By Cat, Dec 2015 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
This Christmas I’m going to try the reverse-sear method for a leg of lamb, but the method is also applicable to beef, venison or buffalo (lower oven temperature by 25°F for buffalo). It is generally used for the more tender cuts, but can also be used for slow-roast candidates. For a great video on this method, see Fine Cooking (1).
The point behind the reverse-sear method is to oven-roast the meat evenly throughout at 300°F, then let it rest before searing on stovetop. This ensures an evenly roasted meat with no over-done meat close to the exterior or under-done meat in the interior.
This method also reduces glycation,a complex cascade of chemical reactions between sugars, proteins and lipids (such as cholesterol) that can lead to AGEs (Advanced glycation end products) which can have serious long-term effects on your health. See my health article Glycation and Premature Aging for more.
Reverse Sear Method
This simple method is adapted from Fine Cooking (1), and is generally used for tender cuts of beef such as prime rib, venison, buffalo or lamb. If used for less-tender cuts; you will just need to slow-roast longer and at a lower temperature, to break down the tough connective tissue (see my testing of cross-rib beef, below); or choose a slow-roast or braise method.
- Bring your roast to room temperature by resting on the counter for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile do some prep: Preheat oven to 300°F (or 275°F for buffalo).
- Prepare your spice/herb mix using chopped fresh herbs or dried and ground herbs/spices. You can do a dry rub – or just salt and pepper – or a fatty rub which I prefer. The fatty rub involves mixing your herbs and spices into some room-temperature butter or lard.
- If desired, stud your roast with garlic: slice large cloves or cut smaller cloves in half, then insert into cuts in the meat (made with a knife).
- Rub the roast on all sides with your spice/herb mix (or sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper).
- Roast: Place on rack in roasting pan (or use a roasting pan with grooves on the bottom to collect the fatty juices). Roast in pre-heated oven to internal temperature of 110°F for rare or 115°F for medium rare.
- Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest up to 2 hours.
- Just before serving, sear roast on all sides in hot fat (I use lard) to internal temperature of 125°F for rare or 130°F for medium rare. Alternately raise the oven to 475°F to reverse-sear, rather than searing on stove-top.
- You can carve right away – don’t need to let it rest first because it has already had its rest.
Christmas 2015: Testing leg of lamb, using Basic Roast Leg of Lamb with Herbs for ingredients, but with reverse-sear method. I lost my notes, but can say this is a very easy method, both for cooking and cleaning up, and the flavor is to die for.
4/1/16: Tonite it will be a cross-rib roast, which is best slow-cooked. I will try the rub mix from a food.com recipe (2) for a 2 lb roast that oven-sears first, but will do the reverse sear. First warmed roast to room temp, then brushed with 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar; made a paste of remaining ingredients (2 Tbsp minced garlic, 2 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed, 1 Tbsp each unrefined sea salt and black pepper, and 1 Tbsp olive oil) and rubbed on the roast. Roasted at 300°F per this method for 80 minutes; raised oven to 475°F and removed roast at 7:15, 138°F). I forgot to remove from oven to rest before searing, so will let it rest about 20 minutes after searing before carving. It is cooked medium, and is a bit tough; however, the herb dressing mix is excellent. In future if using cross-rib cut, cook at lower, slower temperature, perhaps 250°F. Or use a slow-cook method.
- Fine Cooking video on reverse-sear: finecooking.com/item/69288/the-secret-to-perfectly-cooked-roast-beef
- Food.com cross-rib roast recipe: food.com/recipe/cross-rib-roast-61718