8 Easy Steps: How To Reverse Sear A Steak To Shine Your Meal

How to reverse sear a steak

The fact that reverse searing is one of the unique methods to bring a steak with an extremely attractive flavor and color.

How To Reverse Sear A Steak featured

If you haven’t tried this method yet, you can learn it now by scrolling down. The information below is all the processes and tips for making a perfect reverse-seared steak.

Why Should You Reverse Sear A Steak?

Tender

Meat Tenderness
Meat Tenderness

One of the reasons you should learn how to cook steak by this method is because the meat will be very tender due to the enzymatic tenderization process. 

The fact that meat contains a natural enzyme called “Cathepsin” helps break down the tough meat. Their activity is the condition to help the meat become more tender.

These enzymes work faster as they heat up and decrease at about 122°F. Therefore, reverse searing helps the meat heat up slowly, ensuring that the temperature is maintained for the enzymes to work properly. As a result, the meat is more tender. 

Comparing this method with traditional methods, you can clearly see the time difference. Traditional methods are faster, and the meat temperature quickly drops to 122°F, causing the tenderness not to reach a high level.

Color

Dark brown crust
Dark brown crust

One of the steak’s goals is to create a dark brown crust. To do this, you need to understand the Maillard reaction.

The Maillard process happens after the heat from the cast-iron pan transfers to the meat surfaces. It causes the surface moisture to evaporate. After Maillard activates, you will definitely have a satisfactory brown meat layer.

The point is that this process needs to happen sequentially. The water at the surface of the meat won’t evaporate until it reaches 212°F. 

The Maillard reaction doesn’t really happen when the meat dries out but until the temperature reaches 300°F or higher.

Therefore, the reverse sear method helps keep the surface moisture. By using the oven first, Maillard is activated before searing. When you put it on a cast-iron skillet, it gives a nicer brown color (Mallard continues to happen).

Evenly Cooked Meat 

Evenly steak
Evenly steak

The higher the temperature, the easier it is to cook unevenly. 

Therefore, the reverse searing method begins to cook the meat in the oven at a low temperature. 

It prevents the heat transfer between the cast-iron pan and the meat from being abrupt. That helps reduce the risk of the protein getting overcooked, and the final result is juicy meat.

Flexibility

Cooking steak at high heat requires you to accurately measure time to get the perfect medium-rare steak. However, that time is only one minute, too short and difficult for a beginner. 

So, reverse searing helps you cook more slowly, determine the right temperature at each step, and make sure you hit the perfect steak.

How To Reverse Sear A Steak 

Preparation

Ingredients

  • Rib-eye for steak : 2″ thick (around 5 cm)
  • Butter : 2 tablespoons
  • Salt : 1 teaspoon (to taste)
  • Black Pepper : 1 teaspoon (to taste)
  • Canola oil : 3 tablespoon
  • Peeled and crushed cloves garlic : 3 pieces
  • Sprigs fresh rosemary : 2
  • Sprigs fresh thyme : 3
  • Peeled and crushed cloves garlic : 2

You should note that the ingredients below are a sample to reverse sear a steak. It’s up to your serving and experience to change the number of ingredients. 

Tools

  • Oven : 1 piece
  • Iron-cast pan : 1 piece
  • Meat thermometer : 1 piece
  • Tongs : 1 piece
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • Oven rack

Cooking Process

Information For Cooking

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Steps To Cook

Step 1: Start with oven

When you start doing the reverse searing method, you need to warm up your oven. Let’s set the oven temperature at 200°F or 95°C for 10 minutes. Then, you can go to the next steps.

Step 2: Marinade

Marinade step
Marinade step before grilling in the oven

To enjoy the most pronounced meat flavor, you just season meat with salt & pepper on all sides. After the marinade, you will put it in an oven rack.

Marinade time is about 30-40 minutes before placing in the oven.

Note that you should wipe both sides of the meat with a paper towel before marinating it to make the meat surface dry. 

Step 3: Cook in oven

grill meat in oven
Cook in the oven before searing

As mentioned above, you will grill the meat in the oven before searing so that the Cathepsin enzymes work at their maximum efficiency. 

Accordingly, let’s place the meat on the grill rack and set the time from 20 to 40 minutes. You will finish this step when the internal temperature reads around 12°F (50°C), and that’s done for medium-rare.

Depending on the level of doneness of the meat you want, you can adjust the grill time. If you want the meat well done, you can leave it for about 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Step 4: Prepare for searing

Prepare iron cast skillet
Prepare iron cast skillet

Before searing, you need to preheat your pan. Let’s pour the prepared canola oil into the pan and keep the heat high until the oil smokes.

Note that you should not use other oils because their evaporation points are significantly different. 

For example, olive oil will smoke before reaching the temperature you need to searing. Canola is the standard vegetable oil to get the signal of searing. 

Determining the standard temperature for searing is extremely important because it affects the quality and the doneness of the steak.

Step 5: Sear and flip

sear and flip
Sear one side, then flip a steak.

After placing the steak in the hot oil pan, you need to wait 1 minute. This step is called “searing” because you don’t need to do anything but wait for the meat cooked by the heat transfer from the pan and the oil.

After 1 minute, you will flip the steak to begin searing the other side. Pay attention that 1 minute will pass very quickly. If you are careless about being over time, the meat may get burnt.

Step 6: Adding sub materials

Adding sub materials for steak
Adding sub materials for steak

To give the steak a great flavor, you’ll add the mentioned ingredients above right after flipping the steak over.

You will put the butter and cloves of garlic on the edge of the skillet. You should avoid putting butter on steak, especially directly on top of the meat, which will create an uneven flavor of the whole piece. 

You can place rosemary and thyme directly on top of the meat to avoid them being fried while searing.

Step 7: Marinate while searing

In 1 minute of searing, you have melty butter and cooked garlic cloves. It combines with oil to create a mixture that glorifies the aroma of the steak. 

You need to wait 1 more minute to allow this mixture to marinate the meat. During this time, let’s spoon the sauce over the top of the steak. 

You should pour it directly over the sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme to make them ripen and release their signature aroma.

When the time is over, you flip steak with tongs and continue searing the other side for 15 seconds.

Note that you spoon the butter-oil mixture over the top when you turn it over.

Step 8: Searing the sides

At the end of the steps above, you can use tongs to flip the steak for searing its sides. This way helps you remove excess fat in the steak for a healthier dish.

Step 9: Enjoy

Enjoy reverse-seared steak
Enjoy reverse-seared steak

Let’s decorate a bit to make it eye-catching when enjoying. After cutting the steak, you can see attractive pink meat with a beautiful crust. You have your choice to serve with some side dishes like potatoes or mushrooms for a more diverse flavor.

Nutrition fact

USDA has confirmed the below nutrition fact for every 3-ounce (85g) of ribeye steak.

Calories : 199 kcal

Carbohydrates : 0g

Fat : 10.8g

Sodium : 50.2mg

Sugars : 0g

Fiber : 0g

Protein : 23.8g

Tips For Making A Perfect Reverse-Seared Steak

Recommended Temperature And Cooking Time In Oven Step

Note that this is the parameter for steak 1½ inches thick in a low-temperature oven. 

Doneness

Oven target temperature 

(°F)

Final temperature

(°F)

Time (minutes)

Rare 

105

120

20 – 25

Medium – rare

115

130

25 – 30

Medium

125

140

30 – 35 

Medium – well

135

150

35 – 40 

How To Cut The Reverse-seared Steak

Cutting steak
Cutting steak

For kinds of steak like ribeye steak or flanken-style short ribs, you should cut them thinner than 1 inch. 

For bone-in ribeyes, porterhouses, tomahawks, or any other kinds, these are thick-cut steaks, so you should cut it more than an inch. 

Meat Thermometers Are Vital

You definitely need a thermometer to measure the temperature of the meat. It is difficult to judge the perfection of a steak if only measured by estimation.

Common Mistakes and Solutions

Choose The Wrong Steak Part

Not every part of beef can be suitable to cook steak, so you need to pay attention to choose the right type, quality, and suit your preferences to have a quality steak. 

Solution: Don’t try to choose the steak part by yourself. You should base on the available recipe to choose high-quality meat. 

Forget To Dry The Meat Surface

It is a very important part of getting a perfect and delicious brown steak. People often forget it, and as a result, they lower the quality of their steak. 

Solution: Remember to always dry the surface of the meat with a paper towel.

Use A Nonstick Pan To Make Steak

People often have a fear that the meat will stick to the pan when searing. Therefore, they think that using a nonstick pan is more effective. 

However, that is not true. A non-stick pan will never give you a perfectly browned steak because these pans’ materials are not good for accumulating enough heat.

Solution: Use the iron-cast skillet

Putting Too Many Ingredients In The Skillet

When you put too many ingredients in the skillet, it will be difficult to control what is cooking.

That’s why a casual steak recipe has simple ingredients. Although you can vary the recipe with a variety of ingredients, you should keep this note in your mind.

Putting too many things in skillets causes difficulty in flipping the meat. Even when successfully flipping, you face a problem that the other side of the meat is not 100% searing. It is because of overlapping with other ingredients.

Solution: Trying a suitable skillet for the corresponding recipe. Or if you have a small skillet, you should use a simple recipe with fewer ingredients. 

Cut The Meat Right After It’s Done

It is also a common mistake that people face. You need to let the steak rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. If you cut it right away, all the internal juices inside the meat will leak out, leading to the steak drying out. 

Solution: Waiting for about 10 minutes to cut 

Cut The Steak In The Same Direction Parallel Of The Meat

How to cut steak
How to cut steak

The meat contains strong, tough muscle fibers and has a parallel structure like a string. If you cut the meat along these muscle lines, the piece of meat will be extremely tough. 

Solution: Cut the meat across the grain to enjoy the tender steak

Final Thoughts

If you have understood how to reverse sear a steak, you can try to make it once.

The fact that reverse sear a steak is just one of the methods to make the process easier. Therefore, you can refer to many other methods to find the most suitable choice for yourself.

Hopefully, this article will help you get the best experience with your reverse-seared steak. Now, get ready to keep your hands busy for a restaurant-quality steak!

Roger Lee
Roger Lee

Thanks for visiting my website. My name is Roger Lee, and I am a 30-year-old man with a hybrid blood of Chinese and Russian. I decided to set up this site to share with everyone my love and passion for open-air cuisine. It all started when my parents opened a restaurant and I had the chance of getting exposed to the art of outdoor cooking.
This website aims at sharing about my hobby, recipes, and tips for cooking to everyone. Try them out and tell me about your experience.