clue what he was doing.

He just bought the biggest steaks he could find on the shelves and figured that “the bigger the better”. From there on, the steaks were seared, cooked and dried before they ever made it to your plate.

When you take a step back it takes as little as two seconds to realize that the reason why the meat is so dry is flagrant.  

Being so thick, your steak never stood a chance against the scorching heat of a full-throttled BBQ. By the time the internal temperature hits the desired degree, in the middle, most of your steak is dried out. 

Cooking thick cuts of steaks should be approached with a different technique. Reverse searing is still a mystery to most people when it should, in fact, be a go-to technique.


What’s reverse searing

As the name suggests, it’s pretty much doing exactly the opposite of what you are doing while searing. 

If the thought of spending 50 minutes on a steak is ludicrous to you, get ready to be mind blown!

The science behind reverse searing helps you master a wall-to-wall pink steak with yet a perfect crust on the outside. 

Such a result is obtained by slowly cooking steaks at 250/275°F until they reach the desired internal temperature (130°F), letting them rest a couple of minutes and then flash searing each side for 90 seconds.

This incredible technique opens up a world of new possibilities when it comes to packing in some smoke into those delicious and juicy steaks!

Because the steaks are cooked very slowly, they not only cook evenly, the muscles will also not contract, keeping the meat nice and tender with all those divine juices. 

You can either rub your steaks beforehand or you can rub them minutes before the sear. The more herbs and aromas there are in the rub and the earlier you apply them in the cooking process, the more you will benefit from those flavours.

You obviously want to sear on a BBQ that is as hot as possible. This is where having an infrared side burner comes in handy.


When and What to Use This Technique With

It is easy to understand when you should reverse sear a steak.

If your steak is thicker than 1.5 inches, and if you have time, you should reverse sear it.

You do not want to use this technique with smaller steaks as they will turn out overcooked and will disappoint you.

The benefits of investing more time on your steak outweigh the sole disadvantage of taking more time. That is if you care about the end product, of course.

The key to perfect results every time here boils down to how good a thermometer you have.

Reverse searing allows you to have full control over the entire cook as the low temperature works very progressively. Having a good quality thermometer ensures that you will always be on track with how you like your steak cooked.

As you let the meat rest once it’s out of the BBQ, you won’t need to let it rest a second time after the sear. This means you get to eat as soon as it’s ready!

That alone is one of the main reasons I enjoy this technique as it allows me to fully enjoy the browned edges and melted fat on ribeye steaks without wasting any of that meaty buttery flavour.

If you were wondering what cuts of meat work best with this method, I encourage you to try it with Bone-in Ribeye steaks, Tomahawks or you can also use it for prime roasts. 

With this new technique added to your arsenal, you’ll be able to really steal the show next time you are having in-laws over and become the true pitmaster of the family.