The “reverse sear” has been an internet darling for nearly a decade, but most cooks have only applied the technique to large-format steaks (rib-eyes, T-bones, etc.) cooked indoors—first cooking the meat in a low-temperature oven, then searing it in a ripping-hot skillet.

But there’s no reason why you can’t bring the reverse sear outdoors and use it on pork chops, chicken, lamb, or any thicker cut of meat. By first cooking the meat over the cool side of a grill or fire, then searing it in a hot cast iron skillet, you’ll end up with a chop that’s evenly cooked throughout with a beautifully burnished crust.

Field Notes:


This recipe works on a grill or over a campfire-cooking setup. While a gas grill will get the job done, cooking over charcoal or wood will lightly smoke the pork during the first phase of cooking.


As with any thicker-cut protein destined for high-heat cooking, we salt the chops a day ahead, which will season the meat throughout and prevent it from drying out. You can skip this step, but be prepared for chewier results.


Since the first phase of the technique calls for cooking the meat to a very specific temperature, a successful reverse sear is nearly impossible to achieve without an instant-read thermometer. If you don’t own one, now’s the time to get one (you’ll find our favorite model here).


Reverse-Seared Pork Chops


Four bone-in pork rib chops, each about 12 ounces and 1½ inches thick
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
A few sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary



A day (or at least 8 hours) before cooking, liberally salt the pork chops all over with salt; you’ll use about 1 tablespoon of salt per chop. Place on a wire rack fitted inside a rimmed baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to cook.


Prepare a grill (preferably charcoal) or wood fire for two-stage cooking, with low and hot sides. If using a charcoal grill or wood fire, the cool side of the fire should have just a few scattered coals. If using a gas grill, turn the burners to low.


Place the pork chops over low heat and cook, turning them every couple of minutes and swapping their place on the grill with every couple of flips, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chop reads 110°F (for medium-rare). Depending on your grill, this should take around 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the chops to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes.


While the chops rest, heat a large cast-iron skillet over the hot side of the fire. When the pan begins to smoke, add the chops, followed by the butter and herbs. Sear the chops on all sides until well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 135°F, using a spoon to continuously baste them with melted butter as you go. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Cast Iron Cookware that Makes Clean-up Easy

The key to reliable, use-it-every-day cast iron is seasoning: a smooth, well-seasoned skillet will clean up with just a quick wash, and produce natural non-stick performance every time. Apply a dab of Field Seasoning Oil after cleaning to protect your skillet and build durable non-stick seasoning.