Have you ever tried the reverse sear? It’s a method of cooking a steak that many claims to produce the best steak ever. In short, the reverse sear somewhat mimics the methods used by the world’s best steakhouses.
Traditionally, steakhouses like Peter Luger in New York City will quickly sear their steaks over incredibly high heat, then transfer it to an oven to slowly bring up the internal temperature to the desired doneness. The reverse sear is the same, but backwards.
By slowly raising the internal temperature in the steak and searing at the end, you can guarantee that your steak will be a perfect medium rare all the way through.
What You Need
Besides a grill that can easily be set up for two-zone indirect cooking, you will also need a quality digital thermometer. I highly recommend the Thermapen, which is an instant-read thermometer and is extremely quick and accurate.
Cuts of Steak
Not all steaks are created equal. You are going to need to choose a steak that is at least 1” thick for the reverse sear to work. Traditional steakhouse cuts like striploin, ribeye, t-bone, and filet mignon will be your best bet.
You will also want a steak that has a higher level of marbling and is graded as being at least “AAA” or “Choice”. In short, the higher the level of marbling, the more flavorful the steak will be. Never forget fat = flavor.
When is it Done?
Without fail, there will be someone at every party I go to who has some perfect way of knowing when his steak is cooked. It usually involves touching the palm of his hand and comparing it to the steak or something like that.
Let me tell you to know: unless you are using a quality digital thermometer to read your steaks internal temperature, anything else you are doing is merely guessing. A digital thermometer will always tell us what the temperature is inside your meat if it is done, almost done, or done every time.
When you cook your steak you’re going to want to check it frequently to make sure you don’t go past your desired temp. Then once it is close, you will remove it and crank up the heat to finish.
Medium Rare: 130°F
Well Done: 160°F
Serves: depends, but typically 1 steak per person
Prep time: 5 minutes to season the steaks, up to 24 hours to dry brine them
Cook time: 30 – 45 minutes
- Thick cut (at least 1” thick) steaks – Striploin is my personal favorite
- Kosher salt – ¼ tsp per pound of beef
- Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Lay your steak on a raised rack on a baking sheet and sprinkle the kosher salt on both sides. Place the steaks in your refrigerator for at least 6 hours and as long as overnight. This is called “dry brining”.
The salt will draw moisture out of the meat, dissolve the salt, then be reabsorbed into the meat; ultimately giving us a juicier, more flavorful steak.
Set up your grill for two-zone indirect cooking. Prepare to initially cook at 250° - 275°F and place your steaks on the “cool” side of the grill.
Check your temperature ever 15 – 20 minutes. When your steaks are 5° - 10°F below your desired finished temperature, remove them from the grill.
With the steaks off the grill crank the heat up. If using a charcoal grill, light more charcoal and dump on top of what you already had burned. Ultimately you want your steak to be at least 500°F.
When your grill is at the desired searing temp, place your steaks back on the grill. Every 30 seconds or so, flip your steak. After 2 minutes, check your internal temperature and remove once you have reached your desired doneness.
Season your steak with a little fresh cracked black pepper, and serve.
Enjoy your perfectly cooked steak!