Grilled Steaks: The Reverse Sear

Grilled Steaks: The Reverse Sear

If there is one thing I love to grill more than anything else, it’s a thick bone in ribeye cooked medium rare.  For me, there is nothing better.  Now while this type of steak may seem straightforward to grill, its size can be tricky if you want a well charred crust and an even, warm pink center.  It is for this exact reason I use a “reverse sear.”  For my steaks, I take nothing to chance.

Most steaks up to an inch thick can be cooked over direct high heat.  However, thicker steaks need a little finessing.  With an even “wall to wall” pink center being the goal, thick steaks cooked over direct heat will hit their target temperature closer to the crust much sooner than the middle of the meat.  A uniformly cooked center is about impossible.  To avoid this, and still reach our goal, use a two zone fire with all of the coals pushed to one side of the kettle and nothing on the other. 

Over the side of the grill without charcoal, cook the steak to about 10 degrees of its target temperature.  For instance, for medium rare at 130 Fahrenheit, move the steak at 120 Fahrenheit.  By slowly bringing the meat to temperature, it ensures uniformity.  In this case, an instant read thermometer is a must to check the temperature. 

Once the -10 degree temperature is obtained, the steak is seared directly over the hot coals to create that excellent charred crust.  When the final temperature is met, remove the steak from the grill and allowed to rest about 10 minutes. 

An added benefit to the reverse sear, is not only cooking a great medium rare steak, but also for my more finicky friends, a more medium to well done cut.  Yes, while it might seem sacrilegious to grill steak to that degree, one of those “finicky friends” happens to be my wife, so, needless to say, I make it happen.  More importantly, she likes it.  A lot.

By slowing bringing the steak to temperature, and finishing with a hot sear, the result is a wonderful, evenly cooked steak with a crust to die for.  It’s the best of both worlds.

What are your thoughts? (9)



Any way you could translate "two zone fire" into non purist language for those of us who like good steaks and the convenience of, dare I say it, propane? I would guess on a four burner I would turn two burners on high or medium high or medium high and put the steak on the far other side until 120 degrees.


Steven P

Personally, the redder the center the better. Hence my steak is only seared witrh apple chips on the coals at the same time. On my Genesis grill, I use the sear station, and then put it up on the warming rack directly above a smoke box which has been brought to temp while the rest of the grill was heating up. I turn all of the burners turned off, so no cooking, just smoke.

For my wife, who want medium rare, I cook her steak in a vacuum sealed bag in a Souse Vida bath to 128 deg, and then sear it along with mine.


Robert S

How do you know it is 120degres? I saw a Weber I grill thermoter.? Is that what to use?


Mike Lang

Hi Robert - Great question! An internal thermometer is a must have and for the best of the best, check out our iGrill line. I never miss a target temperature!

Grill on!


Grant L

Well after much research and many trials, the reverse sear finally worked wonders for my wife and I! Did a 4 hr dry brine with strictly kosher salt on some 1 1/2" ribeye. Pulled them out approx 15 min prior to grilling and topped them off with some fresh cracked pepper. Fired up my weber genesis for indirect at approx 275 to 300 degrees. Once the steaks were on, flipped once during the first 35 minutes. cranked up the heat including the sear station and bam, seared each side disregarding fancy grill marks and was looking strictly for a good crust. Kept the lid open during the sear stage, had zero flare ups, and topped them off with a small spoonful of butter during the resting stage. Hands down best steak i have ever made. I hit a perfect medium from outside to outside with an amazing flavorful crust. Will repeat this recipe from here on out. Side note: cranked the heat once the steaks hit 125 using my instant digital thermometer, i believe that is a key component to this cook. Once again the Weber pulls through, couldn't be more satisfied!!!!


Mike Lang

Hi Grant -

I love your process and I'm glad it worked. You definitely have it down to a science! Great call on the grill marks. Sure, they look great, but nothing beats a flavorful crust!

Thanks for sharing and keep up the great grilling!!



Doron O

I have a 13 years old Weber Genesis B which is still going strong with absolutely zero issues, regardless of the fact that I have been using it 3 times a week, summer and winter...
Kudos to your robust products!

Reverse sear:
Read about it in “”
Tried it with a boneless, 1 1/2” thick ribeye for the first time, yesterday.
Interesting results.
Meat is reddish-pink throughout. Crusty brown layer is thinner.
Steak has a bit of a very mild smokey aroma to it although I have not used any wood chips in a smoke box.
It is almost a mild bacon-like like scent.
Texture is oh so slightly gummier than when using more traditional grilling ways. Steak is somewhat juicier and full of flavour but does have a bit of a mild smokey after taste.
It tastes closer to when its done on charcoal grill or the big green egg rather than a typical gas grill.
Maybe it is an acquired taste but I am not sure I prefer it this way because it taste like a “steak + something” rather than a "steak only". I am sure there is some scientific explanation to this.
I need to try this a few more times to see if this is better or not, to my taste.

Thanks for the recipe!



Mike Lang

HI Doron -

We are glad to hear your Genesis is still grilling along. That's fantastic! Also, thanks for your detailed feedback on the reverse sear. One of the awesome things about grilling is the experimentation. I'm glad to see you are going to take your testing further! Thanks again for sharing!

Grill on!


Tom W

Mike I have to disagree. If this prepared the greatest steak in the world all the great steak houses would use it. Even Weber's restaurant in Chicago doesn't use it. I

I to love a 1 1/2" ribeye, there is nothing better. But I always do it on a super hot grill set up in a hot and cool section. Load a chimney with lump charcoal as it burns hotter and place it as close as possible to one side of the grill as you can. I look for as many as 3 coals high. This gives me a 6-800 degree grill temp, I them sear the steaks 2-3 minutes and then put them on the cool side, put the lid on and close the vents. After about 6 minutes you can begin testing for your preferred doneness. Or if you have a Maverick ET-732 insert it and take your steak off when it reaches the temp you like.

You'll get the hang of it after a few tries.



Mike Lang

Hi Tom -

Thanks so much for the feedback. To me, the greatest steak in the world is one grilled in my own backyard.

You are absolutely right, most steak houses don't use this method, but they can use sous vide, which utilizes the same theory behind reverse sear. They also have the luxury of grills that can generate much more heat that we can. In the end, it's your own process that matters and it sounds like yours is well thought out and successful! Thanks so much for sharing it and yes, that thermometer is a necessity!

Grill on!


Tom W

This doesn't really work. By the time you have reached 120 degrees you will overcook the steak with the 2-3 minutes it takes to sear it on each side. The biggest thing is to have the steaks out of refrigeration for 30 minutes or more. To get a good sear on a steak you need a good hot fire 5-600 degrees or more for 2-3 minutes then over a cooler portion or in the oven. No great steak house uses your method including the Weber Restaurant in Chicago. Go to Peter Lugar's in NY if you really want a great steak, lots of great steak houses in Chicago also.



Doug G

Hey Guys,

I've done reverse sear on Q220 - it's easy. Set up a Trivet over a Convection Tray or foil and place a dip pan full of water next to it. Start you Weber on low and let it preheat to around 230 and then put your steaks on the trivet and cook until they reach 10 degrees below your end temperature.

Take the steaks off on place them in a tray covered loosely in foil - remove the trivet and convection tray and crank your Q up to high until it reaches 500 to 550 - this will take about 10 - 15 mins but this time allows the steaks to rest.

Put your steaks back on the grill and sear for 90 seconds to 2 mins a side and your done..... Best part about doing them this way is they are ready to eat immediately...



Mike Lang

Hey Doug -

It sounds like you have your process down just right! That's sweet. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Grill on!


Geoff E

Hi, I have a 2000 weber q model, so indirect cooking isn't an option. Would using the roast setting be a work around?


Mike Lang

Hi Geoff - Yes! The roast shield would work perfect. That just goes to show how much I love the versatility of the Q! Let me know how it works out!



Grill Overview