How to Reverse Sear a Steak

  • Walton's Employee

    Meat Hacks: How to Reverse Sear a Steak

    Learn How to Reverse Sear a Steak with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.

    Meat Hacks

    Why Reverse Sear a Steak?
    Reverse Searing a Steak is a process where you slowly cook the interior of the steak and then finish it off with high heat sear. If you follow this method you should end up with a steak that has the nice red color throughout the entire steak but still get that nice crust on the outside. The process does take a considerable amount of time but I promise you the end results are well worth the time and effort.

    To begin, let’s talk about selecting the best steak for a reverse sear. You will want to select a steak that is at least 1.25 inches thick, this is to ensure that you do not overcook the product with the initial low heat phase. Next you will want to look at the marbling of the fat and choose a steak with marbling that runs throughout as much of the cut as possible.

    The important next step that many people ignore is to take your steak out of the refrigerator 45 minutes prior to grilling which allows the meat to come up to room temperature. A cold steak thrown on the grill will not have the same taste or tenderness as a room temperature steak. After you take the steak out to allow it to equalize with the room temperature, then you will want to season it. You have probably heard some people say that salt and pepper is all you really need for a proper seasoning, while this can be true with extremely high end steaks such as Kobe, Wagyu or Heartland, the average and normal steak that we buy at from a local butcher, meat market, or grocery store can definitely benefit from additional seasoning. Our number one choice for steak seasoning is the Excalibur Ultimate Steak and Roast Rub. It is one of our best-selling shakers seasonings for a reason, it is simple yet delicious!

    Before we begin cooking, we’ll need to pre-heat our smoker to 210-220 degrees. Once it is up to temp and our steaks have rested at room temp for 45 minutes, then place the steaks in smoker and leave them until the internal temperature reaches around 125-135 degrees (depending on the desired level of doneness). This can take up to an hour depending on thickness of steaks and type of smoker. You will need a meat thermometer for an exact and consistent temperature reading. Walton’s recommends one of the fast reading digital thermometers so you can minimize the amount of time the smoker or grill is open. Two of our favorites are the Slimline Digital Waterproof Thermometer and the Folding Probe Thermometer, which may be one of our fastest reading thermometers. Just visit and looking under Smoking & Grilling and Thermometers to find one of these thermometers or over three dozen different other thermometers.

    Finishing by Searing

    Once our steaks reach the desired internal temp, remove them from the grill and cover them loosely with tin foil. We then have two options for finishing our steaks and searing them. We can either turn our smoker or grill up to 500+ degrees and use the grill grates or we can put a cast iron skillet in the grill or smoker and finish the steaks on that.

    This holding time is often called napping your steaks and there are different theories on its effectiveness. Since we need to take them off to allow the smoker/grill to come up to temperature, let’s assume that this method is effective.

    Once your smoker, grill, or skillet is up to temperature put your steaks back on the grill or skillet for about 1-2 minutes per side. This will give it the desired sear, texture, and crispy crust on the outside. We also like to put a dollop of butter on the steak after flipping it one time. In our opinion, a cast iron skillet is the best option for searing a steak and better than just using a plain grill or skillet. Another good option is to use a Grill Grate. We still like cast iron better, but Grill Grates are a great option which is better than searing them directly on a grill because it funnels the heat from your smoker or grill up to the aluminum grates, and doing this will increase the temperature on the surface by about 100 degrees.

    Once we’ve finished searing for 1 to 2 minutes per side, take off the grill and serve hot!

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    Reverse Seared Steak

    Reverse Seared Steak

    Ultimate Steak & Roast Rub

    Ultimate Steak & Roast Rub

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    Jonathon, I have to agree that 275 is too hot… If you have the time I’d shoot for 225, but if it needs to be “done”, then 250 would be the max I would do…

    I have always filled the water pan for everything I smoke… 2 reasons, first it does tend to add moisture during the long cook thus keeping the bark from turning to shoe leather… and second because the water pan acts as a heat sink and helps maintain the temperature (in my vertical propane smoker) a bit more accurately… I’ve heard folks tout using apple juice in the water pan to impart a sweeter flavor, but I’ve never tried it…

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    Thank You Sir:

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