The Reverse Sear Method
Over the years I have noticed that one of the newer trends in BBQ is the reverse sear process. The technical definition of a reverse sear is that the Searing of the product takes place at the end of the cooking process, not at the beginning. Typically, a Reverse Sear is considered for Roasting meat products. The idea is that leaving all the juices in a Roast, and not searing them out, yields a better end result.
After much trial and error, I have found this process to be very effective. For primal cuts of meat, I used to always sear first then smoke but I found that searing will block the smoke from penetrating the meat. All meat that is reverse-seared must be par (partially) cooked beforehand to the temperature of your liking.
Now here comes the real question so many people ask. How do you par-cook the meat?
There are several different ways to do it. The easiest would be season your meat then sous vide it to a temp about 5-10 degrees below where you want to be at the end. For example, medium rare sous vide at 125 then sear it off and let it rest in foil for 30 mins to take it to 130-135ish for a perfect finish.
Par cooking can also be done by means of smoking. For larger cuts of meat like standing rib roast, this method is easy and works great as you can get several hours of smoke on the product before it needs to be seared. Cooking a smaller cut of meat like tenderloin or any individual steak must be done very carefully so you don’t overcook the meat. I highly recommend an “in meat thermometer” to leave in your steak while its cook so you can monitor the internal temperature continuously.
The further illustrate this method I am going to demonstrate my method on reverse searing a Tri-Tip steak.
Tri-tip steak is cut from a tri-tip roast, which is a small, triangular cut from the sirloin. The tri-tip was popularized in California but is now more widely marketed, although you may need to request it from your butcher. It is also known as a triangle steak or bottom sirloin steak. You won’t find this cut of meat at a BBQ joint in Texas but if you can master a Tri-Tip, then anything is possible.
Remove all silver skin if present on your steak using a sharp filet knife.
Look to see where the grain runs on the steak. This is important because when you start to carve the steak you always want to slice against the grain.
Rub liberally with your favorite steak rub. I reccommend Hard Core Carnivore rub as it leaves a great crust on the exterior.
After an hour of marination, I throw the steak on the smoker at 200 degrees or less if possible and smoke it until reaching 105 degrees internal temp. Pull the steak off and let it rest on a sheet pan.
Then place in vacuum seal bag and sous vide at 129 degrees for 4 hours or so. You can add butter or herbs into the vac seal bag if you want to kick it up a notch.
After sous vide process I sear for 60 seconds a side flipping 4 times at 650 degrees of direct heat.
Wrap in foil and let rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
The results are shown in the picture below.