Reverse Sear Ribeye Steak

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Learn how to Reverse Sear Ribeye Steak for the greatest steak you’ll ever have!  

Reverse sear is an incredible way to cook a steak. Smoke at a low temperature for that unique wood smoke flavor, and then finish your steak hot and fast on your grill for the perfect crust at the perfect temperature every single time. Check out this guide as well, it can be applied to any meat.

2 Reverse Seared Ribeye Steaks cooking on the grill
Bone in Rib Eye Steaks over direct heat.

There are so many ways to cook a steak. On the grill, the stovetop, in a stew, in the oven, to name a few. But have you tried something referred to as the reverse sear method? It’s a pretty popular thing right now, and for darn good reason.

What is Reverse Sear Cooking?

Let me explain. When you google “perfectly cooked steak,” what you will typically see is the more traditional restaurant method, which is where the meat is seared hot and then finished in the oven to finish cooking. But what I want to share is something that adds incredible flavor and allows you to finish with that beautiful crusted texture. The reverse sear. And better yet, the SMOKED reverse sear.

And here you thought you couldn’t achieve a perfectly cooked steak on a smoker?!

The idea is, instead of sear first then finish in the oven, you smoke it first at a low temperature to get the smoky flavor, and then finish it by searing (either on a grill or hot stovetop skillet) for the beautiful and flavorful crust. But first, let’s talk about…

The Best Cut for Reverse Sear: Ribeye Steaks

A raw steak on butcher paper

While the reverse sear works for any cut of meat, in this case I find it best with steak. And the thicker the cut of steak — like filet, ribeye steak, porterhouse, cowboy cut, or New York strip – the better. These thicker cuts can take on more smoke, which equates to more flavor without the meat cooking to finished temperature too soon, which could result in an overcooked steak.

For a ribeye look for at least 1 1/2 inches thick. Ask your butcher if they can cut it for you. We love Snake River Farms American Wagyu Ribeyes or their Double R Ranch Prime Ribeyes. Amazing flavor!

How To Season a Steak

Season simply with salt and pepper. That’s it. Nothing more is needed for a good cut of beef (OK, maybe a little granulated garlic too). And if you’re going to invest your money in a quality cut of meat (which is what we always recommend), why drown out those natural flavors with noise (aka too much seasoning). Good meat doesn’t need it. S&P is all you need.

You can use prime, wagyu, or something local. The key is to look for good marbling. We salted this cut on both sides lightly and then left in the fridge for a quick dry brine over a couple of hours. The salt disappears as it is absorbed into the meat.

How to Reverse Sear A Ribeye

It all starts with smoking at a low temperature for flavor and then finishing on high heat for that sear. This is a similar concept to sous vide cooking (which is also all the rage right now for good reason), only done on the smoker (no sous vide appliances necessary). This is also a similar method to these friggin’ amazing smoked burgers with chorizo and smoked poblanos. Those burgers were smoked at low heat and then finished on a hot grill for that irresistible sear.

Smoking a Ribeye Steak for Reverse Sear Method
Note the reddish color as it smokes, that is normal.

What Temperature do you Reverse Sear Ribeye?

First we get the smoker preheated to 225 degrees (F). And you slowly bring the internal temperature of your meat up while smoking, until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 110 degrees (F). (Note we like our beef rare or cooked to 125 – 127, if you are more a medium rare, take the smoke internal temperature up to 120 degrees).

You’re not trying to cook the steak completely for this step, you’re just adding a layer of incredible flavor while slowly and steadily warming up the meat. Depending on the thickness of the cut this should take around an hour – but temperature is king here! Always cook to temp, not time. This is where it’s vital to have a good thermometer.

Taking the temperature of a steak using a digital thermometer

For something like this, we use an instant-read thermometer, like the Thermapen MK4 (pictured). You don’t want to mess around with something that’s going to take a long time to get a proper reading, not after you’ve already invested in a good cut of meat and not to mention the time it has taken you to cook.

Once your meat hits the 110 degree mark (or 120 for the end temp if you’re going for medium rare), that’s when you move the steak over direct heat and finish to get that sear mark. (We moved ours from the smoker to the Weber kettle grill that we have nice and hot while the meat was smoking. You can use whatever grill you have that can get hot hot hot.)

Alternatively, you can finish the steak on a hot cast iron pan if you don’t want to heat up a second grill (or if your smoker doesn’t get that hot). Just smoke the meat to 110, then transfer it to your hot cast iron pan over the stovetop.

Reverse Seared Ribeye Steak cooking on a hot grill

What temperature is Ribeye Done?

I like my steak rare to medium rare so I remove it at 125 – 130 degrees Fahrenheit at the center. So once the internal temperature reaches your desired doneness, let it sit for a few minutes for the juices to redistribute and tent it with foil. It’ll also keep cooking a little bit with that residual heat.

Beef Temperature Ranges

Be sure to take into consideration the carry-over cooking that happens while the steak rests. For steaks remove them 5 degrees lower than your desired temperature. For roasts remove them 10 degrees lower. The steak’s internal temperature will rise as it rests.

Black and Blue100 – 120° Fahrenheit (F)37 – 48° Celsius (C)
Rare120 – 130° F48 – 54° C
Medium Rare130 – 140° F54 – 60° C
Medium140 – 150° F60 – 65° C
Medium Well (not recommended)150 – 160° F65 – 71° C
Well Done (not recommended)160 – 170° F71 – 76° C
Taking the temperature of beef with a digital thermometer
126 is our perfect temperature for a grilled or reverse seared ribeye.

How To Reverse Sear On A Gas Grill

  • On a three or more burner grill, turn on one burner to low or medium-low heat.
  • Place wood chips in a foil pouch on the grill grates over the flame.
  • Place meat on the indirect side. Close lid. Try to keep the temperature of the gas grill under 250 degrees, it’s tough as they have a lot of venting, so adjust your flame as needed. When the meat’s internal temperature reaches 110 degrees, you can remove the foil wood pouch.
  • Next, crank up the heat to high and finish with that sear. (Note: It is likely you will replace the foil pouch a few times.)
  • Remove when the internal temperature of the meat is to your desired doneness.
Reverse Seared Smoked Ribeye Steak resting on a cutting board

Side Dishes for Steak Dinner

Reverse Sear Ribeye Steak Recipe

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Reverse Seared Smoked and Grilled Ribeye Steaks
4.56 from 49 votes

Reverse Sear Ribeye Steak

The reverse sear is an incredible way to cook a steak. For this we are explaining the smoked reverse sear, by slow smoking a ribeye steak, then finishing it on a hot grill for char and flavor.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 2 servings




  • Salt the steaks on both sides and place them on a cookie sheet in a refrigerator for up to two hours for the dry brine. Remove about 20 minutes before smoking and add pepper. (we’re not using an oil here due to the dry brine or salting)


  • Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F (we like cherry wood), and remove the steak from the fridge.
  • Apply the pepper on the steaks, and then place them on the smoker. They will take on that flavor and start to turn a reddish hue. When the internal temperature (IT) reaches 110 degrees (F), remove from the smoker and prepare for the grill. This takes roughly an hour.


  • Prepare your cooker for direct heat targeting 500 degrees F over the direct heat. In this case we used a Weber kettle grill. You can also do this before the steak reaches 100 degrees (F). Or you can wait while you prep your sides.
  • Place the steak over the direct heat for about 3 minutes. You're looking for a nice crust. The IT will come up fast on the steak, especially if you have just taken off the smoker. (some may want to re-season at this point, it's up to you. We don't. The dry brine or salt with the pepper was all we needed. Try it without re-seasoning first and then adjust. It's easier to add salt and flavor later rather than taking it away)
  • Flip the steak for another 3 minutes until the IT reaches your desired doneness, we like 125 degrees (F) for rare. Let rest for 10 minutes with a loosely tented foil for the juices to reabsorb into the meat then cut and serve.



Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1745mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, barbecue, bbq, grilling, steak dinner
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 6
Keyword: how to reverse sear a ribeye, reverse sear, reverse sear method, reverse sear ribeye, reverse sear ribeye steak, smoked ribeye steak, smoked steak
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

What if I only have a smoker, and no grill?

If you have a hard time getting your smoker to a sear temperature, have no fear. Just finish it on a cast iron pan over high heat. Get the cast iron pan hot, you know it’s hot enough when you add extra virgin olive oil to the pan and it is slightly bubbly and smoking just before you put the steak on. Sear each side for 2 -3 minutes or until the steak comes to the temperature you like.

More Reverse Sear resources

 *This recipe was originally published in May 2016, and updated in May 2020 with some updated information. The recipe remains the same.

***While this post does contain affiliate links, it is not a sponsored post at all, nor were we paid by anybody to write this! We are just huge fans of these thermometers and have been using our own Thermapen for years. Whether a Thermapen or not, we truly believe a good thermometer is absolutely essential for grilling and smoking meat, especially using a method like reverse sear! Your perfectly cooked meat will thank you (and so will the friends you serve it to).

The Perfect Reverse Sear Steak using your Smoker. Using this method, you can get the perfect medium rare steak at home using your smoker, then finishing on a hot grill

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.

Reverse Sear Smoked Ribeye on a smoker and a cutting board

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    I have been reverse searing for years.
    I have discovered that using a wireless probe thermometer like Meater makes cooking so simple. This brand thermometer even predicts when your steak will get to 110 degrees. When it does get there I remove the Meater and use an MK4 to get to 5 degrees below desired finish temperature due to carry-over heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes and allow juices to redistribute. I also presalt the steaks with kosher salt at least a couple of hours prior to cooking and preferably 24 hours prior.

  2. 5 stars
    Nice write up. I do however wish, if you were going to give such a great recommendation for $100 steak, you should’ve took the same effort to give a counter recommendation for a working class budget. You guys are great, but sometimes I feel you only give recommendations for products that the average Joe can’t always afford and you give no budget friendly recommendations….why not both?

  3. I kept smoker at 220 and when I checked 30 minutes later it was past temp….. you should mention if you have a cheap little smoker do the time you said but other wise check on temp.

  4. I have a 3.3lb two bone ribeye. I am thinking of smoking as one piece of meat roast. Will this work? How long should I plan to smoke? Thanks.

    1. Mark that will totally work as one roast. If smoking, I would plan 90 minutes for it to come to 110 internal temperature. 2 hours if you take it to 130. Then sear.

  5. 5 stars
    Smoked reverse sear is a winner!

    Tonight I did 2 ribeyes in this manner. Smoked to 100 internal temp, then set aside while pellet grill got to 450 and then seared each side for 3 minutes. Internal temp was 125 to 130 before tenting. Inside was middle pink with a nice crust. Sorry to be heathenly, but all we had was cabernet in a box!.

    1. Awesome!!! And I am sure the CAB in a box was great! We have a box of pink wine in the fridge right now!

    1. Cathy yes, you can if you can’t time it. But I would be sure you pull from smoke and then add right away to the fridge to cool it down. Then before grilling, take it out of fridge to come closer to room temp then put on high heat.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this last night. Followed the recipe exactly using a pellet smoker and finishing on the grill. It was amazing!

  7. Hi,
    I found this article/recipe while trying to find a way to cook a huge standing rib roast(8 bone) for Christmas dinner. I want the meat to have a nice, smoky grill flavor but I like the way the roasts have that nice, crusty exterior when they have been cooked at a high temp in the oven first then finished off in a lower temp oven. How can I achieve that? Would this method work? I would love to know your thoughts and the exact steps I should take.
    Thank you!

    1. Charlotte, great question. We have a smoked prime rib recipe that doesn’t quite get you to that crusty exterior. So I would consider the reverse sear method. Because you have such a large rib roast, I would smoke it first (that way the smoke gets into the rib roast). At about 110 internal temp at the center of the roast, Pull it, and then sear.

      Because you have an 8 pound monster! (jealous here) I would get the grill really hot and set up an indirect/direct method of coals. You can put the rib roast over direct heat and kind of roll it for a good crust and move to indirect heat and cover for a few minutes to let it further caramelize.

      That should get you the best of both worlds. They key is pulling from smoke early, like 110 – 115 so you can grill it and not overcook it while grilling. That is going to need some big tongs!!! If you just go direct, I fear it may overcook the outside, so get the crust you like, then move to the indirect side to finish.