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Front-end Sear?

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    Front-end Sear?

    I often cook one steak. I love the end result of a reverse sear but have a problem. By the time my steak gets to 115-120 degrees, my charcoal is spent (I use briquettes because I'm tired of buying lump and getting half a bag of dust). So to complete the reverse sear I have to add more lit charcoal to get the sear. This means I'm using at LEAST a can and a half of charcoal. I've discovered that If I sear on the front end, using fresh hot charcoal, I can reach 130 degrees easily as the charcoal (one can) dies out. Is this sacrilegious?

    #2
    Not at all. If you do want to reverse sear in some cases, do the low roast over charcoal with smoke if you want, then bring it inside and sear over cast iron. I don't think the heat source for searing makes a lot of different.

    Also, what briquettes?

    Comment


    • steve weston
      steve weston commented
      Editing a comment
      Kingsford blue

    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Huh. OK, those burn a little faster than the B&B I now use but it's not that much of a difference. I assume you're trying to keep the front end part low and slow so it takes like 30-40 mins to get to 120 or whatever your target temp is?

    #3
    Not at all. I do it all the time, probably more often than i true reverse sear these days. Depends on what im cooking but front sear i find to be easier and more consistent, especially if im cooking multiple steaks.

    Comment


      #4
      Nope, been doing front sear on steaks all my life. I tried reverse sear but I'm not a big fan unless I'm searing something that I cooked in the sous vide.

      Comment


        #5
        I use reverse sear when cooking steaks on the pellet grill or Sous Vide. I usually front sear over charcoal. I think both have their advantages. Front sear I get more control the crust and rarely miss desired temps. Reverse sear I notice more smoke flavor and believe it often gets more tenderness, but I sometimes overshoot temps trying to get sear I’m looking for. Front seared these Friday night:
        Attached Files

        Comment


          #6
          I think I get better control with a front sear. First, I'm not worried about over cooking a thick steak with a front sear, and second, with the slow done last, there is less chance of over shooting my pull temp.

          If I am cookin' a thin steak, it's all sear anyway. I just flip and check the temp each time after the first few flips.

          Comment


            #7
            I’m wondering why your charcoal won’t last long enough to cook a steak? I always get at least a couple of hours out of my coals, even when starting my cook with all white coals. What kind of briquettes are you using, how do you light them and what kind of cooker do you use?
            Last edited by Panhead John; March 7, 2021, 02:25 PM.

            Comment


            • steve weston
              steve weston commented
              Editing a comment
              Using Kingsford Blue

            • steve weston
              steve weston commented
              Editing a comment
              Light em in a can

            #8
            My sediments with Panhead John! What is goin on with yer burn of charcoal? A steak is only a 10 to 15 in cook, depending on how ya want it done. What kind of briquettes are ya usin, what are ya cookin in, how long is yer gettin ready burn of coals? Something isn’t addin up. My problem with the reverse sear was over cookin em when I got to the searin part, not spent coals.
            Are you massaging the coals before you light them? Are you tellin em “not so fast lil buddies” before ya put em in the basket. I dunno, many questions.

            Comment


              #9
              No, not sacrilegious. Front sear for steaks is my preferred method and the best way. Why? Because you control the sear and all the flavor is in the caramelization or crust. Develop the flavor and then finish it off indirect to get your desired internal temp.

              Comment


                #10
                So, been thinking about this as I do stuff around the house and I use both... but when?

                I use reverse sear when the steak/chop is thicker, at least 1.5". I want a light smoke on it and thin steaks will come to temp too fast for that to really happen unless I shoot for a very low temp in the grill which can be hard to do (easier on a pellet grill of course). The corollary to this is that I only reverse sear over charcoal and always with some wood. If I'm not going to get smoke on it, what's the point?

                I also need at least 45mins for this because if I reverse sear I do try to keep the indirect temps in the mid-200s and it takes something like 30 mins to go from fridge temp to 120F. And again, if I'm reverse searing for 10 mins, I don't get much smoke so why bother? I tried a reverse sear the other week in a 325 oven and the carryover was extreme. I halted it at 122 and at 135 put the damn thing in the fridge to stop the carryover. So I want lower heat to avoid pumping that much energy into the meat. And yes, I could have pulled it at 110 but still...

                I front sear with thinner steaks and where I don't care about getting smoke on the steak. Often, I'll do this when I don't want to spend more than 15 mins or so, too. A hard sear on each side for 3-5 mins max, a few minutes in a 325 oven and boom, done.
                Last edited by rickgregory; March 7, 2021, 03:23 PM.

                Comment


                  #11
                  Turned out great! It's good to know I'm not a lunatic! Thanks, everybody for your feedback.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • rickgregory
                    rickgregory commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Well, I mean, you COULD be a lunatic. But at least you can cook a good steak.

                  #12
                  Like many here I’ve cooked a lot of steaks over the years. I would always do the reverse sear, then one day someone here on AR suggested trying a front sear. For me I’ll never go back to reverse searing, especially for thick steaks.
                  I use a chimney starter 2/3rds full and get it going to warp 10. Then set a grate on top and sear my steaks to my liking. Then dump the charcoal in my SnS and add a hunk of hickory and bring it up to temp (250). Now season the steaks and cook to 125 internal and let rest 10-15 min.
                  by doing it this way I can really hit my internal temps easy. Seems I would overshoot temps sometimes with the reverse sear method....YMMV

                  Comment


                    #13
                    Ok, enough time has passed fer me to stew on this. I maintain the we don’t know what the problem is. A lot of or all of the advise is simply AR marvelous. I think front searing or reverse searing isn’t the solution. To proceed with the dentistry, when you say you use a “can” for the Kingsford, what kind of can, soup can, Lrge soup can, coffee can, can of beans, I mean whas up? Let’s ask in a differnt manner, how many briquettes? What kind of grill? You have not explained the problem properly. Better yet show us what yer talkin about.

                    Comment


                    • Panhead John
                      Panhead John commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I agree totally. But it looks like his cook is over and he’s moved on. A better explanation would have helped with his problem. Also , how long did the coals last?

                    • FireMan
                      FireMan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yup Panhead John cuz if he didn’t have enough coals for a reverse sear then he wouldn’t have enough to bring to a final temp sorta.
                      Last edited by FireMan; March 7, 2021, 11:42 PM.

                    • steve weston
                      steve weston commented
                      Editing a comment
                      SNS Kamado Deluxe. Standard charcoal starter can w/ about 25 briquettes.

                    #14
                    I have moved to doing the continuous flip method almost all the time. It works great and the sear you get is very satisfying. Cause you get a nice even crust and you get to watch it develop. I go with about 30 seconds a side over a really hot fire. I find that lump work the best, but that is just me.

                    Comment


                      #15
                      steve weston when I do steaks with my kettle and the SNS, I tend to have a half chimney of lit charcoal (one of the tall Weber chimneys) in the SNS, and I find that this is enough to bring the steak up to 120 degrees in the indirect area over 30-40 minutes, then with the lid up, still have red hot coals to sear the steaks over. This is with briquette or lump. A half chimney is probably 40-50 briquettes - a lot more than you are using.

                      Since getting the SNS Kamado, I've pretty much filled up the SNS all the way, and started the fire with a couple of starter cubes. I then kill the vents after my cook, reusing whatever is left over as the base for my next cook.

                      There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a front sear, and if that works for you, using that amount of charcoal, more power to you. I had never heard of the reverse sear before coming to AR in 2017, and I've been enjoying steaks for a long long time!
                      Last edited by jfmorris; March 8, 2021, 09:59 AM.

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