Last Updated on April 7, 2022
Out of all the cuts of steak in the universe, flank steak is my favorite. This may very well be controversial, but hear me out.
Flank steak is lean while still being pretty darn flavorful.
The challenge with thinner cuts of steak like flank steak is that when you simply pan-sear them, they have the potential to cook unevenly. You might get a super dark crust on the outside, but the inside could still be rare. By the time the interior is cooked to your preferred doneness, the outer edges are likely crisped to oblivion.
The solution? The reverse searing technique.
What is Reverse Searing?
Reverse searing involves placing uncooked, seasoned meat on a wire rack in a low-temp oven until the meat heats through to a particular temperature. Once that happens, the meat is taken out of the oven and seared on both sides until a deep golden brown crust forms.
I first learned this technique while working at America’s Test Kitchen, and J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats (and formerly of ATK!) has lots to say about reverse searing, too.
Why Does This Technique Make the Best Flank Steak?
The meat cooks evenly, and the caramelized ends are tantalizing.
Steps for Reverse-Searing Flank Steak
Follow these steps using a 1.5 pound flank steak, and season with granulated or brown sugar, salt, and ground black pepper.
- Preheat oven to 225°F.
- Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Pat the flank steak dry. Season each side of meat with 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Place the seasoned flank steak on top of the wire rack and cook in the oven until the meat registers about 125°F. Cooking time should be about 35-40 minutes.
- Heat a saute pan or cast-iron skillet with canola oil. Place the steak in the pan and brown on both sides until a deep golden brown crust forms.*
- Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut meat against the grain into strips.
*Ideal technique: Brown one minute per side, and repeat about four times per side. This way, a nice crust builds!
Kristina DeMichele is the Digital Content Strategist at Harvard Magazine. She is also a freelance copyeditor who has worked for America's Test Kitchen as the Senior Content Editor of Cook's Illustrated Magazine.