Reverse-seared steak is made by reversing the usual order in which one prepares steak. Normally, you would sear the steak in a very hot skillet for 2 minutes on each side, then transfer to a hot (450 degrees F) oven to roast until done, 3-5 minutes depending on how done you like your steaks.
When reverse searing, you first gently bake the steaks in a slow oven, bringing them to an internal temperature of 125 degrees F. You then rest them, allowing the juices to re-distribute; finally a quick sear, 1 minute per side, and you got yourself big, juicy, reliably medium-rare steaks.
When it comes to searing the steaks, the best tool is a well-seasoned cast iron griddle. It’s superb in terms of heat retention and distribution, and sears steaks perfectly. Cast iron griddles are relatively inexpensive and do not take up a lot of storage space. I use a reversible one by Lodge ($45 on Amazon), that creates beautiful grill marks on my steaks.
The main advantage of reverse-searing is that you get reliably juicy, evenly cooked steaks. In addition, since you rest the steaks before the final searing, you can eat them hot, right off the griddle. The disadvantages are that it takes longer, and that you need a meat thermometer.
These days, whenever I have the extra time, I use reverse searing when cooking steaks. I find that the juicy, evenly cooked result is well worth it.
A final word on the nutritional content of this recipe: I love fatty ribeyes and have no problem having an entire one, especially if I pair it with something light (a sliced tomato is great). Obviously you can split a huge steak between two people, eat half and save the leftovers for another meal, or choose smaller/leaner cuts such as tenderloin or sirloin.
- 2 big ribeye steaks (1 lb. raw weight each, 1-inch thick)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon your fat of choice for the rack (melted lard, tallow or olive oil work well)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Season your steaks on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper. You don't need to take them out of the fridge in advance.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Fit the baking sheet with a metal rack. Grease the rack with your choice of fat.
- Place the steaks on the rack. Insert the probe of a meat thermometer into one of the steaks. Bake the steaks until they reach an internal temperature of 125 degrees F (rare). For me, with fridge-temperature, 1-inch thick steaks, this usually takes about 30 minutes.
- Remove the steaks from the oven. Transfer to a tray, loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron griddle over high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. If the griddle is well-seasoned, you don't need to grease it. Gently pat the steaks dry with paper towels, then place them on the hot griddle. Sear 1 minute on each side, then serve.