This recipe will take you step by step to show you to reverse sear a steak.
People often sear meat to begin with before finishing them off in the oven, but there are times when a reverse sear is best.
As the name suggests you sear the meat in reverse, as in at the very end of the cooking.
The reason we want to do this is that we want to smoke steak slow and low to impart flavour, but also get that fantastic charring from hot grills.
This recipe is for searing ribeye which is around 1-1 1/2 inches thick. If your steak is thicker than 2 inches you will have to cook it for a little longer.
How to Reverse Sear a Steak Step 1 – Dry Brine Your Steak
As tempting as it might be to skip this step, it’s easy and well worth it.
Adding salt to the steak and leaving it for 2+ hours in the fridge will help to seal in moisture, ensuring a juicier end result. It also gets that salty flavour into the meat.
All you have to do is sprinkle coarse salt onto both sides of the steak and put it in the fridge for up to 12hours. You can leave it overnight, or just for a couple of hours.
How to Reverse Sear a Steak Step 2 – Smoke the Steak For Around 1 Hour
Season your steak with plenty of salt and black pepper and then put it in your smoker over indirect heat away from open flames at 225°F.
We like to smoke steak over hickory, but if you like a less aggressive smoke flavour you could use cherry, apple, maple or pecan.
Our target internal temperature for this first part of the cook is 105°F. Depending on the environment in your smoker this will take in and around 1 hour.
Take the steak off the grills and wrap it in foil.
How to Reverse Sear a Steak Step 3 – Searing the Meat
Now it’s time to do our reverse sear. You’ll need a high heat for this, 500°F and upwards.
Some smokers won’t go that high so you will have to sear the steak in a cast iron skillet over the hob. You want to use a pan with grills in it, not an ordinary saucepan.
Otherwise you won’t get that chargrilled effect.
Optional – add butter to the skillet.
Sear the steak directly on the hot grills for around 1-2 minutes a side.
When the internal temperature is about 10° below your desired doneness you can take it take it off to rest.
As it rests, the temperature will typically rise 10°F or so.
For Rare 120°F or 50°C
For Medium Rare 130°F or 54°C
For Medium 140°F or 60°C
For Medium Well 140°F or 65°F
For Well Done 160°F or 70°C
How to Reverse Sear a Steak Step 4 – Rest the Steak then Serve
You’ll want to rest the steak for around 15 minutes before serving. This allows the juices in the meat to properly redistribute themselves across the steak.
Serve your reverse sear steak with fries, mash, roast potatoes, corn on the cob or side dishes of your choice.
FAQ’s About Reverse Sear Steak
How Long to Reverse Sear Steak?
Reverse sear your steak for around 1-2 minutes on each side. A bigger cut of steak might need 2-3 minutes.
What Temp to Reverse Sear Steak?
You will need a high heat to reverse sear steak – around 450-500°F or 232-260°C. If your BBQ or smoker won’t get that high sear it in a grill pan on your hob.
What is the Best Steak to Reverse Sear?
You can use the reverse sear method on any steak, but bigger cuts like Tomahawk steak will take much longer to smoke and sear.
The easiest and most effective steak cuts for reverse searing would be around 1-2 inches thick such as ribeye, sirloin, and filet (fillet steak).
When to Season Reverse Sear Steak?
Dry brine your steak first with salt to retain moisture and add flavour to the meat for 2-12 hours.
Liberally dust with salt and pepper before beginning to cook your reverse sear steak.
Is Reverse Searing Steak Better?
If you want to cook the steak slow and low to add flavour first, and then get a lovely, charred crust at the end, then yes.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy ‘Smoked Tomahawk Steak Recipe for the BBQ Grills.’
Or our ‘What is the Best Cut of Steak?’ article.
If you have plenty of time and are feeling brave try our ‘Smoker Recipe For Brisket.’