Reverse searing is a process that involves cooking meat in an unheated or cooler part of the grill and then finishing it off directly over the heat. The process was made famous by chef Michael Symon when he used it to create what has been dubbed the best steak. Not only does reverse searing tenderize tougher cuts of meat, but it also locks in moisture so that your steak ends up juicy and delicious every time.
This blog post will teach you everything you need about reverse searing a steak. Whether you want to improve your current method for reverse searing steaks or need the inspiration to try this technique more often, you'll find everything you need here.
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What is to reverse sear a steak?
Reverse searing is cooking a steak directly over a heat source and finishing it off with no additional cooking.
So much discusses this step of cooking because it adds major flavor and aroma to your steak, giving it that "caramelized" taste you're craving. Because reverse searing allows you to use less fat during the grilling process, it is more cost-effective than its traditional counterpart. The sad part is that most people are afraid to try reverse sear because they don't know how to do it properly or have negative associations with this cooking technique.
Why shouldn't I be afraid to try to reverse searing?
If you cook your meat on high heat right after you grill it, the chances of it drying out are significantly higher. Reverse searing doesn't just add a ton of flavor and aroma to your piece of steak, it also uses less fat when cooking. So what is the big deal? The big deal is that nobody wants to dry out their prized cut of meat, so for this technique to work for you, you must learn how to execute it so your food does not end up overcooked and dried out properly. You see, there is nobody better to teach you how to reverse sear a steak than someone who has done it a handful of times and has learned points through their mistakes.
What kind of meat should I use?
The main reasons that people turn away from using beef while cooking are because they don't know what cuts to buy, they are too scared to cook it properly, or it simply costs too much for them. If you want more bang for your buck and want to start reverse searing your steaks, you should try different cuts of beef that can benefit from this cooking method instead of always buying the same ol' formula for steak night.
Step-by-step guide of reverse searing a steak
The following is a step-by-step guide for reverse searing the perfect steak. This tutorial is broken down by how it should be executed, so you can hit the ground running from the very beginning.
Step 1: Clean your grill, put it on and preheat it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your grill doesn't have a thermometer built in, simply sniff out the air coming from that side of the grill to give you an accurate reading. Using this method for determining if your grill is at temperature or not, you may want to remove your steak right away or cook it at a lower temperature such as 325 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Step 2: Salt your steak
Now that you have determined that your grill is at the proper temperature, grab a handful of kosher salt and sprinkle it over both sides of the piece of meat. This can be done to all kinds of cuts of meat, including steaks or chicken breasts that you are trying to reverse sear on the grill. This step is so important because your steak has a higher chance of drying out when it's exposed to high heat for too long, even if you're using fat as recommended in this technique.
Step 3: Cover your steak with aluminum foil
This will serve as a barrier between the heat source and the raw piece of meat. This is the step where many people begin to get frustrated because they think they have to cook the steak by using indirect heat and then flipping it to finish off with direct heat. Don't worry, you will be able to take it off of the grill in a few minutes without any issues.
Step 4: Put your steak on a plate and cover it with foil again
If you want to keep your meat warm during this time, you can put it back on the plate and cover it with foil. This will allow the steak to stay hot while you wait for everything else that you need in order to finish reverse searing your piece of meat.
Step 5: Add the salt and pepper to your steak
While we will be finishing off this step later, now is the perfect time to add in a sprinkling of salt and pepper on top of the previous salt. You can do this by hand if you want, but it is highly recommended to use a shaker to keep your seasoning in check. The reason for this is that spices tend to be less concentrated when small amounts are used for larger items; so you can imagine the large free sized container I used does a much better job at giving me a good dose of seasoning.
Step 6: Add your steak to the grill
For a nice medium rare piece of meat, you'll want to cook it for a good 3 minutes on each side. This will help lock in all of the moisture for when you take it off of the grill and begin your next step to reverse sear a steak that is juicy and tender every time.
Step 7: Remove your steak from the foil and grill
By now, you should have a firm grasp on how much time you need to spend on cooking your steak; so use this opportunity to perfect your timing with one or two more pieces of meat if you want. In order to get the maximum benefit from your steak, I'd like to recommend that you take it off of the grill right when it starts looking golden brown and crispy.
Step 8: When your steak is slightly firm on both sides, place it back on the grill for a minute.
This is where you want to cook more meat than what it was originally intended for, because this will give you a better chance at getting a perfect medium rare piece of meat every time. After this little round of grilling, your steak will be ready to serve.
At this point, you should have a firm grasp on how to reverse sear a steak while on the grill. While it is a bit more difficult than cooking your meat over direct heat, it's definitely worth the extra effort. I know that many people in my life will start noticing what I'm doing with my grilling skills. Hopefully by, following this tutorial and getting the right cut of meat with appropriate seasoning will give you the exact results you are looking for when cooking your next steak.