Social media can be a wonderful thing, in measured doses. I’m pretty much a Facebook-only kind of guy (and my dear Lolly had to drag me kicking and screaming even to that point), which means I don’t do Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever other myriad of options are out there. Becoming a blogger was a major leap for a 20th century boy like me. Still, as a culinarian I sometimes find some amazingly useful stuff on Facebook. I’m very fond of the little video recipes that lay out some superbly delicious dishes in the space of about a minute — sometimes I will jot these down and add them to my personal cookbook.
Probably my all-time favorite cooking technique that I picked up on Facebook, though, was from a video shared by my chef instructor for a “reverse sear” method for cooking the perfect steak. The standard method used by many (most?) restaurants is to pan-sear the steaks for a few minutes and then pop them into a 450° oven to finish. As the name suggests, the reverse sear technique starts in the oven and finishes with the pan sear. While both methods produce delicious results, the reverse sear does a better job, in my opinion, of maintaining a consistent top-to-bottom medium-rare interior of the finished steak, which a big part of the attraction for me.
The method is simple. Start by preheating the oven to 250° and get your instant-read thermometer handy. While the oven is coming up, thoroughly pat the steaks dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture, then season them with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Place the steaks on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cuts. The goal is to slowly bring the internal temperature up to 100°, although for very thick cuts you may want to go a little higher.
Once the center is temping at the desired level, heat your skillet, preferably well-seasoned cast iron if you have one, on a medium-high flame and add a bit of cooking fat with a high smoke point — I typically use clarified butter. Add the steaks to sear the first side for about 4-5 minutes, then turn and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135°. Pull the steaks off the heat and cover loosely with foil to rest for about 10 minutes, after which they will be ready to serve.
Tonight we served ours with a Bordelaise sauce and sautéed shallots, with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. The result was extremely satisfying and we munched it down with a big happy grin on our faces. Hopefully you’ll try this method soon and experience the joy of an amazingly cooked steak. Until then: Eat well, my friends!