Let me begin by saying, you’ll still need a cast iron pan. I know. And you’re probably asking, “Well, what’s the whole point of air frying if you’re still going to pan sear.” I say this because I’m obsessed with meat crust, as obsessed as I am about bread crust. The fervent need is equal parts Maillard respect and taste. Reverse searing gives you tender centers and mega crust by drying out the exterior before the final sear. Commonly, seasoning like salt bae is done after the steak has been pan-cooked to avoid burnt pepper, a flavor I actually enjoy. With this two-step method, the results are crispy fat and an almost creme brûlée cracking crust when you hit that bad boi on a cast iron. Any of the gristle or fat is well rendered, super tender and the temperature is perfect throughout.
First, what in the world is reverse searing? For those of you who are just really into sous vide (I’m not one of them), the intent of evenly cooking at slow and low temperatures in a moist environment to achieve a properly cooked protein is similar in reverse searing. The biggest difference is the cooking happens in a dry environment. Hot air that circulates directly over the meat creates a slightly tighter, dryer exterior but with the proper resting, it makes it easy to sear.
We’ll begin with the meat. I have a rule when it comes to steak – no thinner than your largest knuckle. We’re talking big bois, around 2 inches and up, or get outta here. Consider this when selecting your steaks, especially when it comes to high fat marbling like say, a wagyu New York Strip or a fat quality ribeye. Marinating your steaks is an option here as well since the exterior moisture won’t matter, but I always prefer a simple salt & pepper or steakhouse blend. In fact, I’ll season the night before to dry brine. In the end, you’ll be adding most of the flavor in the final sear and baste. Most chefs prefer to bring the steaks to room temperature before cooking them. The glory of reverse searing is the ability to begin the cooking process at any temperature the steak might be at, and only your cooking times will increase. (Surprisingly, I’ve even done them from frozen and it’s not too too bad :/)
Invest in a great thermometer. Thermopen, Taylor oven probe, whatever, as long as they read accurately and quickly. The key to reverse searing is in the temperature reading and not necessarily time. You’ll want to stop the reverse searing stage when the center of the steak reaches 90-100f degrees if you like it rare like myself, or 110f for you mid-rare folks.
Last tip, experiment with a lower cost steak first if you haven’t mastered the art of air frying quite yet. I’ve gone through tons of high-cost steaks trying to dial in the right parameters. In the end, the biggest payoff with this method is a more hands-off approach, less of that dirty smoke that annoyingly fills the house, and a great way to try something new. So fancy.
If you’ve never butter basted before, it’s super simple. If you can, use a cast iron or French blue steel skillet. They’re the best conductors of heat if well seasoned and are naturally non-stick creating a gorgeous crust. You want to start with enough butter in the pan to fill a small ladle, or about four tablespoons. Add garlic cloves, fresh herbs, anything you’d like for aromatics to a cold pan and crank it to the highest temperature your stove can put out. Once the butter begins to brown, that’s when you want to add the steaks. You’ll start basting after the first flip, and don’t fuss with the speed of basting, as long as the crust begins to bubble and darken you’re doing it right. For the finish, yank those steaks out of the pan to rest on a rack and deglaze the pan with wine for a killer sauce. Make it velvety with an addition of cold butter and Demi or cream.
|Cook Time||20-40 Mins|
|Passive Time||10-15 Mins|
18-22 oz steaks
- 2 18 oz Quality Ribeyes, New York Strip, Bone-in or out
- 1 tbls Salt
- 1/2 tbls Cracked Pepper
- 2 tbls olive oil
- 4-6 tbls Butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs Fresh Herbs, rosemary, thyme, sage
- To Taste Salt and Pepper
- 2 tbls olive oil Optional
For the Air Fryer
For the Pan
- If desired, season your steak with salt (and herbs) the night before. This will help dry the steak out and dry brine so the flavor has enough time to penetrate through. You won't even need to cover it, just make sure it's on a perforated rack with a catch tray.
- Preheat the air fryer to 245 degrees on the lowest fan setting available, for 60 mins. Default to air fry, sear, or roast mode if needed.
- Drizzle just a touch of oil on both sides of the steaks, season with pepper, and add to the air fryer rack. Return back to the air fryer.
- Set a timer for 10 mins for your first check point. Flip the steaks midway through. Check the temperature every 10 mins until the center registers between 110-125f degrees. Probe as close to the thickest part of the steak. If needed, add additional time. It usually takes me anywhere from 20-40 mins to get to the right temp.
- Remove the steaks back to a draining rack and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Allow the steaks to rest for a minimum 5 mins.
- Make sure you use a large enough skillet, otherwise, sear the steaks one at a time.
- Start with a cold pan. Add the butter, oil, herbs, garlic, and other aromatics. Turn the burner to the highest setting.
- Remove the foil and pat the surface of the steaks with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Lightly season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Once the butter begins to brown and bubbles disappear, push the aromatics to the side of the skillet and place the steaks in the center of the pan. You will notice the pan smoke. Lift the steaks once or twice to allow the butter to redistribute on the pan. Sear for 2-3 mins or until a hard golden crust has developed.
- Turn the steaks. Reduce the heat two notches and add an additional spot of butter. Push the aromatics to one side of the pan. Tilt the pan slightly toward the heating element to allow the butter to pool to the opposite side. Using a deep large spoon, begin basting the steak by spooning the hot butter on top and all over the steaks. The surface and sides will begin bubbling and change into a rich dark brown. Baste the entire side 1-2 mins.
- Quickly remove the steaks and place onto a resting rack. Turn the heat off and immediately deglaze the pan with any preferred wine. Add additional cold butter, Demi-glace or cream to create a gorgeous pan sauce. Allow the steaks to rest for 5-10 mins before serving.
- Serve with the sauce and all the yummy sides or just enjoy it as is. Tell me how it goes 🙂