How To Reverse Sear Meat With A Food Smoker

How To Reverse Sear Meat With A Food Smoker

Posted on: October 04, 2023

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Searing meat is a favorite of many. This cooking method adds a caramelized flavor and brings a whole new level of savor. You can achieve that by searing the meat in a hot pan then cooking it in an oven afterward. Many will say it’s the best way to bring out the flavor, but to some, reverse searing has more edge. It creates consistent doneness, tenderness, juiciness, texture, and heightens the overall taste.

What is Reverse Searing?

Reverse searing follows a process opposite of standard searing. Instead of searing the meat first and smoking it second, you slow-cook it first before searing when it’s close to being done. This method requires more time, but you’ll see the significant advantages of reverse searing in the quality of the dish.

Smoking the meat before searing will allow you to combine the smoke-infused flavor inside and the caramel taste on the crust. It also evenly cooks the meat and leads to more consistent doneness throughout the cut. This is the primary reason why many people prefer reverse searing, but there is more to gain from this cooking method.

Advantages of Reverse Searing

One advantage is that the level of tenderness surpasses that of standard searing. When you smoke the meat slowly, you’re giving the natural enzymes more time to tenderize the meat. It also brings out the flavor more and this plays a significant role in the overall taste.

With reverse searing, you cook the meat in the food smoker at a controlled temperature for a longer time. It will only be subjected to a high temperature when you sear it, which will only last a few minutes. The benefit of this is that when you expose the meat to extreme heat for a short time, its ability to retain moisture is maximized. This will result in juicier meat, which makes the taste and texture even better.

Meat Selection

Whether you’re searing, reverse searing, or cooking with another method, selecting the meat comes first. (Below we use ribeye as an example, but the procedure will also work in other types and cuts of meat.)

Season or add salt to the meat a few hours ahead of time before starting with the reverse searing. Many cooks often skip this step because they will still have to properly season it again later anyway. However, little do they know that by doing this, they will allow the salt to embed its flavor to the insides of the meat for a longer time, making it juicier and more savory.

For ribeye, the smoker temperature must first reach between 225 degrees Fahrenheit (about 105 degrees Celsius) and 240 degrees Fahrenheit (about 115 degrees Celsius). Our Bradley Smoker Wood Bisquettes come in many flavors. Oak or mesquite will bring out the best taste for this dish. Before putting the meat inside the smoker, sprinkle salt and pepper on the surface or season it as desired.

With usual smoking, you will have to wait for the internal temperature of the meat to reach 135 degrees Fahrenheit (about 57 degrees Celsius) for medium-rare. Since you will sear it later, it’s better to only smoke it until it’s about six to seven degrees less than the desired temperature. In this case, the final temperature should reach 128 to 129 degrees F. (about 53 degrees Celsius).

After removing the meat from the food smoker, it will continue to cook. For this reason, you’ll have to let it rest until the temperature starts to fall before you sear it.

You can either use a grill or cast iron skillet for searing. Before starting, add butter to the surface and make sure the temperature is high enough to cook the meat but not burn it. You will sear each side of the cut only for a minute or less.

The reverse-seared meat is ready to be served at this point. You can add a baked potato, green beans, or a salad, depending on your preferences. Enjoy this delicious steak, the flavor of which can’t be copied from other cooking methods. It has a smoky taste that complements the caramel-like flavor. The contrast between the tender and juicy insides and crusty surface also makes the reverse-seared meat unforgettable.

Final Thoughts

There are many recipes for reverse searing, and there are many types of meat that can be prepared using this method. This will determine the food smoker’s temperature and desired initial temperature, but the process is more or less the same.

For more great ideas on how to get the most of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.