A Guide To Making A Reverse Seared Steak

A Guide To Making A Reverse Seared Steak

Want to know the secrets to cooking a steak perfectly every time you grill? Use this helpful guide to learn how to make a perfectly reverse seared cooking technique on any steak cut.

Why This Recipe Works:

Reverse searing is a cooking technique used for preparing steak that involves cooking the steak at a low temperature first and then finishing it with a high-temperature sear. This method is favored by many chefs and home cooks because it offers several advantages that contribute to a perfectly cooked steak.

Here’s why reverse searing steak works:

  1. Even Cooking: When you cook a steak using the reverse sear method, you start by gently cooking it at a low temperature in an oven or on a grill. This allows for more even cooking throughout the steak, from edge to center. As a result, you have better control over the doneness level, with less risk of overcooking the outer layers of the steak.
  2. Internal Temperature Control: Starting with low-temperature cooking ensures that the internal temperature of the steak rises gradually and uniformly. This makes it easier to achieve the desired level of doneness without the risk of a charred or overly browned exterior.
  3. More Tender Texture: The slow cooking process during the initial phase of reverse searing helps to break down collagen and connective tissues within the meat. This results in a more tender and juicy texture in the final steak.
  4. Reduced Risk of Overcooking: One of the challenges with traditional searing-first methods is the risk of overcooking the interior while waiting for the exterior to brown. Reverse searing minimizes this risk because the interior is already partially cooked before the sear.
How To Smoke A Tomahawk Steak

Supplies Needed:

Here is what you need to reverse sear on the grill-

What Is The Reverse Sear Method?

The reverse sear method involves preparing steaks and other cuts of meat by altering the traditional order of cooking steps. Instead of searing the meat first in a skillet or over high heat on the grill, the reverse sear method entails beginning with slow-cooking the meat at a low temperature (on indirect heat or via the oven) and then concluding with a high-temperature sear.

This approach is favored by many chefs and home cooks because it produces a steak with even doneness, a tender texture, and a flavorful crust.

This all comes down to using the two-zone method:

ZONE ONE: Low-Temperature Cooking

  • Preheat the grill (or even the oven) to a low temperature, typically around 200°F to 275°F (93°C to 135°C).
  • Season the steak with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings.
  • Place the seasoned steak on a wire rack set on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe pan. The wire rack facilitates air circulation around the steak, promoting even cooking.
  • Slow-cook the steak in the preheated oven or grill until it reaches an internal temperature a few degrees below your desired level of doneness. The duration may vary from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the steak’s thickness.

ZONE TWO: High-Temperature Searing

  • After the steak attains the desired internal temperature utilizing low heat, remove it and pat it dry with paper towels to facilitate a better sear and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat a skillet, grill, or cast-iron pan over high heat. Alternatively, employ a high-temperature broiler or a culinary torch for searing.
  • Add a high smoke point oil (such as canola, vegetable, or avocado oil) to the hot cooking surface.
  • Gently place the steak on the heated surface and sear it briefly on each side, typically lasting 1-2 minutes per side until cooked to your desired level of doneness. This high-temperature sear results in a flavorful crust on the steak’s exterior.

Resting and Serving:

  • Following searing, take the steak off the heat and let it rest for several minutes. Resting permits the juices to redistribute within the meat, yielding a juicier end product.
  • Slice and serve the steak, savoring the contrast between the crispy crust and the tender, impeccably cooked interior.
Two raw ribeyes on indirect heat on the grill.

What Steak Cuts Can Be Reverse Seared?

The reverse sear method can be applied to a wide range of steak cuts, particularly those that are thicker (about two inches thick or more) and benefit from even cooking and a tender texture.

Here are some steak cuts that are well-suited for the reverse sear technique:

  1. Ribeye: Ribeye steaks are marbled with fat, which adds incredible flavor and tenderness. The reverse sear method helps render the fat while maintaining the desired doneness.
  2. New York Strip: Also known as strip loin or sirloin steak, this cut is well-marbled and boasts a robust beefy flavor. Reverse searing helps evenly cook the steak and develop a caramelized crust.
  3. Filet Mignon: Filet mignon is known for its tenderness, and the reverse sear method ensures gentle cooking from edge to center without overcooking the interior.
  4. Porterhouse and T-Bone: These cuts contain both the tenderloin (filet) and the New York strip sections. The reverse sear technique is beneficial for achieving an even and perfectly cooked result across both portions.
  5. Bone-In Ribeye: This cut has the added flavor from the bone and is well-suited for reverse searing due to its thickness.
  6. Tomahawk Steak: A large, bone-in ribeye with an extended bone handle resembling a tomahawk, this steak benefits from reverse searing to ensure even cooking through the thick meat. Check out my recipe for smoked tomahawk steak here.
  7. Tri-Tip: Although typically cooked using other methods, the reverse sear technique can work for thicker tri-tip cuts, resulting in a more tender and flavorful outcome. Here is how to smoke and sear a tri-tip on a charcoal grill.
  8. Flat Iron: This lesser-known cut can be reverse-seared to achieve a tender and juicy result with a flavorful crust.
  9. Top Sirloin: The reverse sear technique helps maintain the moisture and tenderness of top sirloin steaks.
Raw ribeye bone-in steak

Reverse searing can also work for other recipes and is often used with other proteins like chicken, pork, shrimp, or even vegetables. Again, it’s great when you want the internal temperature to reach a solid point so you can essentially just finish it off with a final sear for perfectly cooked food.

How Long Does It Take To Reverse Sear Steaks On The Grill?

Your cook time will vary depending on how hot the indirect temperature of your grill is and will also depend on how close your steak is to the direct heat as well as the thickness of the steak.

A general rule of thumb is that it could take between 30-60 minutes to cook steaks with these factors in mind. The best way to measure this is through a meat thermometer for the best accuracy.

How Do I Use This Cooking Method On A Charcoal Or Gas Grill?

  1. Set your grill up for two-zone cooking and preheat it to 250 F.
  2. Place your steak on a foil-lined baking sheet and place a cooling rack over the baking sheet to keep the steak elevated so hot air can pass underneath.
  3. Season your steak with a high smoke point oil and salt and pepper (or other steak rubs as desired).
  4. Place the cookie sheet on the cooler side of the grill and close your lid. Let the steak cook until it reaches an internal temp of 105-110 F. Remove and set it aside to rest before directly searing (10-15 minutes).
  5. Preheat your grill to at least 550 F.-600 F. for the Maillard reaction to occur (searing and browning vs. steaming). Oil your grates once it comes to the temp and place your resting steaks over the direct flame on your grill.
  6. Flip the steaks every minute or so until they come to your desired level of doneness. Use your meat thermometer to check often during this phase for accuracy.
  7. Remove and let your steaks rest while tented before slicing and serving.
A ribeye for steak frites being seared on the grill.

Can I Reverse Sear Without A Grill?

Yes! You absolutely can reverse sear at home with just an oven and a stovetop. This is a great way to cook steaks indoors during colder months or to utilize this method if you don’t own a grill. Follow the same steps listed above but use your preheated oven for the indirect portion of the cook.

Then finish it off by pan searing the steaks over high heat in a screaming hot cast iron pan for the direct sear. Continue to utilize your meat thermometer to get an accurate internal temp so you know when it is done.

Cast Iron Seared Steak indoors reverse seared

Recipes To Try Using Reverse Searing:

A Guide To Making A Reverse Seared Steak

A Guide To Making A Reverse Seared Steak

Want to know the secrets to cooking a steak perfectly every time you grill? Use this helpful guide to learn how to make a perfectly reverse seared cooking technique on any steak cut.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Grilling
Cuisine: American
Keyword: A Guide To Making A Reverse Seared Steak
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 544kcal
Author: Bon Appeteach


  • 1 Steak Any cut that’s at least 1″ thick is best
  • High Smoke Point Oil Avocado, Grapeseed, or Canola
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper


  • Remove your steaks from the fridge and packaging at least 40 minutes prior to cooking. Remove the packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly oil both sides and season generously with salt and pepper if desired. Let the steaks rest out at room temperature on the foil lined baking sheet, fitted with a cooling rack (pictures in the post above).
  • Preheat your grill (or oven) to 250 F and set it for two-zone cooking (one hot side and one cool side).
  • Once the grill is preheated and the steaks have sat for 30-40 min, place the baking sheet with the steaks onto the cooler side of the grill. Alternatively place in the oven if cooking indoors.
  • Cook the steaks indirectly until the internal temperature reaches around 105-110 F. Remove and let it rest 10-15 minutes before directly searing.
  • For a direct sear on the grill, crank up your heat to high on all burners so the grill is over 550 F. Oil the grates as needed then sear each side about a minute or so, checking often with a thermometer until it reaches your desired cooking temperature. For medium rare, I like it to hit around 125 F. *See notes below for searing on a cast iron pan*
  • Remove the steaks and let them rest 10 min or so before slicing.


If searing on a cast iron pan, preheat your pan to high heat and add a higher smoke point oil. Place your rested, partially cooked steak directly into the middle of the pan and lightly push down. Allow it to sear about a minute or so, then flip your steak and sear again. Lower the heat and baste with butter, garlic cloves, and thyme if desired until it reaches and internal temperature that you desire (125 F. is what I like for medium rare).


Serving: 1g | Calories: 544kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 58g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 31g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 697mg | Fiber: 1g
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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