One of my favorite techniques for cooking steak is the reverse sear method. But what is reverse sear and why is it so awesome? This post will teach you how to reverse sear steak!
What is reverse sear?
Basically, the concept of reverse searing steak is to cook a large steak at very low temperature in the oven, allow it to rest, and then sear it at very high temperature for just a minute or two.
Wait, won’t I just end up with gray steak?
No, surprisingly not! The steak is cooked at such a low temperature that YES, it will be gray on the outside but the inside will be whatever internal temperature you cook it to. It’s super important to have a meat thermometer to track your internal temperature.
If you can get a meat thermometer that you live in for the entire time, that’s ideal. My favorite is the ThermoPro because I can pop the thermometer on the stove and it will ding when it reaches my desired internal temperature.
What kind of steaks should I use for reverse sear?
Reverse searing is not meant for thin sticks or steaks that cook relatively quickly, such as skirt steak or filet mignon.
Opt for this method when you have a big hunk of steak like a big NY strip or ribeye or large sirloin steak.
This method really works best when your steak is at least one pound and at least 1½ inches thick.
The Method and Why It’s So Great:
I absolutely love preparing steaks this way. It’s so easy! I have a few reasons why the reverse sear method is my favorite:
- Cooking the steak in a low-temp oven removes a lot of moisture from the surface of the steak, meaning you’ll be able to get a beautiful crust when you sear it later.
- The low, even heat means you’ll have more control over the final temperature. It’s very similar to the concept of sous vide cooking without the expensive equipment.
- You’ll have nearly edge-to-edge pink, without any gray rings
So that’s why reverse searing is amazing, but here are two unexpected results of the method that I love:
- While the steak is cooking in the oven, you can get the rest of your dinner prepared without worrying about overcooking the steak.
- Second, you rest before you sear which means you get to slice the steak and serve immediately when it’s piping hot but perfectly rare or medium-rare.
What temperature should I cook my steak to?
When I do this method, I like to cook it to 127ºF (precise, I know) because I like to sear for closer to 2 minutes per side because I like a really dark crust on my steak. Below are general temperature recommendations:
- Rare: 125ºF
- Medium Rare:130ºF
- Well done: 160ºF (But you wouldn’t do this, right? RIGHT?)
Reverse Seared Steak
- Wire rack
- Sheet pan
- Aluminum foil
- 1-2 pound large steak, such as ribeye, sirloin, London broil, or New York strip at least 1½'' thick
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil fry frying
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Optional aromatics, such as crushed garlic, rosemary, or thyme
Bake the Steak:
- Start with a large, thick steak. Pat the steak dry and season liberally all over with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 250ºF.
- Line the sheet pan with foil and place the wire frack on top. Place the steak on the wire rack and transfer to the oven for 45-60 minutes or until desired internal temperature is reached. If you don't have a thermometer in the steak constantly, check it regularly after the 30 minute mark.
- Once the steak reaches desired internal temperature (between 125ºF and 135ºF for rare to medium rare), remove from the oven and transfer to a plate to rest for 10 minutes. You do not need to tent it with foil.
Sear the Steak:
- In a skillet, heat the neutral oil over high heat until almost smoking.
- Add the steak and the butter and aromatics, if using. Baste the steak with the melted butter for 1-2 minutes until a crust forms on the steak. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Slice the steak immediately and enjoy!