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How to reverse sear a steak without a wire rack? (Explained)

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Reverse searing is a great way to keep flavors and moisture inside a steak.

This technique involves cooking the steak at a lower temperature to bring it to your preferred doneness and then searing it at high heat for a beautiful crust. 

Many recipes call for setting the steak on a wire rack, but not everyone has one of these kitchen tools.

Luckily, there are other ways to reverse sear a steak without a wire rack. 

How to Prep A Steak For Reverse Searing

Before reverse searing, the steak needs to be completely thawed.

Once the steak is thawed, pat any excess moisture from the surface. Season the steak with salt, pepper, and other dry seasonings.

Onion powder, garlic powder, steak seasoning, and other spices make flavorful additions to the steak.

If you have the time, you can dry brine the steak, which involves coating it with seasonings and letting it rest in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Before cooking, bring the steak to room temperature. 

Reverse Searing a Steak with Tin Foil

Using tin foil is one clever hack for reverse searing a steak without a wire rack.

You can roll up tin foil to make a pseudo rack.

The reason reverse searing in the oven calls for a wire rack is to create space between the meat and the oven rack, allowing airflow around the meat.

You can easily imitate this effect by rolling up tin foil into long, thin rolls and placing them under the meat. 

First, preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you have prepped the steak and created your tin foil “wire rack,” place the steak in the oven on top of the tin foil and cook until the internal temperature is around 10 degrees less than your preferred temperature.

For rare steaks, the internal temperature should be 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so you should remove the steaks from the oven when the internal temperature is 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The internal temperature goes up 10 degrees with each subsequent level of doneness.

After removing the steaks from the oven, set them aside.

Heat a pan with a bit of oil (with a high smoke point like grapeseed oil) over high heat and add the steaks.

Sear them on each side for about two minutes.

Flip them every 30 seconds to ensure a beautifully even crust.

Remove from the pan and let the steaks rest for five minutes.

This step keeps the meat juicy and prevents it from drying out when you slice it. 

Reverse Searing a Steak on the Grill

If you don’t have a wire rack for the oven but happen to have a grill, this is a great way to reverse sear a steak. When setting up the grill, you will need to create two cooking zones.

This means having direct heat on only one side of your grill, so one side is very hot, and one side only has indirect heat.

Once the grill reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit, place the steaks as far from the flame as possible and close the lid.

The difficult part is trying to keep the grill around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets too hot, the steaks will be overcooked.

Flip the steaks often to ensure even cooking. Once the steaks are almost at your preferred doneness, move them to the hot part of the grill over the flame.

Flip the steaks every 30 seconds or so to develop a nice crust, keeping an eye on the internal temperature.

Remove them once they reach your desired level of doneness. Allow the steak to rest for at least five minutes to ensure optimal juiciness. 

Final Thoughts

Reverse searing is a great way to cook a steak low and slowly, which helps prevent overcooking and also helps you get a gorgeous crust every time.

Reverse searing takes patience and close monitoring, but the result is worth it.