What is the reverse sear method? Why you MUST use it

The reverse sear method ensures a beautiful even cook from edge to edge and a nice sear on the outside. It’s very similar to Sous Vide cooking, minus the plastic bag, vacuum sealer, and heated water bath. Cooking meat low and slow ensures moist and tender meat. Trust me when I say it’s easy, and well worth doing. As you can see below, the difference is quite noticeable. The best part is that it’s really easy to do once you have your grill figured out. This can work really well only nearly any grill, even on a gas grill for under $300. If you are fortunate enough to be using a dedicated smoker, this whole process becomes even easier for you – although you’ll need to figure out where you’re going to reverse sear. You really only need 2 things to do this right.

Simply stated, a reverse sear describes a process which is the reverse of the normal process for grilling meat. Normally, meat is seared, then the temp is dialed back until done. With a reverse sear, the searing takes place at the end. The results a fantastic, and it’s a lot easier to ensure you’ve properly cooked steaks (or whatever) because we use thermometers to make sure! I laugh at the folks who use various parts of their hands or face to determine if the meat is properly cooked. It may work some of the time, but how exacting can a person possibly be? Stick a thermo-pen in there and know for sure. What are you trying to prove anyway?


What you’ll need:

  1. An instant read thermometer – a must for anyone cooking on a grill (or smoker).
  2. A thermometer for your grill – again a must – never ever believe the thermometer on the lid of your grill
2 cut steaks showing results of reverse sear cooking method
Reverse sear yields fantastic results

Traditional vs. Reverse sear

2-zone technique for reverse sear

illustration of 2-zone cooking method in a charcoal kettle grill
Cook over indirect – sear over direct

Set up your grill as shown above – heating only half of it. It doesn’t matter if you have a charcoal, electric or gas grill – the principal is the same. Now adjust your burners, elements, or vents to achieve a temp of ~ 225 degrees on the indirect side. Remember to take the temp near the grill surface. Once you’ve got a steady temp, go ahead and begin cooking. Cook indirectly until the meat is within 10 degrees of final desired temp then move to the hot side and sear on both sides – moving and flipping every thirty seconds or so.

Check the temp with your instant read thermometer and remove from the grill when ready.

There is no room for doubt: once you start the reverse searing method, you will never cook meat any other way. Once I started using this technique I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Your family and friends will be very impressed. It’s so easy you’ll feel like your cheating.

Recent Posts