Introducing the Reverse Sear: The Foolproof Hack for Cooking a Perfect Steak Every Time

08/10/2015 at 02:42 PM ET

Reverse Seared Steak
Juanmonino/Getty

Overcooked beef — it’s one of cooking’s most heartbreaking tales.

You know the scenario: In an effort to treat yourself, you head to the grocery store. It’s steak night. And we’re not talking your run-of-the-mill skirt or hanger steak (though we love those, too); we’re talking big-money items. Ribeyes! New York strips! Heck, even filet mignon, if you’re really rolling in it.

With the best intentions and knowledge available to you, you cook them. Grill, stove top, however you feel most comfortable.

And then, the tragedy strikes: You cut in. Gray. Dry. Sad.

Pass the ketchup. Pass the A1. Pass the Kleenex.

You will, of course, go through the stages of grief over this loss of pure beef flavor and hard-earned dollars. You will blame yourself. You will blame the recipe you followed to the letter. You will blame the cow, selfishly.

Well, we are here to ensure this never happens to you again. How, you ask? We give you … The Reverse Sear. Let us show you …

Yes. You should be putting your steak in the oven before you sear it. Really.

You see, the problem with steak cookery is there’s always a degree of guesswork involved. Only the most seasoned chefs can really tell how it’s done just by feeling it, so we have to do some science.

Don’t be scared! It’s really easy science.

By roasting it to begin with, you are getting the steaks exactly where you want them, so all you have to do is sear them in a (really, really) hot skillet to get the crust before serving.

When you cook them entirely on the stove top or grill, you run the risk of overcooking the outer edges before the inside gets a chance to cook at all. This is a sad thing.

The low and slow method will yield perfect medium-rare results throughout the steak, similar to the popular restaurant technique of cooking sous-vide.

Oh, and there’s one more thing you probably noticed: You’re gonna need a meat thermometer.

We know, we know extra equipment! Annoying! But they’re cheap-o and they are an absolute kitchen necessity. Again, it’s all about taking out the guesswork. (Come Thanksgiving, your turkey will appreciate this tool as well.)

And, as always, a good steak needs nothing more than salt and pepper to make it sing beautiful music in your mouth.

The Reverse Seared Steak
Makes 2
2 Ribeye or New York strip steaks (1 to 1 ½ inches thick)
Kosher salt and course black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 250°F.
2. Place your steaks on a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a rack. Season generously with salt and pepper.
3. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until an instant-read thermometer reads 125°F for medium rare. (Check them around the 40-minute mark first, as oven temperatures and steak thickness will vary.) Let rest 5 minutes.
4. In an EXTREMELY hot cast iron skillet or grill, cook steaks one minute per side, until a dark brown crust forms.
5. Let rest another 10 minutes, slice, and serve.

—Shay Spence, @chezspence

FILED UNDER: Expert Tips , Food , Recipes

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Showing 6 comments

Foodie Mathematician on

I ALWAYS over-cook steaks!
So excited to try this tonight!
Perfect summer BBQ idea!

foodformeplease on

Looks great🙂

Mandy on

Who has an hour to cook a steak. This is brutal. Just sear and pan roast each side 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat, cover with foil and let rest 5 more minutes. Perfection every time.

s ritz on

Tried this last night-perfect!

Mark on

I’ve been using the reverse sear method for a couple years now. I won’t ever do steaks any other way. BUT – it is not just a matter of this process being easier, or ensuring that you get the internal temperature is correct. The best part of this technique is the ability to have a steak that is medium-rare (or whatever temp you want it) ALL THE WAY THROUGH, not just a thin strip through the middle of the steak. With standard grilling techniques, you generally end up with an outside that is well done, then a layer of MW, then M, then finally a thin portion that is actually cooked to the temperature you want. This technique is not only idiot-proof, it also results in a much more enjoyable piece of meat.

Rex Kowaleski on

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