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I've just escaped from the Reverse Sear Cult...

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  • AZ Fogey
    Club Member
    • May 2019
    • 142
    • Surprise, AZ
    • Mike O'
      RecTec Stampede w/ Grill Grates
      Makers Mark on ice with a dribble of water.

    I've just escaped from the Reverse Sear Cult...

    About 6 or 7 months ago, I grew disenchanted with the Reverse Sear Method. Rarely could I manage to get a well seared piece of meat and still hit my target doneness temp. Trying to get the sear I wanted so often led to meat that I considered to be overcooked. Certainly edible, but overcooked to my eye and taste. I also noticed that a number of very good YouTube cooks were experiencing similar results.

    Then, quite by an accident that I've posted about previously in "Darn, that's cold.", I started to cook frozen meat pre-seared. This allowed me to use the tremendous heat from flare-ups that I created using an accelerant. When I first started, I used butter, but then later, graduated to peanut oil that was thrown, a teaspoonful at a time, about every 20 seconds or so, onto coals that were as close to the meat as I could get them. With the adjustable coal grate height on my LSG Adjustable Grill, this is very easy to accomplish. The resulting inferno is just the heat needed to thoroughly sear the meat. With frozen meat, sear time was 6-8 minutes whereupon I'd take the meat off the grill, season it, and then put it back on the cool side to finish cooking. The result was, to my mind, fairly spectacular, a very dark exterior bark with the inside looking like it just came out of a sous vide bath - edge to edge even medium rare color. Using this method, I could see no discernable carry-over, and temp you cooked to was the temp you got on the plate.

    Since I cook on my pit pretty much every day, and I'm cooking mostly for myself, I have a lot of opportunity to experiment. One day I decided to try cooking like a normal person and prepped a thawed steak with rub. Using the same accelerant technique, it took less than 3 minutes to get the dark sear I wanted. Again, I put the meat on the cool side to come up to temp, and again the interior was edge to edge medium rare. Except for a little carry-over, I could find no down side to doing this. The meat both sears and cooks in less time, and often, good things happen to the taste of whatever rub is used on the meat when it's seared too.

    From an article on Maillard Reaction: According to Meathead Goldwyn, the real signifier of well-cooked meat is a solid brown crust formed by the Maillard Reaction, which is why many steakhouses use broilers instead of grills. Per Goldwyn: “The flames are above the meat, that way they can get brown all over. That’s why grill marks don’t make me salivate — I want brown all over.”

    This tri-tip was about 1 3/4" thick.

    Click image for larger version

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    This was a very small steak barely a finger depth thick.

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    Works on pork too.

    Click image for larger version

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  • cgrover60
    Club Member
    • Mar 2016
    • 417
    • Albuquerque NM

    #2
    Nothing wrong with that. I quit reverse searing for the same reason and always sear first and cook to temp with indirect heat.

    Comment

    • Jfrosty27
      Club Member
      • Mar 2020
      • 1329
      • Muskego, WI
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        Favorite beer: Anything that's cold!
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      #3
      Great write up. I too have struggled with the reverse sear method. Same issues so I won’t repeat. Thanks for the guidance. I will try the sear first method next time.

      Comment

      • fracmeister
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 1347
        • Sprang, TX
        • Dances with lemmings

          (and smokes on a Yoder 640, raises bees and shoots a .408 WIndrunner) "come la notte i furti miei seconda"

        #4
        Why I sous vide and sear. Been doing it over the coal chimney when I want killer results.

        Comment


        • chudzikb
          chudzikb commented
          Editing a comment
          The beauty of the sous vide and sear method is, it is reproducible each and every time. Consistency has been what I have been after my whole cooking life, and this method delivers. Is the the absolute best? Maybe not, but, damn it works for me! I use the flipped grill grates flat part to get the best sear, seems to work.

        • TripleB
          TripleB commented
          Editing a comment
          Sorry, but where is the fun in SV cooking??

        • crazytown3
          crazytown3 commented
          Editing a comment
          Another +1 on the SV and chimney sear. Works great, and is reproducible.
      • Huskee
        Administrator
        • May 2014
        • 15445
        • central MI, USA
        • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

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        #5
        I prefer front sear. Sear the snot out of it until it looks nice, then move indirectly and slowly bring it up to your target. I too tend to overshoot during reverse sear.

        Comment

        • RonB
          Club Member
          • Apr 2016
          • 13642
          • Near Richmond VA
          • Weber Performer Deluxe
            SNS
            Pizza insert
            Rotisserie
            Smokenator 1000
            Cookshack Smokette Elite
            2 Thermapens
            Chefalarm
            Dot
            lots of probes.
            CyberQ

          #6
          I find it much easier to sear first and then go indirect with a low temp. That way it's much easier to pull at my desired temp. Doin' the reverse sear, it's harder to get both the sear I want and the final temp I want.

          Comment

          • Steve R.
            Club Member
            • Jul 2016
            • 2519
            • Elizabethtown, KY
            • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

            #7
            Hard to argue with those results!

            Comment

            • lonnie mac
              Club Member
              • Jul 2016
              • 1352
              • Bacliff, TX
              • Motovlogging for the freedom of old Hippies...

                https://www.youtube.com/c/LonnieMac

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                Maveric's Most all of em...
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                Meater

              #8
              I reverse sear very larger chunks of meat. But for the most part the reverse sear is just a fad, like the 1-2-3 method overcooks ribs. And I still LOVE grill marks!

              Comment


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Yea grill marks from Grill Grates are sooo sexy !!!

              • JCGrill
                JCGrill commented
                Editing a comment
                I'm with you. Reverse sear only with a really thick steak. I get very good results.

              • smokin fool
                smokin fool commented
                Editing a comment
                Gotta have grill marks IMHO.
            • ofelles
              Club Member
              • Jun 2018
              • 2631
              • Brentwood CA
              • LSG large insulated cabinet
                Yoder YS640
                David Klose 20x42 Grill Chef Grill
                Weber Jumbo Joe
                FireBoard controller and PitBull fan
                Thermapen Mk4

              #9
              Reverse sear until I die. Wait........Damn, I guess I have to try this. Looks and sounds good.

              Comment

              • Spinaker
                Moderator
                • Nov 2014
                • 10963
                • Land of Tonka
                • John "J R"
                  Instagram: JRBowlsby
                  Smokin' Hound Que
                  Minnesota/ United States of America

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                #10
                I have gone to doing the continuous flip method. Which is actually a lot of fun. You just keep flipping every 20-30 seconds or so. It is fun to watch the seared surface develop. I have found that I get a very nice sear, with a great interior. If the outside gets brown before the middle catches up, you can always move the meat to the indirect side of the grill.

                I do like the reverse sear for really thick cuts of meat. It is also a great way to throw some smoke on the meat too.

                (I also picked up one of these pig-tail flippers which makes it really easy to do, especially if you have multiple different pieces of meat going at the same time.)
                Last edited by Spinaker; November 12, 2020, 04:17 PM.

                Comment


                • Spinaker
                  Spinaker commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I am glad you found something that will work for you. I never really thought of the left handed option. They are great and I hope you like it, I almost never use anything else. IowaGirl

                • IowaGirl
                  IowaGirl commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I often have to make a conscious decision about which hand I'm going to use when I first learn a skill, although I tend to be more lefty than righty. I think this flipper thingy needs enough dexterity that I'd prefer a lefty version. Bought one on Etsy -- https://www.etsy.com/listing/8928478...9-20-inch-hard He sells a shorter, lighter-duty version too.
                  Last edited by IowaGirl; November 13, 2020, 12:09 PM.

                • Richard Chrz
                  Richard Chrz commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That’s my method as well, it is extremely relaxing to build the char with a bit of purpose
              • Troutman
                Club Member
                • Aug 2017
                • 7836
                • 1521

                • OUTDOOR COOKERS

                  BBQ ACCESSORIES

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                  SOUS VIDE

                  INDOOR COOKWARE


                #11
                I'm with fracmeister , I've switched to almost 100% sous vide steaks, chops, even chuckies, then sear. One trick I found is to let the protein cool before searing. I've even placed it in the refrigerator and seared at a later time. I also still use the old cold grate method on my weber with the SNS. Just flip every 30 seconds or so and keep doing it until you get the right sear.

                Bottom line, whatever floats your boat man. It's about the product, not the package !!!

                Comment


                • fracmeister
                  fracmeister commented
                  Editing a comment
                  In my case not just cool but I take it straight from the sous vide to a salt water ice bath.... then just leave it in the fridge till cooking time. if thick I may let it come to room temp before searing and if really thick might even stick it back in sous vide water at 120 to get it to eating temp... THEN sear the patooties out of it.

                • wcpreston
                  wcpreston commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Troutman do you not miss the smoke flavor of smoking the steak before the sear? That's the one thing that's held me back from SV

                • Troutman
                  Troutman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  wcpreston I still smoke thick steaks and chops. But given that I like my meat rare (like 122* rare), I don't get a whole lot of smoke flavor anyway. On thinner steaks it's sous vide and sear.
              • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
                Club Member
                • Jun 2018
                • 844
                • Eastern NC
                • 2018 MAK 2 Star
                  Charbroil Big Easy SRG

                #12
                I pull from reverse sear a lot sooner than some, and then do the continuous flip. Works great for me 90+% of the time. I like the smoke I get from the reverse. Having said that, there's plenty of great ways to cook a steak. I do plan to start experimenting with frozen stuff in the near future as it seems super convenient.

                Comment

                • Attjack
                  Club Member
                  • Aug 2017
                  • 4637
                  • Primo XL
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                  #13
                  I agree and I front sear anything that's not super thick (think a tri-tip roast). I just sear, flip, repeat until it looks good, and check the temp. If it's too rare it goes on the indirect side until done.

                  Comment


                  • Dewesq55
                    Dewesq55 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    What is this "too rare" you speak of?

                  • Attjack
                    Attjack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Anything below medium-rare because it's chewy.

                  • Dadof3Illinois
                    Dadof3Illinois commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I even do thick steaks. For the past couple years I’ve been using a charcoal starter and when it ashes over place my grate over it and sear my steaks. Then season the steaks and bank my charcoal in my kettle and finish them indirect.
                • Dewesq55
                  Founding Member
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 2174
                  • The Poconos, NEPA
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                  #14
                  For the same reason as there OP, I switched to front sear. I take the meat straight from the fridge and put it right on a screaming hot charcoal fire barely an inch above the coals. I do every 30 seconds until I get the crust I want, usually that takes 8 or 9 minutes. Then I stick a Fireboard probe in it and toss it in the cook chamber of my offset to finish to temp at about 235°F. The last steak I cooked, a 2 inch thick porterhouse, was only 70°F in the center after an 8 minute sear.
                  Last edited by Dewesq55; November 12, 2020, 09:53 PM.

                  Comment


                  • AZ Fogey
                    AZ Fogey commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That's been my experience too with fresh from the refrigerator meat. After a 2 or 3 minute sear at super high heat, meat temp is usually in the mid 60's.
                • bbqLuv
                  Club Member
                  • Jan 2020
                  • 1599
                  • Milwaukie, OR

                  #15
                  Okay, a new technique for our repertoire.

                  Comment


                  • bbqLuv
                    bbqLuv commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Good point Fracmeister!
                    Amazing Ribs it is.

                  • AZ Fogey
                    AZ Fogey commented
                    Editing a comment
                    LOL @fracmeitster. So true.

                  • texastweeter
                    texastweeter commented
                    Editing a comment
                    So mote it be. fracmeister

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