Reverse Sear Technique

This is an awesome technique for any large roast without skin (read: no poultry).   It is perfect for the standing rib roast and other large roasts such as pork ham or beef tenderloin.   It’s really pretty simple. Essentially, you’re going to slow cook first then remove the cook long enough to let the internal temp stop rising and heat your grill up to searing temperatures.

First, prep your roast to your liking, being sure to bring the piece of meat to room temperature before applying any cooking heat.

Put the roast on an indirect cooking surface at about 225 degrees (on the Egg use your plate setter with the feet up).  One thing you’re going to notice is that you hardly have drippings. Use some sort of drip pan if you hope to save them for later gravy/sauce making.  As the internal meat temperature rises very slowly it doesn’t release nearly as much moisture so the roast will stay much juicier for later.

When the internal temperature reaches about 105 (for a rare finish after carry-over and searing) to 115 (for a medium finish after carry-over and searing) take the roast out of the grill and let it rest, uncovered in a room temperature area.  Use a temperature gauge so you can watch the internal temperature.  You want to let it rest until the internal temperature stops rising, it’s common for it to rise another 15 degrees while resting.

Raise the cooking temperature of your grill to 525 degrees.

Once the internal temp on the roast stops rising and the grill is preheated, put the roast back in the grill for 30 minutes.  If your cooking temperature drops below 525 for more than 5 minutes then add that to the searing time.  You want 30 minutes at 500 or higher.  You will notice that your internal temperature barely changes during the sear cooking period, usually about 3 degrees.

After the 30 minute sear, remove the roast and let it rest again for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The internal temp should rise to your target range of 125-145 (depending on the temperature at which you took it off the grill the first time).   It rises very slowly so be patient and enjoy the time before your big meal.

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10 Comments
  1. Bob

    Great class the other night on this fantastic piece of meat. Any estimate in minutes/lb cook time to reach internal temp of 115. Trying to plan this cook, I’m guessing about 45 mins per lb. Any help would be appreciated. Keep up the fantastic cooking lessons. Thanks

  2. Chris

    Bob,

    Glad you enjoyed the class. Thanks for coming!

    45 minutes per pound is a bit too long. For class, the roast I cooked was about 15 lbs. and took about 5 hours to reach an internal temp of 115, being cooked at 250. Which, if my math is correct, is 20 minutes per pound.

    HOWEVER!!! The “minutes per pound” calculation is VERY UNRELIABLE as it does not take into account the SHAPE of the piece of meat being cooked. For example: take the shape of the roast, it’s more or less cylindrical. A cylindrical piece of meat that is five inches in diameter and twelve inches long is not going to take significantly longer to cook than a piece of meat that is five inches in diameter and six inches long. This is because the entire length has a more or less consistent diameter of five inches. So the grills heat only ever has five inches of meat to penetrate in order to affect the internal temperature of the deepest part of the meat. Make sense?

    Long story short: whether you are cooking (using the reverse sear technique) a 5 pound standing rib roast or a twenty pound roast, allow yourself 4-5 hours. Start the cook around lunch time and you will be eating by 6pm. Remember, you can always hold the cooked meat in a faux cambro (a cooler) and it will stay hot for hours.

  3. Chris

    Bob,
    I cooked a 5 bone standing roast last weekend and it was on the grill at 250 for about 3 1/2 hours then rested for 30 minutes, back on the grill at 530 for 25 minutes then rested for another hour. Finished at 135.
    Greig

  4. Pierce Blitch

    I am going to practice for Easter tonight on a small 4lb boned leg of lamb. Will probably try and get one close to double that size for the” real cook” on Easter. I assume that you leave the place setter in the grill while doing the reverse sear cook. Correct? Do you put any water, wine, juice in the pan below the meat during the slow cook or the high heat reverse sear??? We like our lamb rare/med rare so I am going to set the Guru to 105 for the practice and see how it comes out. What should the finish temp be for rare/med rare on lamb? I will post how it comes out tomorrow.

  5. Chris

    Pierce,

    Your assumption about the plate setter is correct, leave it in the whole time. As for the drip pan, it’s up to you but not necessary. As a matter of fact, I would probably be sure to omit it because any liquid evaporating is going to produce additional moisture and may inhibit the creation of the “crust.” For this method I think your initial target temp of 105F is probably about right to get you to a finish temp of about 125F (which is technically rare). Maybe go to 110-115F if you want to end up around 130-140F (med rare). Good luck!! Can’t wait to see how it comes out!!

  6. Pierce Blitch

    The experiment with the lamb was great. It was tempered for about 5-6 hours and started at 68 degrees. It was a little less than 4lb and cooking at 225 took only 90 min to get to 105. Took it off to rest and the temp only got to 114. Put it back on at 525 and after 15 min the internal temp on the Guru was at 135. Got to 145 at about 22 minutes and I took it off. Rested for about 90 minutes covered with foil and then carved. It was three different pieces of meat. Medium on the outside inch, Med Rare next 2-3 inches, and just over rare around the bone. Something good for everyones taste. Not sure why the temp did not contiune to climb initially and whiy it jumped so fast at the end. The probe was almost all the way in the meat and not touching the bone. I am going to try and get the probe all the way into the meat for the next cook with a bigger leg of lamb.

  7. Daniel

    going to give this a shot for a whole beef tenderloing on x-mas eve, any thoughts on cook time and temps?

    Thanks!

  8. Chris

    The reverse sear technique will work perfectly for a whole beef tenderloin! Keep the temp low, like 210F. Time wont be nearly as long as the standing rib but, again, its not about the time, its about the target internal temperature. For medium rare remove it from the grill at 105-110F and rest until the temp stops rising (it will go to about 120F). Return to grill for the sear portion for LESS TIME than with a standing rib, about 10 minutes @ 600-650. Rest it again for about 30 minutes. Plan on a total cook time of about 3-4 hours.

  9. Chris

    Jan, this is a perfect technique for pork loins and, frankly, the only way that I cook them anymore. Follow the same basic process as above, just adjust the temperature upwards slightly. Ideally, that loin will reach about 140F. I would try pulling it out at about 125F, resting, searing, and resting again. This is sure to be the juiciest pork loin you have ever cooked. No need for brining! Try slicing it super thin for deli-style sandwiches.

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