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Fool proof steak - reverse searing - buzzard767 - 09-02-2008

The following from a friend on another forum with some editing by yours truly. I have cooked two ribeyes using this method and they were both among the best tasting steaks EVER. A no brainer...

First, start off with good steaks. I'd suggest ribeyes. Tenderloin/filet mignon, NY Strip, porterhouse/tbones are good too. Try and get the best you can afford. Choice or prime if you can . Get them thick, at least 1.25 or more if you can.

Next, at least one hour before cooking, salt them. Yes presalt them. Don't lightly salt them either. Get some kosher and cover the steak. Not super heavy, but a fair amount. Remember, this is a big steak. All sides. Then place on a flat plate, cover with saran wrap, and put them back into the fridge or leave them out. I put them in the fridge, I'll explain why later.

Yes this draws moisture out. This isn't necessarily such a bad thing. Dry aging gets rid of moisture too, which concentrates the beef flavor. But what happens is, after about 1/2 an hour, the moisture that is drawn out mixes with the salt. After being drawn out, the meat pulls this salt water back in. After about an hour, you'll notice a lot of the water has been drawn back in. Not all but most. This actually flavors the meat all the way through. Yeah, I didn't believe it, but it does. Also "supposedly" tenderizes the meat a tiny bit. I can't say this for sure, since I'm not food scientist. At this point, you can pat the steaks dry. Don't worry about completely drying it.

Now you can apply whatever other seasoning you want, if you didn't at the beginning with the salt - black pepper, garlic powder etc.

The second technique I do is a reverse sear. Preheat an oven to 275. Insert a polder type probe into the steak where you normally measure temp. Place the steak on a cooling rack and into the oven. Watch the temp. We're looking for 90-95 here, for medium rare (about 25 minutes). If you only have an instant read therm, you'll have to check with times. Before the steak hits 90-95, preheat a cast iron skillet (preferable)regular skllet or grill. Medium-hot heat here. Not high, not medium, somewhere in the middle.

Once the steak hits desired temp (I go for 92F), pull the steak out, pull the probe out, and sear on each side for no more than two minutes each side. You can oil or not, your choice. If not a fatty cut, oil will help the sear along without having seasoning/meat stick to the skillet. No more than two minutes. Start with 2 the first time, adjust to preference later. Plate the meat and rest for ten minutes. You should have a perfect medium rare steak all the way through, without that nasty gray band you see on thick steaks sometimes. Adjust any of the temps and time for your equipment and experience.

So why the reverse sear? Three things. first, with a reverse sear, you dry out the surface of the steak completely. This is good. When the steak hits a hot pan, heat must be used to evaporate the moisture on the surface of the meat. if you dry out the steak, the surface starts to brown immediately. This helps with achieving a better sear on the outside, without heating up the steak too much in the middle. This in turn helps out with item number two. It reduces the nasty gray band you see sometimes in thick cut steaks, between the browned surface and the red interior. This stuff is dry, and tough etc. With the reverse sear, the minimum amount of time on the searing heat doesn't heat up that area too much. Third, and quite important, is enzymes. This is stolen from cooks illustrated. Enzymes called cathespins help break down meat (i.e. dry and wet aging). Well when heated or warmed up, they're like enzymes on steroids. They stop working at 120 or so though. So if you can keep them warm, for an extended period of time, you can mimic the effects of aging within the 1/2 hour or so it takes in the oven. With the reverse sear, you're having these enzymes working in over drive for a longer period of time, far away from their death temp of 120 or lower. They even recommend going straight from fridge to oven, to give the enzymes even more time to work.

This is all on the CI site for anyone interested. They have videos showing it all too. Look for "when should I salt my steaks" and "pan searing thick cut steaks (may/june 200y issue)." Long winded post I know (WOW), and I apologize for that. But I wanted to back up my rambling. And it's not that hard.

Summary? Three steps. (1)Salt thick cut good steaks, one hour. (2) Put in an Oven at 275F until 90-95 degrees. (3) Immediately sear, for no more than two minutes each side on medium hot pan.

Give it a try, I think you'll be very happy with this.

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - DFen911 - 09-02-2008

This does intrigue me. I may play with this, this weekend.

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - chef_Tab - 09-02-2008

Buzz, thanks for sharing this. I am always in search of the perfect steak. Cannot wait to give it a try.
BTW, I love Naples, you are so lucky to live there.

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - cjs - 09-02-2008

Well, it was an interesting read - I do season ahead of time, but don't think I could every wrap my mind around putting a great steak in a 275 F. oven....

And before you say, just try it - I'm one of the first to try just about anything, but I'm thinking this method would not be to my liking.

Anxious to hear what others have to say after they try it.

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - Harborwitch - 09-02-2008

There's a really similar thread on - ribeyes and fillets done in the smoker low and then seared on the grill - there are pictures, in one I think I actually saw juices dripping from my monitor!!! Looks really good! But gawd I'd be a nervous nellie.

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - chef_Tab - 09-02-2008

I just found an article that talks a bit about this. The guy actually aged his own steaks and then cooked two "seared first" and one "reverse seared". He found no difference. Here is the link if anyone cares to read his experiment!

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - buzzard767 - 09-02-2008


I just found an article that talks a bit about this. The guy actually aged his own steaks and then cooked two "seared first" and one "reverse seared". He found no difference. Here is the link if anyone cares to read his experiment!

That is a very interesting article. I'll have to learn more about aging. Thanks.

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - pjcooks - 09-02-2008

That was very interesting, Theresa, thanks. I'd like to try this some day, if I have an extra steak laying around (and someoone else is picking up the tab) just to see if it works out.

My mind can't wrap around it either, Jean, but I sear steaks on top and throw in the oven to finish when I can't find my grill in the winter, so who knows? It would be an interesting (albeit possibly expensive) experiment.


Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - cjs - 09-02-2008

PJ, that's what I do when the snow is too high on the grill!

Re: Fool proof steak - reverse searing - Gourmet_Mom - 09-02-2008

I have done the salt method many times and added minced garlic and pepper to the "rub". It really does work. The most noticeable part is that the flavor of the OTHER seasonings...minced garlic, peppers (red, jalapeno, etc.) is "drawn" back into the meat so that you taste it with every bite. The reverse sear, I'll have to reserve judgement. I may try it, since I KNOW the salt works.

It's funny, I thought about this Saturday when I was fixing our steaks. It was too late to do the salt thing, but I decided to use that method again soon. We had a lengthy discussion on that method in the other forum last year. I remember Michael became fascinated with the method and posted numerous experiments with pictures after I brought it up.

I will add that if only trying the salt method, you can leave it on the counter during the "curing" process. AND you rinse the meat and pat VERY dry before cooking.