What is the reverse sear method?

Would you ever cook a steak backwards? That's how some people feel about the reverse sear method. This strategy can be applied to a wide variety of cuts, but for some people who have been cooking for a long time, the process can seem wrong from the start. However, as more and more chefs have experimented with it, the idea of the reverse sear has caught on. Learn more about reverse searing and get a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it properly.

What Is Reverse Searing?

Most people have been taught that the proper way to cook a cut of meat on a skillet is to sear first. That means that the cooking process would begin by placing the meat (usually beef or pork) over high heat to get a good sear on each side, followed by putting the whole pan in the oven to get the inside to the desired temperature.

That idea is flipped upside down with the reverse sear method. Instead, you start with your cut in the oven, then follow that with a brief sear on each side. The steps are inverted, but the idea with both methods is to get a perfectly-cooked steak.

What Are the Benefits of Reverse Searing?

One question that often comes up with reverse searing is: why change something that already works? Many people have long stood by the traditional method of searing first, and they're satisfied with the results they get.

Reverse searing, however, may offer some unique benefits that elevate the final flavor and texture of their steak or roast. Most importantly, it was developed to help the meat cook more evenly and avoid the common outer band of overcooked meat. Reverse searing can also lead to better browning on the exterior and may help break down muscle protein for a more tender bite.

Another perk of reverse searing is that many find it to be easier to control the final temperature of their meat with this method. Starting with the slower part of the cooking process makes it easier to gauge doneness. What's more, because the meat rests briefly once it comes out of the oven, you can serve it right away after searing.

How to Do the Reverse Sear Method

The following instructions will walk you through each step of the reverse searing method for a traditional steak, such as a ribeye:

  • Make sure you have the proper cut of meat. Your steak should be on thicker side (at least 1.5 inches).
  • Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper. Add other herbs, spices, marinades or rubs if you wish.
  • Place the steak on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven.
  • Check the internal temperature frequently, and remove the steak once it's 10 to 15 degrees below your preferred doneness level.
  • Rest the meat under foil for 10 minutes while you preheat a skillet with vegetable oil (or another oil with a high smoke point) over high heat.
  • Once the skillet is very hot, sear the steak for about one minute on each side and serve immediately.

While this method is fairly easy, it may take some getting used to if you have always seared your meat first. Give this cooking strategy a try, and you may be surprised at how much more tender, juicy and evenly-cooked your steaks and roasts turn out.