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What about the rub in the Reverse Sear method?

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  • BBQ_Bill
    Club Member
    • Jun 2017
    • 409
    • Phoenix, Arizona

    What about the rub in the Reverse Sear method?

    I've been using the conventional method for cooking steaks for a few decades now, and per the eaters as well as in neighborhood competitions, I have great results.
    -
    I understand the theory behind the reverse sear, and I can see the benefits, I really can.
    It is similar to the results I get with Sous Vide where we all will achieve edge to edge perfection as far as doneness.
    BUT...
    Be it Sous Vide or reverse sear, I have a problem that so far has not been addressed.
    (Maybe it's just that I have simply not found it explained to my satisfaction as of yet)
    -
    So...
    My rub, IS the rub.
    With my old style, I sear a thick Ribeye steak over a roaring flame built with hot coals and mesquite wood.
    Next, it goes onto a cool grill in the smoker where it is buttered and then rubbed with my favorite spices.
    With the rub nicely spread on the surface of this beautifully browned steak, I use my spatula, and lightly slap/spank the surface, giving it some love as I like to think of it.
    Then, I flip it over, butter, rub and gently spank the other side of that baby.
    There she sits, slow cooking and being smoked at around 210°F with a stainless steel bowl of water in between the the fire and it, until the center of that lovely steak reaches almost medium rare.
    -
    From there, it is lovingly placed onto a heated skillet, resting on a wooden trivet where it sizzles sweetly and is devoured by a blessed eater.
    -
    Okay, here's my problem...
    with the reverse sear, my rub does not meld with the oils and moisture on the surface of the steak during the slow cook.
    Instead, the butter and rub goes on just before the eater partakes.
    I am not liking that because some spices are water soluble and others are oil soluble which means that during the slow cook they mix their goodness with those liquids and I find THIS to be a good thing.
    -
    According to Meathead, I am supposed to rub them, slow cook, and then sear.
    I sear REALLY HOT which will burn my butter and savory spices into char and ash, will it not?
    -
    What are your thoughts regarding this?
    Please understand that before reading about the reverse sear method, I honestly believed that my method to produce high quality steaks had reached the pinnacle of perfection.

    -
    Last edited by BBQ_Bill; January 3, 2019, 05:52 AM.
  • Frozen Smoke
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 1528
    • Northern Mn

    #2
    I guess I'm not seeing your problem. You have developed a method which you feel is the pinnacle of perfection. So why change the method? Sounds like the idea of reverse sear has intrigued you but you see the flaws in it compared to your chosen method that you have done for years. I go back and forth between searing on the front end and reverse sear. I guess I don't use butter on my steaks unless I'm doing them on cast iron pan on the stove then I use butter and oil to baste them.

    The one minor drawback to reverse sear is your chances of over cooking the steak are greater. There are rubs available that are designed for searing a steak that have spices and oils made to meld with the high heat of searing. Oak Ridge BBQ has one called Carna Costa. I haven't yet tried it so I can't speak from experience.
    Using one of these rubs and adding your butter at the end should be not much different than your current method.

    Do a couple of reverse sears if it's not to your liking you have your proven method to go back to.

    Comment


    • BBQ_Bill
      BBQ_Bill commented
      Editing a comment
      I have two ribeye roasts sitting at 33°F under vacuum in dry brine.
      After reading so much regarding the "Perfect" steak, period" I thought the reverse sear process through and was struggling with HOW to do this "perfection" thing.
      These are Prime and as usual, I want to excell, especially when we are talking the kind of $ where failure is not an option.

    • BBQ_Bill
      BBQ_Bill commented
      Editing a comment
      I will go with my tried and true method, but have not seen a spice that tastes good after intense flame gets done with it.
  • Old Glory
    Club Member
    • Feb 2018
    • 889
    • Northshore MA
    • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
      XL BGE
      DCS Gasser
      Humphrey's Cabinet Smoker
      Weber Performer

      Slow & Sear
      Vortex
      Ceramic Grill Store Reducer Ring
      Woo Rig;
      Adjustable Rig
      BGE Pizza Stone
      FireBoard
      Pit Bull Fan
      Griddle Store Griddle

    #3
    I rub my steaks and let them sit for a 20 minutes before reverse sear. I bring them up to temp using indirect heat. I look at the rub to see if it needs more before moving over to the fire for searing. Works great for me.

    For SV I season before putting in bag add some butter and bring up to temp. I always add more rub before searing in a blazing cast iron griddle with butter and oil.

    Sometimes I add a pat of butter while they rest.

    Comment

    • RonB
      Club Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 12689
      • Near Richmond VA
      • Weber Performer Deluxe
        SNS
        Pizza insert
        Rotisserie
        Smokenator 1000
        Cookshack Smokette Elite
        2 Thermapens
        Chefalarm
        Dot
        lots of probes.
        CyberQ

      #4
      I have some high heat rub, but have not gotten up the nerve to try it yet. When I do, one steak will get the new rub, and the other will get S&P. That way we both get to try the new rub, but have the old rub as a standby.

      Comment

      • ecowper
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 3262
        • Maple Valley, WA
        • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
          Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

          Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
          Thermometer = Maverick ET732
          Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
          Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
          Thermapen Classic = Grey
          PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

          Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
          Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
          Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
          Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

          Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


          Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

        #5
        The issue you bring up really isn’t an issue for me. My “rub” for steak consists of salt and coarse ground pepper. As to getting the results that the butter creates for you, I use “beef love” .... tallow .... to paint the steaks and then finish the sear.

        Comment

        • HawkerXP
          Club Member
          • Jul 2016
          • 5485
          • Virginia
          • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
            Thermopops
            Dot and Chef Alarm with probes
            Slo n Sear
            Cold beer

          #6
          I also do not rub ours steaks. Or spank them..... I do like the reverse sear and I like the idea of not having all that stuff to clean up after. I make breakfast most days. I'll use the same pan for bacon, sautéing vegetables and then omelet making.

          Comment

          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 7197

            • OUTDOOR COOKERS

              BBQ ACCESSORIES

              WOOD & PELLET PREFERENCES

              SOUS VIDE

              INDOOR COOKWARE


            #7
            I usually use SPOG or even Montreal Steak Seasoning on mine and have no problems what-so-ever. I usually use avocado oil as my "paint" (as ecowper calls it) and that helps to keep things from just charring. I believe that natural oils in the seasoning mixed with the avacado oil does the trick. It's really no different than pan searing with butter after pre-searing without, just in reverse.

            I do agree though that if you're happy with your method than the heck with reverse sear, stick with what tastes good for you. I don't personally adhere to everything that's written here by Meathead or whomever. There is no official BBQ Bible that we have to bow down to. And besides, I really like the idea that you spank your meat before cooking, that's really kind of kinky big boy !!!

            Here's one I did over Christmas with SPOG and a little avocado oil painted on as I reverse seared. It's not a picture perfect sear but man did it taste great .....



            Comment


            • BBQ_Bill
              BBQ_Bill commented
              Editing a comment
              The "spanking" is similar to the massage I have seen some do to their brisket, however, I actually press the seasoning in on brisket, and "spank" it in on steaks.
              Quirky, weird, but a lot of people watch me work the steaks, and the first time I started slapping the steaks right after adding the rub, the watchers got a kick out of it. So... it became the thing to do and it looks cool.
          • ssandy_561
            Charter Member
            • Apr 2015
            • 1189
            • Central OHIO

            #8
            The only thing that goes on my steak before it cooks is salt. Nothing goes on it while it’s cooking. If I want seasoning on it I’ll put it on right after it comes off the sear.

            I’ll brown butter in a pan with either rosemary or thyme and pour over the steaks or use as a “dipping sauce”.

            I’ll make a softened butter with roasted garlic in it and put a nice sized scoop on each steak and let it melt over the top while it sits on the plate.

            I also still love my Montreal Steak Seasoning. I’ll make a thick paste of this with a touch of vegetable oil and brush it over the steaks when it comes off the sear.

            Most times anymore though I’ll just put a few grinds of black pepper on the steak while it’s on my plate and enjoy it that way. Maybe I just enjoy the pure beef flavor being the star of the show.

            Comment


            • Timbo54
              Timbo54 commented
              Editing a comment
              This is pretty much the way I do it. I've wondered if putting seasoning on prior to searing would just burn it up and it would become bitter. Salt before and season afterwards.
          • BBQ_Bill
            Club Member
            • Jun 2017
            • 409
            • Phoenix, Arizona

            #9
            All great replies.
            I want to thank you gents for them.
            After all of these years, I should know better than to assume anything.
            -
            Obviously, as mentioned, experimenting is in order.
            I'll start with a simple potato cut in half and some 80/20 hamburger meat as well.
            -
            It has taken a long time to develop my rub, so I will use that to start with.
            Should be fun!
            Thanks again to all!

            Comment

            • Craigar
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 1101
              • Papillion, NE
              • * - Weber 26.75" OTG
                * - Weber 22.5" Premium cloaked in Crimson
                * - Slow 'N Sear
                * - Smoke E-Z - 26.75" (The Grain Silo)
                * - Lodge Sportsman Grill
                * - Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter
                * - Thermoworks ThermoPop
                * - Thermoworks Dot
                * - iGrill2 - 4 probes
                * - Favorite Beer - the cold one in my hand (craft beers of all flavors; haven't had a blue yummy in over 6 years) my tastes change with the season so it is difficult to name just a couple. However, I will occasionally have a vanilla porter float in the summer (Empyrean Vanilla Porter w/a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream) as I usually drink stouts & porters in the colder months, pale ales & IPAs in the warmer months. I have to add Not Your Father's Root Beer to beers I use for floats.
                * - Booze - I don't really have a favorite, but lean towards single malt Scotch & Irish whiskey
                * - Wines - Reds: mainly the heavy stuff mixed in with the occasional pinot noir ( I have yet to meet a malbec I didn't like); Whites: German & Nebraska (hey, I have to support the home team)
                * - Favorite Spice outlets - Frisco Spices in LaVista, NE (the local butcher supply shop); Volcanic Peppers in Bellevue, NE
                * - Current butchers: Just Good Meats & Fareway Foods

              #10
              Like a lot of people, we like some sort of SPG to start off with. AFTER searing and right before serving I have started to lightly dust the meat with Willingham's W'ham Seasoning. If you read the ingredients it has what I would call Worcestershire sauce powder. It really brings out the beef flavor on just about everything beef product I have sprinkled it on.

              Comment


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                +1 on Worcestershire, I use L&P as my wetting agent before seasoning. Leaves an umami flavor component in the background. The powder sounds like it would work as well.
            • Murdy
              Club Member
              • May 2018
              • 464
              • North-Central Illinois

              #11
              Originally posted by BBQ_Bill View Post
              Okay, here's my problem...
              with the reverse sear, my rub does not meld with the oils and moisture on the surface of the steak during the slow cook.
              Instead, the butter and rub goes on just before the eater partakes.
              I am not liking that because some spices are water soluble and others are oil soluble which means that during the slow cook they mix their goodness with those liquids and I find THIS to be a good thing.
              -
              According to Meathead, I am supposed to rub them, slow cook, and then sear.
              I sear REALLY HOT which will burn my butter and savory spices into char and ash, will it not?
              OK, this may be a dumb idea and may not even work or address your concerns.

              But . . . . It occurred to me, could you meld your rub and butter first, off the steak, in a warm frying pan, let them sit for a while and "mix their goodness." I believe butter has both an oil and water component, allowing the 2 types of soluble spices to meld. Then, as soon as you pull the steaks off the sear, paint them with the mixture immediately so they have a little time to sit on the hot steak before the eater dives in?

              Comment


              • Potkettleblack
                Potkettleblack commented
                Editing a comment
                See, i'd take this one further... mix the rub into the butter to make a compound butter, like a whole stick of it, and then either paint at the table or cook in a fry pan and paint at service.

              • Sweaty Paul
                Sweaty Paul commented
                Editing a comment
                See 👆
            • BBQ_Bill
              Club Member
              • Jun 2017
              • 409
              • Phoenix, Arizona

              #12
              That sounds pretty cool there Murdy and Potkettleblack
              And... this does solve the issue of basically destroying the goodness of the butter and rub guys.
              I REALLY am wanting these two roasts to be "The Bomb".
              A serious THANK YOU to everyone that replied.
              You all have posted some truly smart ideas as well as good points!
              Well taken my friends.

              Comment

              • Santamarina
                Club Member
                • Aug 2018
                • 733
                • Wildomar, CA

                #13
                Maybe a crazy idea...maybe just right: I’d try cooking with just salt and pepper, then after the reverse sear use the butter and your rub as a board sauce.

                Comment

                • randy56
                  Club Member
                  • Aug 2017
                  • 445
                  • Newburgh In

                  #14
                  Being new to the SV type of cooking, I'm with you on reverse sear, did not like the results in a test cook. The other way worked better IMO. SV first then sear. I only eat steak's on days that end with Y. After have my SV less than a month, and experimenting, with several different, ideas, it is a learning curve. And kinda fun trying different cooks. My first roast cook was barely eatable. Pork loin was ok, pork chops a little juicer, Chicken did not need as much rub as on smoker. Still testing but not sold on the whole concept. Of SV. Just my opinion, stick with your tried and true kinky/ spanking method.

                  Comment

                  • Red Man
                    Club Member
                    • May 2018
                    • 1026
                    • Western Washington

                    #15
                    I say there’s nuthin wrong with sticking with what you’ve perfected and love. However... the reverse sear has a few benefits. If you front sear it takes more heat due to the cold, wet surface of the meat. This extra searing time overcooks a thicker layer of meat. There’s also the potential issue of front searing too much and then the surface is burnt by the time the interior is cooked, but with experience this can be avoided. The best way to reverse sear is to let the meat temp drop a couple degrees before you sear, this prevents overshooting your target temp during the sear.

                    Comment


                    • Potkettleblack
                      Potkettleblack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      It’s also possible that some folks like a thicker band of grey than others.

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