Note: This post is part of the “Kamado 101 – The Definitive Guide to Amazing Barbecue” series, in which I cover everything from the foundational aspects of Kamado cooking all the way through advanced concepts designed to transform you into a backyard barbecue pit master. View the entire series here.
I don’t care what anyone says, grilling the perfect steak is an art form. Getting that crisp outside edge with the juicy red center and melt-in-your-mouth texture and taste… nothing beats that. And while, sure, you could just cook a steak on the grill at a consistent temperature, you’ll end up with a gradient when you cut into it. From brown to gray to tan to a light strip of pink in the middle. And while, yes, that probably tastes okay, the goal isn’t just okay, is it? You want that red, juicy center to go edge to edge. And that’s where the reverse sear comes in.
The idea behind a reverse sear is to cook the meat at a low temperature in order to get that juicy center and red coloring all the way through. Then, just before it’s done, crank up the heat and sear both sides so that you have that delicious brown crust. Yum!
In order to reverse sear a steak, you’ll have to monitor temperatures pretty consistently both for the grill itself and the meat. You can check out our temperature guide here for an idea, but generally you’ll want to cook the steak at around 250°F for 30 to 45 minutes. The goal is to get it within 10 degrees of the target temperature. Then, let the meat rest, crank up the grill temperature, and sear the outside. Boom! Delicious steak. Barest effort. Win win!
Here are the steps for you:
Step 1: Heat the grill to 250°F
Step 2: Bring the steak to room temperature
Step 3: Place the steak on the grill and monitor its internal temperature carefully with a meat thermometer.
Step 4: When the internal temperature reaches 10 degrees less than than your ideal temperature for whatever doneness you’re looking for, remove from the grill. Remember that the temperature will rise while it’s resting.
Step 5: While the steak is resting, throw open the vents and increase the temperature to around 550°F
Step 6: Throw the steak back on the grill and cook for another couple minutes on each side, watching closely and flipping as necessary so it doesn’t burn.
Step 7: Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!
Keep in mind that steak isn’t the only thing that you can reverse sear. In fact, you can reverse sear basically anything that is thick enough to benefit from it. Chicken breast is great seared—you get that juicy center without charring the skin. Awesome!