The reverse sear is the best way to cook a steak, period. Traditionally, if you ask 'How to cook the perfect steak", people will tell you 1."Rub the steak all over with olive oil and season well with a pinch of salt and black pepper"; 2. Add the steak to a hot pan and cook for six minutes for medium-rare, and; 3. Let it rest and rub it with little butter for an incredibly juicy steak.
For me, I dislike the narrow window of time in which the centre of the steak is cooked to a perfect medium-rare. Cooking my steak at a high temperature with the traditional method varies depending on the stove (gas vs electric), the pan (cast iron vs triple-clad stainless steel vs Teflon), the time the stars, sun and moon align. Plus, I was taught to avoid nonstick pans for searing because it doesn't get the meat charred properly.
Slow-Cooking Steak: Sous-Vide vs Oven
Then, there's the option of slow-cooking a steak via sous-vide. This option guarantees a perfectly cooked steak to your preference provided that you set the temperature correctly. For example 129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C) for medium rare. I like to set mine at 115°F factoring the extra cooking time of searing my steak afterwards.
You can also start the process of reverse sears by slow-cooking your steak in the oven between 115°F (46°C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Set your timer at 25 minutes for your first check. If it is too raw, leave it in a few more minutes.
This method works best with steaks at least 1.5 inches thick. Always target your cooking temperature about 10°F below your desired serving temperature.
Slowing cooking your steak first in the oven or sous-vide is equally effective. Both achieve an even-cooking temperature. Sous-vide is more precise. If you forget to set your timer, that's ok. It will maintain that desired temperature. In the oven, it is more finicky - a minute too long, your steak is over-cooked; a minute too little, it is still raw.
Final Cooking Temperature of Strip, Ribeye, and Porterhouse Steaks
- Very Rare to Rare: 120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C), 1 to 2 ½ hours.
- Medium-rare: 129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C), 1 to 4 hours (2 ½ hours for temperatures under 130°F/57°C).
- Medium: 135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C), 1 to 4 hours.
- Medium-well: 145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C), 1 to 3 ½ hours.
- Well done: 156°F (69°C) and up, 1 to 3 hours.
Perfect Browning in a Cast Iron Skillet
Reverse searing means slow-cooking the steak first and end in a hot pan. I love using my Staub Cast Iron Braiser with Chistera Spikes. The 'Chistera drop structure' captures any condensation produced, distributing it evenly over you food, creating juicy tender meat and hearty aromatic vegetables. The cast iron braiser creates this beautiful charred, crispy, dark brown crust. The cast iron pan is ripping-hot and is able to maintain a high temperature evenly.
I like using a deeper braiser and residual au jus to roast a side of vegetables.
- Remember to use an oil with a high smoke point.
- Cook the steaks, flipping every few seconds until they are charred all over. Limit your time to a minute.
Serve the steaks and dig into the best-cooked juiciest steak you've ever had in your life!
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