Food: How to cook an awesome steak using the Reverse Sear method

Like most Aussies I enjoy a good steak – but I became disappointed nearly every time I ordered a steak from a pub because it was average at best and sometimes damn horrible. Obviously your expectations will be low if you are paying $15 for a steak at a crusty pub – but when you are paying $30+ for an overcooked and tough piece of meat I start to get annoyed.
So I set off on a carnivorous journey to discover the best way to cook a steak at home.
While I am no stranger to a BBQ, cooking a very good steak seemed to have an element of luck. Sometimes I would nail it and other times (such as my giant rib-eye that was horribly rare) it all goes wrong. There were so many variables such as initial temperature of the meat, thickness and size of the steak, cut of steak and whether it has a bone, BBQ temperature, cook time, rest time etc etc
To cut a long (and expensive) story short, my 3 month scientific steak test program was heading in the right direction but I could still not cook the perfect steak every time.
I started looking beyond the BBQ to other cooking options when I found out about the Reverse Sear method (thanks google).
Now I can cook awesome steaks – every time!

Step 1. Buy the best meat you can find. If you buy $15/kg steak from the supermarket you are wasting your time. My local supermarkets do sell some decent cuts from high end meat suppliers but I prefer the thicker cuts you can get from a real butcher. Expect to pay $30-$45/kg for good meat – which sounds expensive but is great value compared to buying a cooked steak at Vlado’s.
Step 2. There is no need to start with your meat at room temperature. It makes no difference.
Step 3. Preheat your oven to about 120deg C.
Step 4. Put your steak on a metal rack on top of a tray.

A couple of primo eye fillets ready to put in the oven
A couple of primo eye fillets ready to put in the oven

Step 5. Put the steak in the oven until the internal temperature reaches about 32-34deg C. This will take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your steak. Yes you need a digital thermometer – they are only a few $ on eBay.

Make sure you get the thermometer probe into the centre of the meat
Make sure you get the thermometer probe into the centre of the meat

Step 6. Oil the steak (not the pan) and add salt and pepper if you like
Step 7. Put the steak in a super heated pan. I use a cast iron griddle pan and pre-heat it on the gas stove for 10-15 minutes on high. Caution: Do not use a non-stick pan as you will wreck your pan and potentially release harmful toxins in the air.
Step 8. Cook for 2 minutes each side. I need to open my windows and put my exhaust fan on the noisiest setting.

Smokey is good
Smokey is good

Step 9. Put meat back on metal rack and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes

Cover the cooked meat with aluminium foil to rest
Cover the cooked meat with aluminium foil to rest

Step 10. Serve on a warm plate.

Keep it low carb with a chunk of garlic butter. Sometimes I go for a creamy bacon and mushroom sauce or mustard. No need for chips or salad here!

Keep it low carb with a chunk of garlic butter. Sometimes I go for a creamy bacon and mushroom sauce or some mustard. No need for chips or salad here!

Admittedly I was aiming pretty high by trying to home cook a steak as good as you would get at specialist steak houses but I reckon the Reverse Sear method is the way to go. I like my steak medium-rare but you can adjust the oven time or the pan time to find what works for you.

So get yourself a digital thermometer, make friends with your butcher and have a couple of attempts of the Reverse Sear method. You may not nail it the first time but once you get it right it can be consistently replicated regardless of the cut or thickness of your steak.

But what about the BBQ? Wouldn’t that be better?

Once you have mastered it on the stove top you can have a go on the barbie – but I find the results are not as good. My BBQ doesn’t get as hot as my frypan and when it’s windy the temperature of my BBQ can fluctuate.

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Trip Report: Flinders chicken run

An early start at Flinders Pier
An early start at Flinders Pier

Now I am not the sort of guy to get excited about infrastructure projects – but Peninsula Link is a great piece of road. Not only does it make for a quick trip down to the Mornington Peninsula – but it makes the journey much safer as you don’t need to drive through Frankston.

I was on the water at 630 this morning at Flinders with a favourable weather forecast for easing winds. I was paddling solo again because Coop Dogg had to alphabetise his home movie collection and manicure his beard. Why is that most sea kayakers have beards? [Female paddlers excluded].

For anyone planning a paddle out of Flinders I recommend you call the Navy’s West Head Gunnery Range to check if they are  doing any exercises. Fortunately Thursday was the final shoot out for the year so I was good to go. I have been to the WHGR many years ago when they held a public open day and saw an impressive display of firepower as they shot the heck out of the ocean.

As I left the flat waters of Flinders things started to get exciting going around West Head. I had to take a wide line to avoid the many waves breaking on semi-submerged rock.

A lazy 13km circuit out of Flinders, VIC. Click to enlarge.
A lazy 13km circuit out of Flinders, VIC. Click to enlarge.

While I have paddled in bigger waves and stronger winds I found the open ocean and unfriendly shoreline a little intimidating. Although the swell was predominantly from the SW, the sea was very confused with waves coming at me from all directions which made progress quite slow. The waves were mostly  around 2m with the occasional 3m bad boy to keep me on my toes. After an hour or so I wasn’t feeling the love so decided to save Cape Schanck for another day and chicken out back to Flinders .

The coastline is quite spectacular
The coastline is quite spectacular

On the way back to West Head I spotted 3 paragliders enjoying themselves above the cliffs. The distraction took me a bit off course and I had to correct to avoid the breaking waves in front of me.

Taking a selfie was quite a challenge
Taking a selfie was quite a challenge

I soon found myself back on Pen Link and headed for home ahead of schedule.

For this trip I registered on the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard’s SafeTrx App for Android. If you haven’t got it – check it out:

http://www.coastguard.com.au/safetrx