How to Sear Meat
7 Easy Steps to Properly Sear Meat
- Allow the meat to come to room temperature.
Take your meat, whether it be steak or roast, out of the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for 30 minutes. This will bring the meat to room temperature.
- Remove all excess moisture.
Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. If you don’t you’ll be simmering a sauce instead of searing a meat.
- Pre-heat the pan.
Get the skillet hot. This will take about 5 minutes (you can test if it’s hot by putting a drop of water in the pan and you should immediately hear a sizzle). A cast iron pan works best, but stainless steel can also be used. Do NOT use non-stick pans for searing!
- Season the meat.
It’s important to do this step just before searing. If the meat is seasoned too soon the salt will begin to draw juices from the meat.
- Add a little oil (of neutral flavor) to the pan once hot.
Allow the oil a minute or two to get hot.
- Cook until the meat releases from the pan.
Be patient and just let it sit and sizzle. Once a side of the meat is seared, it will release from the pan. If you try to turn it too soon, you will feel resistance from the meat and thus should not turn it over yet.
- Sear both sides of a steak and all sides of a roast.
Thinner steaks will be cooked once seared, but thicker ones and roasts must be finished in the oven. Cast iron pans can be simply moved into the oven to finish cooking.
Note: Always allow meat to rest before serving.
How to Sear Meat
To explore various cuts of beef, see this handy beef cuts diagram.
If the protein of choice is tofu, see our post on tastier tofu for instructions on getting the most flavor by searing tofu.