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Reverse Sear Technique

Think about the last time you had a perfectly cooked steak.


It probably had a great sear on the outside and was deliciously pink and warm on the inside.  (If you are someone who prefers a well-done steak, this article probably doesn’t have much to offer you, unless you are cooking for people who don’t have a taste for shoe leather.)


Now think about the last time you tried to accomplish that task at home.  Did you take a 2 1/2-inch thick rib-eye and throw it on a screaming hot grill for a few minutes a side, then transfer it to indirect heat only to have less of that desirable pink center than you wanted? Or are you hip to the reverse sear method that has become something of a worst kept secret for the backyard chef that gets you that beautifully warm pink-red center throughout the inside of your steak?


The inherent problem with trying to keep the interior of a cut of meat moist and tender while searing the exterior to a savory crust is the ideal processes for each result are drastically different. 


Both of the aforementioned methods set out to tackle the low heat/ high heat conundrum, but the reverse sear method gives a bit more control when it comes to getting a warm, tender, pink center to a steak while achieving that delightful crust.


Here are the basic steps to executing the reverse sear on a steak:


1)   First things first, get a good steak that is at LEAST 1 ½ inches thick. A quick sear, wrap in foil and rest method will generally allow favorable results for thinner cuts.  Let your steak come up to room temperature while you prepare your grill.

2)   Set up your grill for indirect heat cooking by turning on only one burner and placing an oven thermometer on the grates over the cooler area of the grill.  This will allow you to monitor the temp more accurately.  Keep your burner on a lower setting and close the lid.   When the oven thermometer hits about 275 you are ready to go.

3)   Season and place your steaks on a wire rack on a cookie sheet with high sides and position it on the grill away from the lit burner. Close the lid.

4)   Allow the steaks to cook for at least 20 or so minutes and check their temperatures with a digital thermometer with a probe.  If you desire a medium-rare steak 90 degrees or so will do, a little more for medium.

5)   Once they reach the correct temperature remove the steaks and sheet from the grill.

6)   Turn up the lit burner to high (or turn on Sear Zone burner if your Vintage grill has one) and close the lid for a few minutes to get the grates up to a nice, high heat.

7)   Sear the steaks for 1-2 minutes a side.  If your steaks are particularly thick, limit searing each side to 1 minute and continue to flip them to keep from over cooking. 

Notes: USE YOUR THERMOMETERS! Don’t guess.  The digital thermometer is an essential tool and once you get used to using it you won’t want to be caught without one.


This method also works with chicken and other meats, just be sure to cook the meat a little further during the direct heat step.  Take chicken to about 120 degrees before the searing step to ensure you cook the meat thoroughly. 


If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again!  The best part about experimenting with food is you get to eat your failures. 


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me an email!



The Vintage Chef



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