Reverse Searing a Smoked New York Strip Steak

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Avatar for gmsteele
1 year ago

There's not much better than a smoked and seared steak on the charcoal grill. I find that great results are usually had when a few rules are followed. My favorite steaks are steaks that are thick, cooked on charcoal, smoked with wood, allowed to rest, then reverse seared.

Meet my friend!! This is a 1.75 pound, 2 inch thick New York Strip steak. I love a thick steak! A thick cut of meat allows you to enjoy the smoke and your seasonings while not losing the taste of the meat. Thin steaks can take on the flavoring of the marinade, seasonings, or smoke so that you lose the original flavor of your steak.

I will season the meat with whatever I have on hand, but in this case I used garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, a few red pepper flakes, worchestershire sauce, and olive oil. Just put in an amount that you think looks good. I put the steak in a bag with the marinade and left it in the refrigerator for a few hours, flipping it every once in a awhile.

When using charcoal, you can use a bag of charcoal, and you can light it with lighter fluid if you would like. But I like to use lump charcoal, it seems to burn more evenly, but it does burn a little bit hotter. And I highly recommend using a chimney to light your charcoal. You put a little newspaper in the bottom of the chimney and place your charcoal in the top and light it up. This allows the charcoal to light without the use of lighter fluid, which adds a more "chemical," flavor to your meat. This is not the fastest method, but will make a better end product.

The wood! There are a variety of ways to smoke the meat. I used to use wood chips all the time, but they are small and didn't smoke very long. These days, I have started using wood chunks, because they will smoke for hours. You need to soak your wood prior to using, because this makes it so the wood smokes rather than burns when placed in t he grill. Above these apple wood chunks are soaking. With chips, about 30 minutes is enough, but with chunks I recommend a few hours. If the wood chips are not soaked enough, rather than smoking your wood will just burn.

Our goal here is to cook on indirect heat. As you can see above, I have a couple of metal baskets that put the charcoal in once it was ready. This allows my heat source to be on one side of the grill only, and the meat to be on the other side. Once the charcoal is ready, right before adding the meat, I put the soaked wood chips on top. Then I put the meat on the side away from the heat and started grilling!

I opened the bottom and top vents about half way, and allowed the meat to cook and smoke! The wood chunks are putting of a nice amount of consistent smoke that smells delicious!

As we talked about, I cooked this on indirect heat. The bins with the charcoal and the wood chips are to the right of the meat. I put the steak to the side of the direct heat, with the fat pad facing the charcoal. In this picture, you can see that the heat has crisped and smoked the fat pad, which is really, really good! This photo was taken when the meat had reached my desired internal temperature of 134 degrees, right before resting.

A big question is always "how long do you cook the meat?" The honest answer is that I never cook to time, I cook to temperature. For a rare steak, the internal temperature should be around 135 degrees. Especially with thicker cuts of meat, it is difficult to know when the meat reaches the temperature you want. So I use a thermometer, which you can see above. I highly recommend cooking to temperature, not time, you will consistently get much better results.

Which thermometer to use? One of the options I am not a big fan of is an instant read thermometer that you poke into the meat every once in awhile to check the temperature. You might miss your window to get the temperature you want if you don't check it at the right time. Also, this pokes holes in the meat that allows some of the great juices you want to keep the meat tender to leak out. A thermometer that continuously reads the temperature is much better. There are bluetooth models that synch to your phone, but I got irritated with these because you you need to stay within a short range for them to work. These days, I have a Fireboard, which is a WiFi thermometer. This hooks to the internet and allows you to monitor your temperatures from anywhere on your phone. As you can see above, it took 1 hour and 3 minutes for my steak to reach 134 degrees. Then it was time to pull if off and rest it.

I highly recommend using the "reverse sear," method, especially for larger or thicker cuts of meat. I first learned this technique from famous TV chef Alton Brown. He said that as you cook meat, the tendons tighten and the liquid all moves to the center. If the meat is seared at high heat in the beginning, this process happens quickly and cannot be reversed, which can make for a tougher, dryer piece of meat. His suggestion was the "reverse sear," where you cook the meat on low temperature until you reach the internal temperature you like, then let the meat rest before searing.

Resting stabilizes the internal temperature of the meat, and allows the tendons to relax and the liquid to even out, making the final product tender and moist. But the best part is that once this happens, you can sear the outside of the meat at very high temperatures without affecting the internal temperature. So you can get a nice crispy outside while keeping a moist, tender inside.

In the picture above, the meat has rested and I have taken the lid off the grill, let the charcoal reach a high heat, and placed the meat directly over the charcoal for a couple of minutes per side to get a delicious sear.

And this is the final product! This steak is just how I like it! Smoked, rested, seared, and ready to eat!

And the cut! You can see here how the outside is charred and crispy while the inside stayed pink and moist! And the fat layer has been rendered, and the smoked, crispy bits were so delicious.

I highly recommend giving this method a try! It is by no means the fastest way. And it takes some planning. I really enjoy cooking and grilling, and I even enjoy the planning stage. There's something I like about wanting to make something delicious for my family and friends, making a plan, seeing it come together, having it turn out perfect, and getting to see everyone enjoy the results! I see taking the time to do something like this for those you love as a gift. It is always a big hit!

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Avatar for gmsteele
1 year ago


That looks so good! Feeling hungry now 😕

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1 year ago