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A surprise NYE sear/reverse sear side by side

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    A surprise NYE sear/reverse sear side by side

    Just before Christmas, we got four HUGE bone in ribeyes, 2 1/2 - 3+" thick from a new store. Too thick to do my usual cook on the grill, so I tried the reverse sear. For the first time. With guests for dinner (hey, no guts, no glory). Warmed them up in the WSM and when up to temp moved them to the grill for the sear. They were good, but not up to my standards. Was it the steaks, the cook? What? A control test needed.

    So a bit after 5 NYE, #1 asks, shouldn't you be setting up the grill?
    Am I cooking tonight?
    The steaks
    We're having steaks tonight?
    yes, I got 4 boneless Ribeyes

    SOOOO, here is our chance to do a control test.

    Did the reverse sear on one and cooked the other in the traditional/old style sear first and then we shared the results. I used my Weber Kettle only. For the reverse sear, I had a few too many charcoals on one side, the meat and exhaust vent on the other. The kettle ran about 235, a little hotter than I would have preferred and no wood chips/chunks were used. When the ribeye got to about 110, I added a chimney of hot coals and added the other ribeye.

    #1 liked them equally, for different reasons. Because I only used the kettle I had some technical issues that made me open the lid more often (two cuts at different stages of doneness) and resulted in flare ups. Put a little more char on the one cooked the old way.

    Since food will absorb the smoke flavor until the Malliard reaction occurs, the we'd expect the reverse seared to pick up a lot more smokiness than the one done the old way. I noted the reverse seared ribeye did have a much smokier taste, than the ribeye cooked the old sear first way. So here are my thoughts. Ribeyes are a very robust cut of beef. They can handle the extra smoke flavoring. If you love the taste of the beef itself, the reverse sear may overpower the flavor of a more delicate cut, like a tenderloin. If you love the smoke, as I think most here do, the reverse sear is the way to go, but if you are more of a purist for the beef flavor, the old way may still has its uses.

    Since we have two more ribeyes from the four-pack, I'm going to do this again with some minor modifications. Fewer coals to get the temp down to 225 and have the exhaust vent over the coals instead of over the meat. I think this may reduce the smokiness a bit. I'll report back in a few days.

    Rich nice writeup. What I noticed as I mastered Reverse Sear... In the beginning as I was learning I preferred filet mignon cooked reverse sear and ribeyes cooked normal sear. After I got better at reverse sear, and picking out the right ribeyes suited to reverse sear, I eventually began liking ALL my steaks reverse sear.

    I think you should practice reverse sear more on some filet mignons, then go back to ribeyes after a few cooks


    • Papa Bob
      Papa Bob commented
      Editing a comment
      2 1/2 to 3 in thick those were almost a small standing rib roast weren't they?

    WOW, PB! Interesting perspective. I'd have continued with the ribeyes, as I know this cut better. What characteristics in ribeyes do you look for when buying for a reverse sear? Sorry if I left the impression that I did not like the reverse sear. Was not at all my intent. I tried to write it I a very neutral way. Truthfully, I'm wide open after a test of one, and going to re-do it shortly. I have thawed ribeyes already, so they'll be next. Thank you for your insights here!


      Did you raise the charcoal grate closer to the food grate? I have a Weber kettle as well (actually 3 of them) and I use my Smokenator and Party Q for the low and slow part. After 15 min., I start a full chimney for my 18" Weber kettle. I have 3 bricks under the coal grate that brings the coals to within an inch of the food grate. I take the meat from the Smokenator kettle and slap them on the 18" kettle after I pat dry the steaks with paper towels to minimize flareups. I turn them every 30 seconds for around 3-4 minutes. Gets a great brown all over with no grill marks.

      Did you dry brine them?


        FLB, no, I didn't really dry brine them. Normally I dry brine overnight, but I didn't know I was cooking last night. No elevating my grate, either. Temp on the sear was not an issue. Next time I might do the sear on the WSM, where I can get a grate JUST above the coals.


          Good work, how many coals did you need to get that 235? 10 coals in my PBC gets me the temp I need but I too tried the whole thing in the kettle and 10 coals topped out at 175.


            John, I didn't count, but as I recall looking at my coal holder that I likely had 15-20, and that is why despite my efforts, I just couldn't hold the temp down. Likely should have used about 6-8 briquettes.


              Reverse sear is my go to now. For the first part of the process I bring it up to temp slowly on the bun warmer rack farthest away from one burner on low on m large 5 burner gas grill or if I want smoke I use my Bradley smoker for 20-40 minutes @ 220-225. No matter how I do the first part I do the sear on cast iron. I use a skillet for one or two or a cast iron griddle for more. The skillet goes on the side burner and the griddle lays across several burners.

              This has allowed me to get a beautiful Malliard char fully across both surfaces while maintaining my preferred red warm center with freely flowing juices.

              In the beginning I both overcooked and undercooked them a bit. Nothing that was not edible but not precielsy what I wanted either. It just took a bit of practice.



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