Reverse-seared steaks are cooked in a low oven to the perfect temperature and then seared for a great crust. Reverse-searing is the way to cook your steaks perfectly every time.
- 2 steaks at least 1″ thick, (about 1 lb/450g each)
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.5g) black pepper
- 1 teaspoon (3g) garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.5g) onion powder
- 1 teaspoon (6g) MSG*
- vegetable oil, for searing
- 4 to 6 tablespoons (57 to 85 g) butter, melted
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic
*MSG is wonderful for steak, but if you do not like to use MSG, it can be omitted.
1. Dry-brine the steaks for 1 hour.
– Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and then sprinkle both sides with salt.
– Let the steaks sit on a rack uncovered over a foil-lined baking sheet at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C).
– Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C) and place the oven rack in the middle position.
3. Season and cook the steaks.
– Combine the black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and MSG.
– Season both sides of the steaks with the seasoning mix.
– Cook for 30 minutes or until the steaks reach an internal temperature of 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare. (The internal temperature of the steaks will rise 5 to 10 degrees while it is resting.)
4. Rest the steaks.
– Remove the steaks to a rimmed plate, tent with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.
5. Sear the steaks.
– Pour enough vegetable oil to completely coat the bottom of a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet.
– Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is glistening hot, but not smoking. (The steaks should sizzle. If they do not sizzle, wait longer.)
– Place the steaks in the center of the pan and let sear for only about 1 minute per side, moving the steak around only once or twice, to get a good even crust.
- Optional – Add the melted butter and garlic cloves into the pan. Baste the steaks while searing.
– Sear the sides of the steaks as well. (Use tongs to stand the steaks up on their sides.)
– Remove the steaks to the cutting board or serving plate. Pour any butter or pan juices over the steaks.
6. Serve hot.
– Serve reverse-seared steaks while hot. (Since the steaks were already rested before the sear, no need to rest again.)
About this recipe:
What is reverse-searing?
Unlike pan-seared steaks, which are seared in a hot pan, finished in the oven and then rested, reverse-seared steaks are cooked in a low oven first, rested, and then seared.
Low and slow cooking provides control and precision.
By cooking in a low, gentle heat, steaks can be brought up to the desired internal temperature with more control and precision. Plus, when the steak reaches that desired temperature, for example, medium-rare, the steak will be medium-rare throughout, from edge to center with no overcooked grey band along the outside.
Resting before searing assures a steak served hot.
A reverse-seared steak is rested before searing. Because the steaks can be rested from as short as 10 minutes to as long as 60 minutes, there’s a large window of time allowing the steaks to be seared only when everyone is ready to eat. A minute per side in a hot pan or grill is enough to get a good crust. And since the steaks were already rested, the steaks can be served hot right off the pan or grill.
Forgot to defrost?
Reverse-searing works well on frozen steaks, too! (See my post Steaks from Frozen – the Safe Way)
Here are 6 helpful tips:
1) Dry brine for flavor and texture.
Dry brining your steaks simply means pre-salting them and then letting them sit to absorb the salt, enhancing the flavor, as well as tenderizing the meat. Here are some helpful rules:
- Never use more salt to dry brine than you would normally use to season your steaks. Usually, about 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt per pound is sufficient.
- Let the steaks sit for at least an hour. Less time than that will not give the steaks enough to time to re-absorb the juices extracted by the salt, resulting in a less juicy steak.
- Keep the steaks uncovered while dry brining. A dryer surface will promote better browning.
- If dry brining longer than 2 hours, keep the steaks refrigerated and loosely covered. You can dry-brine your steaks as long as 3 days in the refrigerator.
Above: Before and after dry brining.
2) Steak temperatures and residual cooking:
Rare: red, cool center 120-130°F/50-55°C
Medium-rare: red, warm center 130-135°F/55-57°C
Medium: pink throughout 140-150°F/60-65°C
Medium-well: barely pink anywhere 155-165°F/68-74°C
Well: brown throughout 170°F/77°
After removing the steaks from the oven to rest, residual cooking will bring your steaks’ temperatures up 5 to 10 degrees while resting.
- Pull your steaks from the oven around 5 to 10 degrees before it reaches your preferred doneness and let it finish cooking while resting.
3) Estimated cooking times:
Below are estimated cooking times for reverse-searing steaks that have worked for me with my oven. However, everyone’s oven is different. I highly recommend getting an instant-read thermometer and checking your steaks early and often.
– The best and most reliable way to know if your steak is at the perfect temperature is to use an instant-read thermometer.
ESTIMATED COOKING TIMES:
Cooking times at 250°F (121°C) for medium-rare (125°F/52°C before resting):
- 1″ steak – 30 minutes
- 2″ steak – 45 minutes
- 3″ steak – 60 minutes
- Add about 5 minutes per inch for medium (135°F/57°C before resting)
- Add about 10 minutes per inch for medium-well/well-done (145°F/63°C to 150°F/66°C before resting)
**Add a few minutes if cooking your steaks straight from the refrigerator.
4) Rest your reverse-seared steaks before searing.
Don’t skip this step. Rest your steaks at least 5 to 10 minutes per pound.
- Resting prevents overcooking during the sear. While resting, the steaks can complete any residual cooking and its internal temperature can stabilize. A stable internal temperature will be less affected by the high surface-searing heat, allowing the steak to get a good crust without overcooking.
- Resting keeps the steaks juicy. In addition, if you cut into a steak that is not rested, all its juices will run out. Letting the steak sit for a few minutes will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the steak and ensure it’s as juicy as it can be.
5) Sear fast and hot.
- Use a cast-iron pan or other heavy-bottomed skillet. These pans will retain heat better and provide more even cooking and a better crust.
- If basting your steaks, start with melted butter. A minute per side for searing goes fast and won’t provide enough time to melt and brown cold butter for proper basting.
6) This method will work on frozen steaks, too.
– Frozen steaks can be successfully cooked by reverse-searing as well. Just add about 15 minutes per inch extra cooking time in the low oven. (See Steaks from Frozen – the Safe Way)
Serve your steak with Roasted Garlic!
How about these SIDES to go along with your Reverse-Seared Steaks?
Searing steaks adds flavor. Learn about the Maillard reaction: