How To Reverse Sear a Steak

Last Update:

GSR is reader supported. This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links at no cost to you.

Read our Review Guidelines

Reverse Sear Steak

Learn how to reverse sear steak in 4 simple steps! We’ll also discuss the benefits of reverse searing steak.

Reverse sear roasting is a time tested method to cook a quality steak with a savory crust. That’s why you’ll see this method applied to many “perfect steak” recipes! However, reverse searing works best with thicker steak cuts such as filet mignon, tomahawk ribeye, ribeye, and t-bone. 

Keep reading below to learn step-by-step how to reverse sear steak and other cuts.

What is “Reverse Sear”?

Most of us have heard of the regular sear roasting in which you crisp steak in a hot pan before cooking to finish. Reverse Sear is cooking meat with indirect heat until just below temperature then finish cooking in a pan or skillet over very high heat. It’s worth mentioning that reverse sear works best on thick cut meats (1-½” or thicker).  The reverse sear method is all about finishing strong with a crispy, brown crust on the outside of the steak.

The science behind any searing is known as the Maillard reaction. Put simply, any searing works by caramelizing natural sugars in the meat, while browning the proteins, to form a savory crust.

How to Reverse Sear Steak

What You’ll Need:

  • Steak (thick cuts recommended)
  • Thermometer
  • Pan or Skillet
  • Vegetable Oil or Similar
  • Tin Foil
  • Baking Sheet (if using an oven)

Step 1: Prep, Preheat, & Season

Remove the thawed steaks from the refrigerator and season. Let the steaks sit at room temperature to take the chill off. Doing this helps the meat cook more evenly.

In Oven: Set the oven racks closely together in the center (as shown in photo below). Preheat to 250 degrees.

On Grill: Set up the grill to ensure you are cooking with indirect heat, if applicable (close “sear sliders or similar). Remember the goal is to slowly cook the steak to temperature. Preheat the grill on medium setting to 250 degrees.  

Step 2: Cook with Indirect Heat

In Oven:  Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and place on the bottom oven rack. This will catch any drippings while allowing heat to circulate completely around the steak. Place the steaks on the rack directly above the baking sheet. Cook until the internal temperature is 10 degrees below your desired finish.

Cook Steak in Oven
Use a baking sheet, covered with tin foil, as a drip catch when cooking steak in the oven.

On Grill:  Place steaks on the grill and cook until 10 degrees below your desired finish. Keep the grill lid closed and only check periodically.

Doneness Temperatures:

Rare: 125 F Medium Rare: 135 F Medium: 145 F Medium Well: 150 F Well Done: 160 F

Step 3: Sear Over High Heat

Warning! This step will cause smoke so if cooking inside have a fan ready and window open.

In Oven or Grill: While the steak is nearing temperature, begin heating up a pan or cast iron skillet on the stovetop or side burner of the grill. You want this pan/skillet to be HOT so use high heat. Add some vegetable oil to the pan.

Remove steak from the oven and place into the hot pan. Cook for 60-90 seconds on each side.

Step 4: Rest Then Enjoy

Rest the steak on a plate under tinfoil for 5-10 minutes. For additional flavor, add seasoning to the steaks while resting. Then Enjoy!

Working on cooking the perfect steak? Check out this article on how to cook the perfect steak or this article on searing a steak.