Recently we cooked a lovely 2 inch thick rib-eye steak using the reverse sear technique. The beef was cooked evenly throughout, and the rubbed seared crust was outstanding. It was some of the best steak we have experienced, our cats confirming this assessment.
What is Reverse Sear?
Steaks up to an inch thick can be cooked using direct heat methods. However, when this approach is used for thicker steaks, the outside cooks sooner than the interior, leading to a burnt crust and/or raw centre.
Reverse searing is a method for cooking thicker steaks, normally 2 inches or more but I’ve done it with 1-1.5 inch rump steak and that’s been great. The technique ensures an even level of “pinkness” throughout, with a seared and tasty exterior. The steak is carved for serving, which looks impressive at the dinner table.
The reverse sear technique is a three-stage process:
- Roast (and optionally smoke) the steak until it is nearly done.
- Wrap and rest it for a few minutes, during which the steak will continue to cook.
- Finish by searing in a very hot pan or on a cast iron grill.
- Chopping board
- Pastry brush
- Kitchen foil
- Frying pan or cast iron griddle (oven cook only)
- Kitchen Thermometer
The steak is lightly coated in a dry rub. I use Dizzy Pig Cow Lick rub, however any rub designed for steaks should do the trick. If you don’t have one, you can make one by following this method, or use a combination of salt and black and red pepper.
- 1-2 tbsp dry rub, depending on the size of the steak
- Oil – canola or extra virgin olive
- 1 two inch thick steak, e.g. ribeye
- Pre-heat the cooking device to 125°C/250°F.
- For BGE set up for indirect cooking, cast iron grid, dome closed.
- If smoking, wait for the BGE temperature to stabilise, then add the smoking chunk(s) to the glowing charcoal and wait for the smoke to become a thin blue line out of the daisy wheel cap.
- On a chopping board, lightly brush the steak with oil.
- Rub the steak with your selected dry rub. Cover and leave for up to 10 minutes before starting to cook to allow the rub to sink in.
- Add thermometer probes to the steak, commence the roast stage. Play with the cats.
- Remove the steak when it is 5°C/10°F from desired internal temperature. Do this at:
- 45°C/110°F for rare
- 50°C/120°F for medium-rare
- 55°C/130°F for medium
- 65°C/150°F for well done
- Remove the probes, wrap and rest the steak in kitchen foil. Set aside, away from cats.
- Whilst the steak is resting, get a searing surface/grid very hot, up to 290°C/550°F.
- For a BBQ or BGE this is simply heating it up.
- If the first cook is in an oven, a frying pan or cast iron griddle is needed.
- Remove the steak from the kitchen foil, sear it for 60 seconds each side.
- Check that the internal temperature is at the desired level (5°C/10°F higher than it was when pulled prior to resting). If not, sear for 30 seconds each side.
- Carve and serve. The steak doesn’t need another rest, it’s seared and good to go.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- It’s easy to overdo the rub and have it overpower the taste of the steak, start with a little and work out what is good for you. The amount to use comes with practice. As a rule of thumb I coat so that I can just about make out the marbling on the steak.
- A USB powered fan can be used to blow air through the BGE, bringing it up to searing temperature very quickly. Or … if it goes out in the roast phase and you only realise this when you open it and need to get it lit and up to temperature again fast. 🙂
- When doing the final sear on a BGE or BBQ, I close the lid. Whilst this is a searing stage, I have found that with the lid open the steak loses heat. Leaving the lid down means the steak is always hot when it is carved.
- If this is being done in a covered BBQ, it must be set up so that all of the coals are on one side and the meat is cooked on the other side. See this article for more information.
- The thermometer probes are best situated with the tip in the middle of the steak. Slide at least one into the side of the steak.
- Sweetcorn can be roasted at the same time, wrapped in kitchen foil with some butter.