Reverse Sear

My problem with it is this: doesn’t it raise the internal temperature of the meat to more than medium? I want a rare/medium rare interior, nothing more.

I’m following this as my guide but they’re all pretty much the same.

PS this explains the issue a bit better:

Which part of the process are you expecting will raise the internal temperature higher than the target?

Looking further into the info you provided: you’re not satisfied with the seriouseats photo evidence of how it turns out?

If you want it as raw as possible, you could try wrapping the roast in foil for the low-temperature part of the cooking. Or just eliminate that: cook at 550 for 10 minutes, serve immediately. Or just remove from the refrigerator, unwrap, and start slicing. :slight_smile:

Honestly though, I think this method may depend on having quite a large roast.

Before I read the Kenji Alt piece I had thought that the reverse sear would raise the internal temperature too high.

Alt explains it well. I found that after I put up the question, hence my PS. I’ve never seen a better explanation of the process.

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I think part of the issue here is that the sear is really very quick, so the internal temp doesn’t raise all that much. I will say that I’ve never tried to reverse sear anything thicker than a 1.5” ribeye. It seems logical that a full roast would seem to be even more resistant to significant temp rise due to its thickness.

When I first started to sous vide things I assumed the sear would raise the temp inside 5° or so but it really doesn’t. With sous vide searing the sear is done at screaming high temp for maybe a minute on each side, if that. Direct contact with a hot cast iron pan probably gives a quicker result than an oven though.

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I find his explanations consistently excellent except for his occasional willingness to treat his own speculation as a given. When he really does remember to stick to the facts, I can’t think of anyone who really does a better job.

I’m wondering if I should do a broil for the reverse sear. I have a rather sh*tty electric oven. Basically the bake is the lower coils and the broil is the upper coils. That’s the only difference. I absolutely do not want to ruin this roast. I splurged & it’s for a special occasion.

I don’t know about your oven but it would not work in my Dacor.

I have only done reverse seared steaks and chops, not an entire prime .

I like my beef medium rare, and my pork chops pink, and husband likes both “well done” :face_vomiting:, so this works especially well for us.

I don’t know the scientific name for it, but the sear needs to happen “quick-fast”! My pan needs to be about smokin’ to sear without cooking.

I’ve wondered if it might work in those restaurant broiler things. Looking up the name.

ETA salamander! I want one!

“a high-quality unit can produce a varying range of heat, up to searing temperatures of above 1500°F.”


I think the broiler idea is overthinking. If you want reassurance, test preheat your oven with just a thermometer and see that it’s getting hot enough, but no broiler.

The way seriouseats described it, it sounds to me like the worst thing you could do with their recipe is skimp on the resting time.

From the way you describe your electric oven, it doesn’t have convection? I do reverse sear on roasts and steaks—which is not often, as I don’t cook much meat—and was surprised to find that my electric oven’s convection during the main cooking time usually gives me a satisfying degree of browning without an additional step. It’s enough that I don’t take a chance on using the broiler or stovetop for that final searing step.

I expect the browning I’m getting is highly dependent on the particular oven, or other cooks would mention it. The electric oven in this house is the only convection oven I have ever used so I don’t have a basis for comparison.



I note that Kenji doesn’t mention meat prep beforehand. Anyone here do that?

Bring the meat to room temp or at least let it sit a bit - someone asked & there was no answer.

Re bringing to room temp: If no, I’m guessing that the extremely low & slow sort of takes care of that, but I’d still do it, at least for a couple of hours. I’m still puzzled at his not doing the pre-roast meat prep. Brown’s night before isn’t onerous but I’m not doing 5 days. No way.

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Yeah, adequate browning wouldn’t happen in a non-convection electric oven. Searing would still be necessary, as I remember from cooking holiday meals in my mom’s kitchen when she was still with us.

I don’t prep my meat beforehand other than to take it out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. Note that I’m not aiming for an iconically rare interior though.

If I were after perfect rareness I might think that keeping the center of the meat refrigerator-cold would be an advantage? Would have to research.

I’m wondering if a stovetop browning might be perfectly adequate. Only problem is size of the piece.

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Pan browning at a hot enough temperature would risk causing smoke in the kitchen, potentially to the what-are-you-doing-in-there-anyway level. Pan browning at a non-smoky temperature would cook the roast too much. And in either case it’s very clumsy and hard to get at some surfaces. I vote oven.

I am taking back my comment that a prime rib wouldn’t sear quickly enough in my oven. After reading the entire article in the original post, I’m going to accept that while it wouldn’t work in my oven for a steak or chops, I believe Kenji, since he actually tried it, and I didn’t…

Def clumsy, esp. the size of the piece I have.

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I’m going to try it for 6 minutes. Can’t hurt, might help. The worst that can happen is not enough sear. But I’ll take that over overcooked meat any day. I think his basic point is “low and slow”. That, my cruddy oven is capable of.


Possibly. But I think it would all come out “in the wash” so to speak.


I reverse sear or sous vide+sear all my steaks now. Since I eat my steaks medium, I sous vide or cook in the oven until rare or borderline medium/rare and then sear. Works perfectly to bring to medium at the end with a crust.

If you want to end at rare, you might need to bring the temp to a few degrees below rare for similar results. Other wise, you do have to go with the searing hot pan where you can brown in a minute or so on each side. I use my counter top oven, where I can set the temp to as low as 200F and I’ve been able to use trial and error to figure out how to get my steak to approx 125F, and then the final sear brings it to about 135-140F. Worst case scenario is you check with the thermometer a lot.


My experience, Nov 2020.

4.5 lbs. seasoned cut and tied. $100.
Electric oven, temperature verified by second thermometer.
Cooked by someone who had done this before.
Removed roast from fridge ~10am, into 250 oven ~2 pm. I did not check the temp of the roast before the high temp.

Roast was removed, covered with foil for ~1 hr. Was med.

The butcher included instructions, 4XX for X time, then 275 until desired temp.

Next time, I will follow the butchers instructions. I wonder: was the roast bordering on too high temp when the heat was turned up? Was the 1hr rest too long?

With the restaurant closures, I miss “prime rib”. and was disappointed in Med. No one said anything about the degree of done ness, but no one said the meat was delicious.

I purchased a thermometer that can be used while roasting meat.


There’s the issue. There is no way to even estimate the time required to bring a large piece of meat up to 120 degrees internally without a probe thermometer. The size, shape and fat content of the meat, size/shape of cooking vessel, convection/evenness of oven temperature, etc. all play a role in how fast a roast will cook. The butcher’s instructions will be equally disappointing unless you use a thermometer.