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8 Tips For Reverse Searing On a Kamado Joe Jr.

Kamado Joe Jr. Reverse Sear

The versatility and heat control of a Kamado Joe Jr. means that it is more than capable of reverse searing a wide range of meats.

Reverse searing is a process that starts with indirect slow and low heating to cook the interior of the meat to near done before switching to direct heat over a hot open flame to sear off the exterior and develop a richly flavorful crust.

Steak is one of the most popular cuts of meat for reverse searing.

Though there are certainly a lot of other cuts of meat that can be reverse seared, including thick-cut chops, bone-in skin-on cuts of chicken, leg of lamb, and even stuffed pork chops!

You can also cook a lot of roasts using a reverse searing method such as prime rib roasts and pork loin roasts.

While the grill grates that come with the Kamado Joe Jr. are sufficient for reverse searing, you might want to also consider investing in a sear plate. It has thicker metal and fewer spaces between each grate rung.

This creates more physical contact for a deeper sear and richly flavorful crust.


What Does Reverse Searing a Steak in a Kamado Joe Jr. Do?

Reverse searing a steak or any thick-cut piece of meat on a Kamado Joe Jr. helps you closely control the level of doneness in the interior of the meat before searing it off to increase the flavor.

By first roasting on low, indirect heat, you have a great chance of hitting a perfect medium-rare on a thick-cut steak than you do if you just put the steak over high heat and hope you time it right.


Should You Reverse Sear a Steak in a Kamado Joe?

The thermal efficiency and added radiant heating created by the enveloping ceramics make a Kamado Joe one of the best ways to reverse sear any thick-cut, bone-in, or stuffed piece of meat.

Though with the smaller Kamado Joe Jr. you will need to be careful when removing the heat deflectors.

If you aren’t deftly dexterous with grill tools, you might want to invest in some quality welding gloves or high-heat-rated grill gloves.


Temperature for Reverse Searing in Kamado Joe Jr.

Reverse searing on a Kamado Joe Jr. starts with a temperature between 225 to 250 degrees before taking it up as hot as 400 to even 500 degrees.

Once the heat is cooked to roughly 75% of the target internal temperature you open up the dampers, remove the heat deflectors and bring the temperature up to at least 400 degrees.


How Do You Reverse Sear on Kamado Joe?

Reverse searing on a Kamado Joe starts with building a fire and installing the heat deflectors to slow-roast a piece of meat, then finishing it off over a direct flame to develop a rich, flavorful crust.

This typically starts with roasting the meat at a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees until it reaches roughly 75 to 80% of its target internal temperature.

At that point, you need to use grill tools, welding gloves, or heat-rated grilling gloves to take off the grill grates and remove the heat deflector in the bottom of the Kamado Joe’s firebox.

You might also need to add a little bit of extra charcoal or smoking woods before reinstalling the grill grate.

You can then open the damper to feed fresh air to the charcoal, which supports a vigorous flame.

Your target temperature for the direct flame searing phase is around 400 to 500-degrees.

This might take 7 to 10 minutes. During this time, you can keep the meat warm by wrapping it in a couple of layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil and covering it with a tea towel.

Once the dome thermometer on the Kamado Joe Jr. lid reaches 400 to 500 degrees, you can sear off the meat for roughly 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Turning it 90 degrees in between each flip will maximize the amount of surface area that is seared, while also giving it visually appealing cross-hatch marks.


How To Reverse Sear a Stuffed Pork Chop on a Kamado Joe Jr.

Steak isn’t the only thing you can reverse sear on a Kamado Joe Jr. especially if your butcher has stuffed pork chops in the display case.

Though you will need a probe thermometer or a wireless meat thermometer to monitor the interior temperature of the stuffed pork chop.

You will also need a robust pair of welding gloves or high-heat-rated grill gloves to let you safely remove the heat deflector when it’s hot.

You will also need some heavy-duty aluminum foil for tenting and perhaps to help support the stuffed pork chop on the grill grates.

When you are ready, you can use the following steps to reverse sear a bone-in stuffed pork

Step One: Start a fire in your Kamado Joe Jr with two large handfuls of lump charcoal. You can add a chunk or two of your favorite smoking wood if you like.

Step Two: Install your heat deflectors and dial the lower damper down to roughly one inch, with the top damper just slightly open. Close the lid and wait for the dome temperature to read 225 to 250 degrees.

Step Three: While the Kamado Joe is coming up to temp liberally season your stuffed pork chop with salt, pepper, and perhaps a little granulated garlic or smoked paprika.

Step Four: Try to stand your stuffed pork chop upon the bone. You might have to make two large balls of aluminum foil to help support it if it won’t stand on its own.

This isn’t 100% necessary, but it will help to warm the bone and nearby meat faster. If not you can simply grill it slow and low on the sides of the chop.

Step Five: Insert the probe thermometer or wireless thermometer into the pork chop, through the stuffing, until you feel it enter the meat near the bone.

This will give you the most accurate interior temperature reading.

Step Six: Close the lid and let the meat smoke for 25 to 35 minutes or until the probe thermometer gives you a reading of 125 to 130-degrees.

If you couldn’t get your pork chop to stand up on the bone, you will need to flip it to the other side after 15 minutes.

Step Seven: When the internal temperature of the pork chop reads 130-degrees you need to pull it off the heat and tent it under heavy-duty aluminum foil and a tea towel.

Step Eight: Put on a pair of welding gloves or grill gloves and carefully remove the heat deflector.

Place it somewhere safe. Then open the lower damper and top vent wide open. If the charcoal in the firebox is a little low, you can add some more or a handful of hot-burning wood chips.

Step Nine: Close the lid and wait for the temperature to come up to 400-degrees. This might take 5 to 7 minutes.

Step Ten: Remove the stuffed pork chop from the aluminum foil and place it on the direct heat. Rotate it 90 degrees after 90 seconds. Wait another 90 seconds and flip it.

Then wait another 90 seconds and rotate it another 90 degrees. This will give you a flavorful sear, with a visually appealing crosshatch pattern.

Step Eleven: Double check to make sure that the internal temperature reads a safe 145-degrees.


Kamado Joe Jr. Sear Plate

There is a soapstone sear plate accessory for the Kamado Joe that can be used for reverse searing. It costs around $90 and can be found through the Kamado Joe website, as well as affiliated brick & mortar retailers.

The non-porous soapstone acts very much like a griddle and can absorb enormous amounts of heat energy for searing.

Though it typically needs to be exposed to direct flame to heat up quickly and build up enough thermal potential to truly provide a high-heat sear.


Final Thoughts

The radiant heating effect of ceramic and heat control of a Kamado Joe Jr. make it very versatile, and one of the best ways to reverse sear a thick cut of meat.

The process of reverse searing starts with installing the heat deflectors in the lower part of the Kamado Joe’s firebox over a modest charcoal fire.

With a target temperature on the lid thermometer of around 225 to 250 degrees.

You then place the steak or a thick cut of meat and let it slow roast until it reaches roughly 75% of the target temperature for your preferred degree of doneness.

At that point you take out the heat deflector, open up the lower damper and drive the heat up to 400 to 500 degrees.

Once it comes up to temp, you can then put the meat back on the grates over a direct flame to sear it off and heat it through to the target internal temperature.

While steak is certainly one of the most popular cuts of meat for reverse searing it is not the only thing worthy of this innovative cooking method.

Some other cuts that take well to reverse searing, include thick-cut chops, bone-in skin-on cuts of chicken, leg of lamb, and even stuffed pork chops! You can also cook a lot of roasts using a reverse searing method such as prime rib roasts and pork loin roasts.

Even though the grill grates that come with your Kamado Joe Jr. are good enough reverse searing, a sear plate accessory is worth considering.

It has thicker metal and fewer spaces between each grate run to create more physical contact for a stronger searing effect.