The Ultimate Guide to Reverse Searing a Steak on the Grill

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The reverse sear technique is the greatest way to cook a good thick steak.

This method entails gently cooking the steak at a moderate temperature before finishing it on a hot grill.

It’s the greatest technique to ensure delicious, restaurant-quality steak at home.

I used my Weber Kettle charcoal grill for this dish, but you can obtain similar results with a gas grill or even an oven and then cook the steak in a hot cast iron skillet.

So, instead of risking damaging an expensive, thick-cut steak, keep reading to discover how to reverse sear a steak.

What is the reverse sear method?

How to Reverse Sear a Steak on the Grill: Ultimate Guide

So you bought a nice steak from the grocery and are getting ready to cook it.

Not so fast.

The traditional technique of searing steak by turning it until it is done in the center works well for steaks less than an inch thick but falls short when preparing thick-cut steak.

The trouble is that by the time you attain a lovely medium rare temperature in the center of your steak, the exterior will be severely overdone.

In restaurants, the meat is seared first to generate a crust before being transferred to an oven to bring the internal temperature up to temperature.

The reverse sear technique turns this principle on its head by patiently heating the steak in a grill or oven at low heat before searing it at high heat.

This approach allows you to have greater control over how the inside of the steak cooks, resulting in a flawlessly consistent medium rare with a gorgeous brown crust.

This procedure, which is often used for steak, also works for thick-cut pork and lamb chops.

Benefits of the reverse sear method:

  • Inside cooking is more even. Because the steak is cooked at a low temperature initially, it cooks more uniformly, rather than the outside burning while the middle is still raw.
  • improved crust The surface of the steak dries while it cooks at a low temperature. Because the Maillard reaction cannot begin until most of the surface moisture in the steak has gone, this technique ensures a gorgeous crust.
  • It is easier to prevent overcooking. The surface of a thick steak will burn before the interior is cooked. There is also just a little time when the center will be ideal. Because the temperature changes so slowly with the reverse sear, it’s simple to remove it at the correct time.

Disadvantages of the reverse sear method:

The reverse sear is not a foolproof approach for every cut of meat.

  • It takes more time. Throwing a steak on the grill and flipping it a few times till done is quicker.
  • Only works with thick steaks. If the steak is less than an inch thick, the procedure fails. 1.5 to 2 inches or more works much better.

I find the whole procedure less stressful, particularly when I’m preparing many steaks.

If you’re worried about the size of the steak, I find that one two-inch thick rib eye is plenty for two people.

What type of steaks work best

How to Reverse Sear a Steak on the Grill: Ultimate Guide

It is critical to employ the reverse sear procedure with a 1.5-inch thick steak.

Both bone-in and boneless steaks are acceptable, and the bone may assist preserve the steak during the first cooking stage.

  • Ribeye
  • Porterhouse
  • T-bone
  • Tomahawk
  • Strip
  • Tri-tip
  • Filet mignon.

I made this dish using a 1.5-inch Wagyu Ribeye from Vermont Wagyu. They are a family-run firm that always looks after me.

Temperature for reverse-seared steak

Knowing when to go from the low and slow stage to the final sear is critical when reverse searing steak.

The table below shows the internal temperature of the steak and when you should end the low cooking phase.

For example, if you want a medium rare steak with a final temperature of 130F, take it off the grill or oven when it reaches 115F.

Doneness Low Heat Target Final Temperature
Rare 105°F 120-130°F
Medium rare 110°F 130-135°F
Medium 120°F 135-145°F

I’m not going to mention the goal temperatures for anything over medium since if you’re going to cook your steak till it’s done, you may as well just toss it in the microwave.

Do you need to dry brine steak

Many recipes will instruct you to salt your steak and chill it for several hours or overnight.

The reasoning here is that dry brining allows the exterior of the steak to dry out while keeping the inside wet.

Sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside in the fridge, uncovered.

This isn’t necessary in my opinion, and you may just season your steak and set it on the bench for roughly an hour to get up to temperature.

If you prefer to dry brine the steak overnight, keep in mind that it will cook quicker.

Equipment needed

A meat thermometer is the only piece of equipment required for the reverse sear.

For the low and slow stage, you may use a smoker, grill, or oven, and then finish the steak on a hot grill or in a cast-iron skillet.

I like to use a charcoal grill because the steak may absorb some smoky flavor during the first low and slow stage of cooking, and then it’s pretty simple to get the grill really hot for the final sear.

How to reverse sear a steak

The reverse sear method’s brilliance is that it can be broken down into a few easy stages. Unlike the traditional method of cooking steak, you have plenty of time to prepare.

I cooked everything on a charcoal grill, but you could easily use an oven and then finish on the grill, or remain inside and finish on a hot cast iron skillet.

1. Season your steak

I prefer to season the steak with kosher salt and black pepper after adding a little oil as a binder.

Allow them to sit on the surface until they reach room temperature.

It usually rests on my counter for an hour, allowing the steak to absorb the flavor.

2. Fire up your grill

You want to heat your grill to about 200 250F for the low and slow part of the meal.

3 of a lump charcoal chimney. I prefer lump charcoal since it has a greater taste and the larger lump pieces burn slower, allowing you more time to reverse sear.I used around 2 cups of water to accomplish this on the Weber Kettle.

Dump the charcoal onto one side of the grill after it has begun to ash over.

4. I left the vents wide open until I reached about 180F, then closed the bottom vent around 3 minutes later.

It’s not required, but I prefer to use two tiny pieces of smoking wood during the reverse sear process for added flavor. I chose hickory. Just be cautious not to use too much since it may soon dominate.

A water pan on the cold side of the grill may also assist maintain the temperature steady.

3. Cook the steak at low heat

Once your grill has reached temperature, lay the steak on the cool side of the grill.

Place the steak so that the fattier side is towards the charcoal. If you’re cooking a bone-in steak, the bone side should be towards the fire.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the temperature of your grill while you’re cooking the steak. Because it is closer to the charcoal, the built-in thermometer will read significantly higher.

I use my ThermoWorks Smoke with the probe on the cool side of the grill near to the meat to do this.

You may either insert a probe into the thickest section of the steak or use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature.

Bring the steak to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare.

4. Remove and rest the steaks

When the steak reaches the correct internal temperature (110F for medium rare), remove it from the fire for a few minutes to rest.

Resting your steaks has two main advantages:

  1. Allows you to raise the temperature of your grill in preparation for the final sear.
  2. Results in a juicer steak

Cover the steak loosely with aluminum foil and a bit of butter.

Lift the grill grates and add additional charcoal directly on top of the lit pieces while the steak rests. The charcoal will be hot enough to sear and cook the steak in approximately 10 minutes.

If you have to shut the vents during the low and slow cooking period, open them all the way immediately.

5. Sear the steaks over high heat

Your steak should be nearly done, and all that remains is a brief sear on both sides.

Ignore the common suggestion to not flip a steak more than once. Flipping many times results in a more equal sear and a tastier crust.

Flare-ups are inevitable when cooking a steak with a lot of fat, such as a ribeye.

If this occurs, just turn the steak and move it about to prevent any large flames.

Don’t forget to pound the steak’s flanks to help render the fat.

Once both sides of the steak have formed a good crust, keep probing with your meat thermometer every 20-30 seconds until you reach your target internal temperature of 130F for medium rare.

You may remove the steak around 5 degrees before your objective.

There is no need to rest your steak again, but you may leave it to rest for a few minutes while you finish cooking your sides.

Read more 11 Mind Blowing Side Dishes for Steak

I like to slice the steak and then sprinkle it with kosher salt.

Take note of how there is hardly no grey on the exterior of the steak. The reverse sear creates a lovely crust, and the meat cooks evenly on the interior.


What is the best grill temp for reverse sear steak?

Cook until the temperature reaches 225°F.

The recommended temperature for reverse searing is 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This enables the meat to cook gently without being seared on the exterior!Start the grill.

How long do you reverse sear steaks on the grill?

This will take 20 to 40 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Remove the steak from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 90°F and turn up the heat on the one burner to high.

How do you grill a reverse sear steak?

How to Grill a Reverse Seared Steak
Preheat the grill. Preheat your grill or smoker to allow for two zones of cooking.
Season your steak! Season generously with Beef Seasoning, salt and pepper, or your preferred steak seasoning on both sides.
Cook on low heat.
Prepare the sear.
The steaks should be seared.
Slice and enjoy the resting butter!

How long to reverse sear steak at 225?

By preheating the oven to 225 degrees and cooking for 20 minutes, we propose reverse searing strip steak to medium-rare. Using a thermometer, check the temperature of the steak and return it to the oven for a few minutes longer if necessary, until it reaches 125°F-130°F.

How long to reverse sear steak at 250?

To begin the reverse sear process, roast a seasoned steak in a low oven (250°F) until the internal temperature reaches 125°F. This might take 45 to 55 minutes.

How long to reverse sear steak at 275?

Depending on the thickness of the steak and the temperature of your oven, reverse searing ribeye steak takes 30-60 minutes. In general, we suggest preheating the oven to 275°F and cooking until the internal temperature reaches 110°F before searing for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Do steaks need to be room temp for reverse sear?

Allow your steak to come to room temperature (68-72° F), which might take 30-60 minutes. Please be patient! While the steak comes to room temperature, season both sides with salt and pepper and preheat your grill to 225° F. Grill the steak until the internal temperature reaches 125° F (medium-rare).

Do you let steak rest when reverse sear?

Serve right away. In contrast to other ways of cooking steak, the low heat of the oven employed in reverse searing does not attract the meat’s juices to the surface, therefore no extra resting time is required.

How long to reverse sear a 1 inch thick steak?

This may vary depending on the thickness of the steaks and the temperature of your oven. For a 1-inch Crowd Cow steak and a 275°F oven, 8 to 10 minutes will enough.

Do you use butter or oil to reverse sear steak?

Warning: common mistake! When searing your steak over high heat, choose a neutral oil like canola or vegetable with a high “smoke point.” Olive oil and butter are not suitable for this task since they will burn. Place your steaks in heated oil for 45 seconds over medium-high heat, or until a nice crust develops.


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