Reverse seared steak is consistently juicy, perfectly cooked, and gains a stunningly beautiful sear after a quick stint in a hot skillet. Once you reverse sear a steak, it’ll change everything you thought you knew about cooking steak forever.
I can definitely say we are steak connoisseurs in this household. We love different cuts, different breeds of cattle, different ways to cook them. And today, we’re going over the reverse seared rib-eye steak.
What is a ‘reverse sear’ on steak?
Reverse searing a steak is where you slow roast the meat in a low-temperature oven on a wire rack until the meat comes up to temperature, then searing the steak in a screaming hot cast-iron skillet to get that golden brown sear.
Benefits of reverse searing your steaks
- You don’t have to rest the steak, since searing on the skillet is so quick it doesn’t affect the internal juices and protein stands. So juicy steak fresh off the pan!
- You are able to control the temperature much more easily than just cooking the steak in the pan. Besides the steak still cooking once it’s off high heat (called carryover cooking) it also is hard to determine the actual temperature inside while you’re cooking just in the pan. Stabbing it with a thermometer while it’s cooking in a hot pan will run all the juices out, leaving it dry. And cooking over high heat by itself can lead to a burnt outside and raw inside!
- You keep a consistent temp. inside while minimizing the overcooked grey ring thanks to slow roasting in the oven.
- Speaking of the oven, it helps dry out the exterior of the steak so when you sear it in the pan, the Maillard Reaction –the many simultaneous chemical reactions happening between amino acids, proteins, and sugars in food when you heat them up causing the distinct flavor found in browned foods– gives you that nice browned, flavorful crust.
- As long as you have all the tools needed, it is more affordable than my other favorite foolproof steak method: the sous-vide.
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What do I need to do it?
Reverse searing is easy so long as you have the right tools, all of which you can find on Amazon:
- A wire cooling rack. While in the oven the steak sits on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet. This helps the air flow around all sides of your steak, ensuring proper temperatures and dryness of every side, which will help you get a great sear.
- A baking sheet. Also called a cookie sheet, make sure you have a rimmed baking sheet to catch any rendered fat. Lining it with foil makes for easy clean up.
- A meat thermometer. An important tool; you need to know the temperature your steak is at before bringing it to the hot pan when it’s done in the oven.
- A cast iron pan. To get the Maillard reaction you need a screaming hot pan. Cast iron not only holds all that heat really well, even after laying the steak down, but it will give a fantastic, consistent sear to your steak. And when you’re done searing, they keep the fond and juices so you can make an incredible pan sauce. Also, they last forever, so they’re a great kitchen investment.
- Tongs. Aht, aht. No stabby-stabby with the forks when it comes to steak, you’ll let all the juice out.
How to Reverse Sear a Steak
Reverse searing does best on a thicker cut of good quality steak, no less than an inch and a half to two inches thick. I love this technique for cuts of steak with great fat marbling like with this ribeye I have here.
Fat is flavor, and when we slow cook steak over low temperatures the fat gently renders and the steak becomes more tender thanks to enzymes within the meat. Bonus points if it’s bone-in like a porterhouse or a bone-in ribeye, but the reverse sear method will work for any ‘premium’ steak like filet mignon, top sirloin, New York strip, etc.
Prep Steak and Oven
- Bring your steak out of the fridge and let warm up for about an hour on the counter top. Yes, this is perfectly safe.
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) with an oven rack in the center.
- Dry the steak with a paper towel.
- Place the steak on the wire rack on top of a foil lined baking sheet. Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper on all sides.
Roast in Oven
- Once in the oven, leave it alone for about 30 minutes. At thirty minutes, check the temperature with your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat, but not in a pocket of fat.
- At this point, heat your cast iron pan over medium-high heat on the stove-top to prepare it for searing.
- Check your steak’s temperature every 10 minutes until the temperature reaches about 105 degrees F (40 degrees C), then remove it from the oven.
Pan Sear the Steak
- In the hot pan, add a neutral oil with a high smoke point. I like using a mix of grapeseed oil and ghee for flavor.
- Once the fat starts to get shimmering hot, add the steaks and sear them for about one minute each side, making sure to also get the fat on the sides of the steak, this is where the tongs come in handy as you’ll use them to help keep the steak upright while rendering the fat.
- Continue searing, basting with a knob of butter, until you reach the desired temperature: about 120-125 degrees F for medium-rare. Remember, your steak will continue cooking after you remove it from the pan, so the temperature being a little cooler than that is perfectly okay.
Rest the Steak and Enjoy
Place the steak on a clean wire rack to rest. I like my steak resting on a rack so that it’s not just kind of sitting on a plate sweating and losing the sear on one side. Make sure to cover it loosely with foil!
Once it has rested for about 8-10 minutes, slice up and serve.
What to Serve with Your Steak
I love serving steak steakhouse style with rich, hearty sides and a nice boozy drink, since steak at home is something we only indulge in occasionally. Here are my favorite sides and desserts:
- Potatoes au Gratin
- Garlic Butter Mushrooms
- Lemon Garlic Sauteed Asparagus
- Pan Gravy
- Southern Sweet Potato Casserole
- Smooth and Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Sister Schubert Copycat Yeast Rolls
- Caramel Apple Galettes
- Ultimate Brownies
- Southern Banana Pudding
If you want to enjoy a nice cocktail with your steak, check out my Thirsty Thursday posts.
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- 2 (2-inch) choice or prime steaks such as Ribeye, NY Strip, Porterhouse, etc.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, for seasoning
- 2 tbsp (28 g) grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp (28 g) ghee, optional
- 2 tbsp (28 g) butter
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed with skin on
- Fresh sprigs thyme and rosemary, optional
- Preheat oven to 200°F/95°C.
- Pat each steak dry with a paper towel, and generously season all sides of the steak with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Place the steak onto a wire rack on top of a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 30 minutes before checking the temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the steak. Check the temperature of the steaks every 10 minutes until the internal temperature reads about 95 degrees F for rare, 110 degrees F for medium-rare.
- Heat the grapeseed oil and ghee in a large cast iron pan over high heat until just starting to smoke. Sear the steaks for 1 minute on one side, then flip.
- Add the butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme if using, and spoon onto the steak. Baste for about 1 minute, then flip the steak with tongs and baste the other side for about 15 seconds.
- Turn the steak on its side and cook to render off any excess fat. Check the steak's temperature, ensuring it's no more than 120 degrees F for medium-rare, as the temperature will rise as it rests.
- Let the steaks rest on a clean plate or wire rack for 8 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Serve with sides, pan gravy, and/or dinner rolls.
Steak Temperature Chart
- Rare (125°-130°F)
- Medium Rare (130°-140°F)
- Medium (140°-150°F)
- Medium Well (150°-160°F)
- Well (Over 160°F)
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 632Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 174mgSodium: 363mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 52g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.