Steak: Sous Vide vs. Reverse Sear

Steak: Sous Vide vs. Reverse Sear


  • Steak
  • Seasoning


  • Freezer-safe bag, or vacuum seal bag
  • Sous Vide machine
  • Probe Thermometer

Let’s Talk:

Sous Vide first. Why sous vide? What is sous vide? Sous vide cooking takes a piece of meat, puts it into a bag, sucks the air out, and cooks it in a water bath to a precise temperature. The advantages are doneness, texture, and ease of timing when you finish. The disadvantages are that it’s a much longer process and it requires special equipment. For an exhaustive article that will answer all your questions, check this out:

Now reverse sear. Reverse sear is similar in that you’re cooking your steak very slowly until it almost reaches your desired internal temp, then searing it. Here we are using the oven to bring it up to temp before searing. The probe thermometer stays in the meat to let you know continuously what temp you’re at. If you don’t have one you can check every so often with a normal thermometer until your steak is at the right temp.

Sous Vide Directions:

  1. Season steak all over with your desired seasoning. I used Fogo the Rub but you can use just salt and pepper, or whatever you’d like.
  2. Place steak into bag, and vacuum seal or use water displacement method to get an airless seal.
  3. Cook at desired temp of doneness for 1-4 hours. Reference the article above to see a chart. I go to 132* for ribeyes and strips.
  4. Remove steak from bag and pat dry, getting meat as dry as possible.
  5. Dust a little bit of your seasoning on the meat.
  6. Sear: Heat a grill, pan, or broiler to high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes total, flipping a couple times, until a nice crust has formed.
  7. Remove steak and let rest 5-10 minutes. Enjoy.

Reverse Sear Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 250*.
  2. Season steak heavily with the seasoning you like.
  3. Place steak onto a wire rack in a baking sheet. Place probe thermometer into thickest part of the meat.
  4. Cook until your steak is 5* below the temp you want it to cook to.
  5. Sear, using the same methods as in the sous vide directions.
  6. Let rest 5-10 minutes, enjoy.

© 2020 Mitchell Schwartz

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2 Responses

  1. Bruce says:

    Good post. What’s your preference? I always sous vide my steaks, but I’d like to give reverse sear a try. However, I’m worried about the accuracy of the thermometer if you don’t get it in just the right spot.

    • The advantage that reverse sear has is it dries out the exterior, so if you’re searing in a pan or cast iron it’s really dry and the crust can form immediately. Getting that sous vide steak totally dry is tough so you forming the crust can take a bit longer. If you use and like sous vide I’d stick with.

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