Learn how to get perfectly cooked, juicy steak with a caramelized crust with this easy, reverse sear method.
I am crazy about a perfectly cooked, juicy, thick steak with a caramelized crust all around, but it’s rare (no pun intended) for me to achieve this at home without a quarter of the top and bottom becoming overcooked and gray, leaving me with just a small section of the perfectly cooked part.
Whether you’re a rare, medium, or well-done steak lover, a reverse sear is going to get you to that perfect temperature every time, along with the caramelized top, bottom, and sides. Without giving you the large percentage of gray, overcooked beef.
What Is A Reverse Sear Steak?
A steak cooked using the reverse sear method is first baked in the oven at a very low temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes, and then quickly seared in a screaming hot frying pan for 15 seconds on each side.
The method is simple and foolproof with a few pieces of important equipment.
You’ll need, of course, an oven, a sheet pan, a wire grate or cooling rack that fits into the sheet pan, and if you have a digital, oven-safe probe thermometer or wireless probe thermometer it will keep you from having to check the internal temperature of the steak, by monitoring it for you digitally.
For this recipe, I’m using New York strip steaks. Before you begin, place a piece of parchment paper onto the bottom of the sheet pan, and then place the wire grate or cooling rack on top of the parchment. Season the steaks on all sides with salt, and then place them onto the rack. Leave the steaks on the rack for 30 minutes, allowing them to come to room temperature, which will help reduce the baking time.
Thick Steaks Work Best For A Reverse Sear
A thick-cut steak, in this case, strip steaks, about 1 and ½-inches to two-inches thick, work best for a reverse sear. Anything thinner, and there is a chance of overcooking the steak when it’s seared in the frying pan. The thicker steaks will offer more perfectly cooked portions, and because these are much thicker, two or three steaks will easily feed a family of four.
Best Temperatures For Reverse Sear Steaks
The oven temperature for baking the steaks is the same that you might use for braising something in the oven: 275°F. Once the oven reaches this temperature, place the probe of the thermometer into the side of one of the steaks, in the thickest part (usually the very middle), and place the pan in the oven.
The thermometer’s digital gauge and excess cord can be placed on top of the stove or counter directly next to the stove, where you can keep a watchful eye on the steak’s temperature, or set an alarm to indicate when the steak has reached the perfect internal temp.
If you do not have an oven-safe probe thermometer with a digital gauge, check the temperature of the steak using an instant-read thermometer placed into the thickest part of the steak. First, after 15 minutes of being in the oven, and again 10 minutes later. If the steak has not yet reached the desired temperature according to the chart below, check the temperature again every 5 minutes for rare, or every 10 minutes for medium-rare, medium, or well-done.
The strip steaks will need to be removed from the oven WELL BEFORE they reach their final serving temps. The chart below indicates when you need to remove the steaks from the oven, and not what the temperature will be after searing them in the frying pan.
Carryover cooking will continue to increase the internal temperature of the steaks after they come out of the oven, and the internal temperature will increase again when the steaks are seared.
|Reverse Sear Steaks – OUT OF THE OVEN Temperatures|
|For Rare Steaks||90-95° F|
|For Medium-Rare Steaks||100-105° F|
|For Medium Steaks||115-120° F|
|For Medium-Well Steaks||125-130° F|
|For Well Done Steaks||135+° F|
How To Sear Your Steak
The type of frying pan used for the searing part of the reverse sear method doesn’t matter as much as the type of fat used in the pan. A little oil and a lot of butter is the perfect blend for browning and searing without burning.
The searing will naturally create some smoke, so get the oven hood fan going on high. If your kitchen is small and not well ventilated, opening a window or door will help the hood fan do its job in a confined kitchen space.
When the steaks come out of the oven, heat a large frying pan over high heat for one to two minutes. Add the oil, and once the oil is shimmering in the pan, add the butter and swirl it around the pan. As soon as the butter is melted, add the steaks, and sear on each side for 15 seconds. The butter will begin to brown at this point and help to create the caramelized crust on each side of the steak.
After each side of the steaks are seared, move the pan off the heat, remove the steaks from the pan, and transfer them to a cutting board. Keep the hood fan on for a few minutes more though.
How To Serve Your Perfect Steak
Because the steaks were cooked gently in the oven before being seared, there’s no need to let them rest. The thick steaks can be sliced immediately, and served.
I like to slather the steaks with a garlic butter as soon as they come out of the frying pan. This can be easily made by mixing together a stick of softened butter, a minced clove of garlic, a pinch of salt, about a teaspoon of minced shallot, and some minced parsley. It’s really the perfect finishing touch.Print
Perfectly cooked, juicy steak with caramelized crust and none of the gray, overcooked ring inside is possible with this easy, reverse sear method.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this steak, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 2 New York Strip steaks, 1 and ½- to two-inches thick
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- Season steaks evenly with salt, on all sides.
- On a parchment-lined sheet pan fitted with a cooling rack, place steaks 2-inches apart. Let stand 30 minutes to allow steaks to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 275°F.
- Place pan in oven. Bake 25 minutes, or until internal temperature registers 90°F* on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove pan from oven, set aside.
- Preheat a large frying pan on high heat for 30 seconds. Add oil; when oil is shimmering, add butter; swirl pan until butter is melted.
- Immediately add steaks, searing each side for 15-30 seconds.
*Consuming raw or undercooked meats may increase your risk of foodborne illness.