The Best Indoor Steak Cooking Method: The Reverse Sear

One of the ONLY methods of cooking a very thick steak: start it in a low oven, then quickly sear or grill for a beautiful crust.

Why should you reverse sear a steak? 

Is it called reverse sear because it turns cooking tradition on its head. For years almost every cookbook and chef have taught that when you’re cooking a piece of meat, the first step should be searing at a high temperature. Most say, that the explanation is that searing “locks in juices.” Today, we know that this statement is not true. The searing process actually adds flavor and doesn’t lock in juices at all. The searing creates a crisp, darkly browned crust to contrast with the tender, pink meat center. 

The Best Indoor Steak Cooking Method: The Reverse Sear

Cook Time: 25-50 mins Servings: 6 Difficulty: easy
  • Thick-cut beef steak(s), at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, such as ribeye, strip, porterhouse, T-bone, tri-tip, or filet mignon 
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Granulated garlic
  • Granulated onion
  • 1-2 tablespoon unsalted butter (if finishing on the stovetop; don’t need if you are finishing on grill)

Generously season steak all over with garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Optional: If desired, set steak on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight to dry out the exterior. You can also expedite this process by using a paper towel before seasoning, if you don’t want to wait overnight. Otherwise, proceed with the next step.

If Cooking steak in the Oven: 

  1. Set steak on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Preheat oven to around 250°F; if your oven goes lower, you can set it to an even lower temperature, though it will take longer to cook. Place steak in the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 105°F for rare, 115°F for medium-rare, 125°F for medium, or 135°F for medium-well. It should take around 25 minutes for rare steak and up to about 40 minutes for medium-well. Cooking time can vary dramatically depending on many factors, so check often. 
  2. Now heat a cast iron, carbon steel, or heavy stainless steel skillet until smoking…Add butter then steak to skillet and cook until each side is well browned, about 45 seconds per side. Using tongs, hold steak sideways to sear edges. Serve right away; there’s no need to let reverse-seared steaks rest. 

If Cooking on the Grill: 

  1. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Or…set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. 
  2. Set steak(s) on cooler side of grill and let cook uncovered, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 105°F for rare, 115°F for medium-rare, 125°F for medium, or 135°F for medium-well. Cooking time can vary depending on thickness and type of steak, so check the steaks often. 
  3. Transfer steak(s) to a platter and tent with foil. 
  4. For a charcoal grill and your coals have died down, build up the biggest fire you can. For a gas grill, make sure all burners are turned to their highest heat and allow the grill to preheat with the lid closed until very hot. 

Return steak(s) to the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning frequently, until crisp and brown all over, about 1 1/2 minutes total. Slice and serve immediately.