Skip to main content

Sear in the Rear Venison Steaks & Savory Steakhouse Rub

Sear in the Rear Venison Steaks & Savory Steakhouse Rub
Print Recipe

Since the very first caveman roasted a slab of mammoth meat over a roaring fire, we've been grilling our wild-game steaks essentially the same way.

And for thousands of years, that method has worked just fine. But man it a tinkerer by trade and rather than leaving well enough alone, he's come up with a better way to cook a steak called the reverse sear method.

reverse-seared-wild-game-receipe

The problem, if you can call it that, with the standard grilling method is cooking the meat from the outside in over a hot fire.


This results in an overcooked, gray layer on the outer edge by the time the interior of the steak reaches the desired temperature (around 130Ëš - 135Ëš if you're a medium-rare kind of guy). While that still makes in a pretty good steak, it can be better.


The reverse sear method radiates heat air, or in this case hot smoke, around the meat cooking the entire cut evenly, before moving it to a super-heated section of the grill to create that rich, savory crust that is the hallmark of a perfectly cooked cut of meat.

seared-backstrap-recipe

When done correctly, a slice of steak will be red or pink from edge to edge, with no gray band of overcooked meat around the outside. It truly is a beautiful thing. If there's a downside to the reverse sear method is it does take a little more time than a standard sear-flip-sear grilling method, but good things come to those who wait.

Select Your Cut




Before I go any further, a quick word about what cuts work best for the reverse-sear method. Because the steaks cook slowly over time, this technique is best suited to bigger cuts, those more than an inch thick.

If you have bone-in elk or moose chops, the reverse sear is ideal. Same for bigger chunks of backstrap, or a whole loin if you have one on hand. I'd advise against trying it with butterflied backstrap chops or thin steaks cut from the sirloin.

The first step is prepping the uncooked steak by salting both sides liberally then resting it in the refrigerator to dry-brine for an hour or two.


seared-backstrap-recipe-draper

This allows the salt to absorb into the meat, seasoning it from within. It also aids in the creation of the flavorful crust once the steak moves to the searing step.

A good steak really only needs some salt and pepper, however there's nothing wrong with adding more flavor with a steakhouse-style rub like the one below. Just be sure to add it just before the steak goes into the smoker and not during the dry-brining step.

From Fridge to Smoker

From here the steak goes directly from the fridge to the smoker — no bringing it up to room temperature first. A cold cut of meat will sit longer in the smoker, giving it more time to absorb all that delicious flavor.

Have the smoker preheated to 225Ëš, then transfer the steak to the grates. You'll need to monitor the temperature of the meat closely, so a remote thermometer works best here. Or plan on checking the temp several times with a probe-style digital thermometer.

We're going for a cut of meat that's perfectly cooked to medium-rare here. If you like your steaks medium, just leave it in the smoker a little longer. If you're a more well-done kind of guy, stop reading now.

There's nothing I can do to help you. For medium-rare, you'll need to pull the steak off the smoker about 10 degrees short of the desired temperature of 130Ëš to 135Ëš as the searing step will add that last bit of heat to bring it up to temp.

wild-game-recipe-reverse-seared-draper

Once the internal temperature of the steak reaches 120Ëš, transfer it to a searing-hot grill. My Camp Chef SmokePro pellet smoker has a Sear Box attachment, making this step as easy as moving the steak a foot to the right onto the hot grill grates. If you're using a regular smoker, you'll need a hot grill ready, or you can finish the steak on a screaming hot cast-iron skillet.

Sear the steak for no more than minute or two per side, just enough to form a tasty outer crust. Depending on how hot your grill is, you may want to move the steak around as it sears, transferring it to hotter spots. A brush or two of clarified butter, bacon fat or rendered beef tallow also helps develop a flavorful exterior.

seared-wild-game-recipe-draper

That's all there is to the reverse-searing method. Although it does take a bit longer, up to an hour depending on the thickness of the steak, most of that time doesn't require much work other than monitoring the steak as it smokes.

The results are well worth the additional effort, giving venison steaks a smoky char that's way more flavorful than anything a caveman could do.

Steakhouse Rub

3 tbs. kosher salt

3 tbs. cracked black pepper

2 tbs. garlic powder

2 tbs. Hungarian paprika

1 tbs. ground coriander

1 tbs. Coleman's dried mustard

¼ tsp. dried rosemary

¼ tsp. dried marjoram

¼ tsp. dried thyme

Directions:

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and season steak liberally.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: MEAT! Grinders, Vacuum Sealers, Accessories

New for 2021: MEAT! Grinders, Vacuum Sealers, Accessories

MEAT! Your Maker, makers of quality meat-processing tools for do-it-yourself hunters. The company's commercial-grade products are built "with quality in mind, not price point" for fellow hunters.

New for 2021: Burris Oracle X Range-Finding Crossbow Scope

New for 2021: Burris Oracle X Range-Finding Crossbow Scope

The Burris Oracle X is the first and most advanced range-finding crossbow scope on the market, building on the company's long successes with range-finding optics like the Eliminator riflescope.

New for 2021: Nosler M48 Mountain Carbon Rifle New Chamberings, Stock Updates

New for 2021: Nosler M48 Mountain Carbon Rifle New Chamberings, Stock Updates

Regardless of which caliber or color scheme option you choose, these M48 Carbon Rifles are the perfect way to get into a hard-hitting, affordable, lightweight, accurate, and high precision rifle from Nosler.

New for 2021: 6.8 Western Rifle Cartridge

New for 2021: 6.8 Western Rifle Cartridge

The 6.8 Western features a .277-caliber bullet loaded into a case that's been optimized to fit longer, heavier bullets. Consider it a .270 on steroids, or more accurately, an improved version of the .270 Winchester Short Magnum, which never gained enough traction to make it mainstream.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Learn how to grill the perfect medium-rare venison steak with these tips and tricks.Venison Grilling Tips Recipes

Venison Grilling Tips

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Learn how to grill the perfect medium-rare venison steak with these tips and tricks.

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter How-To

4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter

Jeff Johnston

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy black bears.A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears North America Big Game

A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears

Joseph von Benedikt

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy...

The famous gunmaker – Springfield Armory – stakes its first flag in the hunting world with the new, feature-packed Model 2020 Waypoint bolt-action rifle.New Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint Rifle is a Must-See Guns

New Springfield Model 2020 Waypoint Rifle is a Must-See

Petersen's Hunting Staff - September 29, 2020

The famous gunmaker – Springfield Armory – stakes its first flag in the hunting world with the...

See More Trending Articles

More Recipes

To amp up your gameday goods and add some wild game to the mix, check out this recipe for venison sausage rolls.Venison Sausage Rolls Recipe Recipes

Venison Sausage Rolls Recipe

David Draper - December 10, 2020

To amp up your gameday goods and add some wild game to the mix, check out this recipe for...

This recipe adds a little something extra to already-perfect venison backstrap – a sweet and spicy relish made with white-flesh peaches.Venison Backstrap with Sweet & Spicy Peach Relish Recipe Recipes

Venison Backstrap with Sweet & Spicy Peach Relish Recipe

Jack Hennessy

This recipe adds a little something extra to already-perfect venison backstrap – a sweet and...

Hearty and flavorful, this venison curry recipe is simple to make and requires just a few ingredients you can likely find at your local store.Venison Curry Recipe Recipes

Venison Curry Recipe

David Draper - February 23, 2021

Hearty and flavorful, this venison curry recipe is simple to make and requires just a few...

With a little equipment and some basic knowledge, hunters can turn deer, elk, and other venison into something so much more than the usual steaks and burgers.The Lost Art of Wild Game Sausage Recipes

The Lost Art of Wild Game Sausage

David Draper - January 27, 2021

With a little equipment and some basic knowledge, hunters can turn deer, elk, and other...

See More Recipes

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now