What is reverse searing?
You ever cook a steak way too fast over really high heat, get a beautiful crust, but the inside is still raw so you have to throw it in the oven or on the cool side of the grill (indirect heat)? Well, indirect searing is the opposite of that method, where you start in indirect heat, so the oven or cool side of the grill (using a smoker is included in this), and you finish it off by searing it at the end. I mean, sounds straight forward right? Is there even a difference, and does it even matter? Oh yeah, it does! It matters a lot!
Is Hot & Fast too much?
Okay okay, some times cooking hot & fast is the best way to go, especially when you're in a hurry. But have you ever been in that situation where your steak, for example, has reached its ideal internal temperature but the meat is not tender enough? Or you've pretty much burned the outside but the inside is completely raw? Yeah, that's when you have to learn the hard way. Hot & Fast is perfect for skinny foods like skirt steak, asparagus, shrimp, but even with skinny meats like skirt steak, you'll most likely tend to cook it through to a medium-well by the time you develop the crust you wanted.
Hot & Fast Secret Method
Here is a little tip: if you place your skinny meat, like skirt steak, in the freezer for about 30 minutes before cooking it hot & fast, it will cool it enough to where it'll take longer for the heat to penetrate the inside, ensuring you don't overcook your steak but still get a good nice crust! Just make sure to pat it dry before cooking it, and don't freeze your steak! If you do, you're risking the ice crystals puncturing the cell walls and letting liquid out, impeding the browning of the steak, and you don't want that. There are always ways around different methods, you just have to know how to go about them! But what about thick foods? Tough cuts? Would it still be right to cook them hot & fast?
Searing Thick Foods
Its always been said that searing your steak locks in the juices. But this has always been a misconception. It does add flavor, but there is no science that backs the prior fact. So why would we start cooking thick our tough foods by searing them? Why not ensure they're evenly cooked before getting a delicious crust? Why risk a dry inside? Why risk a tough texture? Why not reverse sear?
Low & Slow
Reverse searing is like another way of cooking low and slow, but with a little delicious surprise at the end. You cook it low and slow, ensuring even cooking, and you finish it off by searing it at the end. This method develops the best browning, more tenderness, even cooking, more time flexibility, and sometimes more flavor depending on how you went about the low & slow cooking process. When it comes to flavor everything changes if you decide to smoke food, or sous vide it. At this point, cooking becomes more of an art than a means to survive. And you'll always be able to enjoy the wonderful flavors you worked on after you're done cooking!
Why does this matter?
I understand some people just want to get their cooking over with and stuff the food in their mouth. But if you're anything like me, you'd want to get the best crust, the most juices, and get the most tenderness out of the meat you can! It's more than just lunch or dinner, its a challenge, a challenge that demands thought, effort, and creative expression. The looks of people's face when they try a piece of the steak is amazing. The fact that a piece of meat can melt in my mouth is amazing. The entire process (patience, concise timing, etc.) is amazing. And once you master cooking one cut of meat, you'll want to master them all, then every single kind of food. Try it next time. Grab your thick cut New York Strip Steak, season it with some salt, pepper, Loubier Gourmet All Purpose Rub (absolutely delicious on steak), and let it cook over indirect heat on the grill or in an oven. Then when the steak has reached 120-125 degrees F, sear it directly over the fire or even on a pan (both sides) for the beautiful crust. Once it has reached 140 degrees F, cease the cooking and let it sit. It'll reach 145 degrees F and it will be DELICIOUS! I guarantee it!
And if you are in need of a meat thermometer, because they do play an essential part in barbecuing and grilling, check out our top picks below!
Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer ($10.10 on Amazon)
Fast Precise Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer ($17.95 on Amazon)