How To Sear Meat After Sous Vide?

So you have taken your meat out of the water bath after sous vide and it looks cooked but not necessarily that appetizing. It has a quite grayish look to it and a sort of wobbly texture. It needs searing! Let’s look at why you should sear your meat (besides the appearance) and how to sear meat after sous vide.

How to sear meat after sous vide

Why You Should Sear After Sous Vide

When you sear you meat a chemical reaction happens. This reaction is called the Maillard reaction, and is named after the guy who first discovered this, Louis Camille Maillard. I do not want to get too fancy and in depth with the chemistry behind this as I’m sure other people are better suited doing this – just check out the wikipedia link above, it describes the Maillard reaction in depth. However, in true chem-101 fashion, what essentially happens when we sear meat is that a distinctive flavor arises due to a chemical reaction that happens between amino acids and a reduction of sugars and the meat is browned.

This is also what happens when you bake bread in a hot oven and the dough takes on a brownish color. It doesn’t taste burnt, it taste delicious.

The following is non-scientific but our own Sousvideity experiences as to why you should sear after sous vide. First and foremost is due to the flavor profile it generates once seared.

Secondly is for texture. By adding a sear to the outer of your meat gives a much better feel and structure – something you would expect with a nice and delicious piece of meat. When eating a steak you want to have that crust-like outer texture, not a texture that resembles cooked meat.

Third is the smell, searing a piece a meat produces the scents of gods. Smelling a steak grilling or searing is sending your straight to heaven. How could you live without that.

And last but certainly not least, the meat just looks way more appetizing once it has been browned a bit. For illustration just take a look at the pictures above where you can see a picanha before and after searing.

How To Sear Meat After Sous Vide

Okay okay, enough with the chemistry class, you just want to know how to sear meat after sous vide. Fair enough. Searing your meat can be achieved in many different ways. What is more or less true for all of the options is that we only want to sear the meat, we do not want to continue cooking the meat. The meat is already fully cooked during our sous vide process, so the searing is just for looks, taste and feel.

With all of the searing options, what you should aim for is to deliver blazing hot heat directly to the meat in a short time frame. When you finish up your searing a tip of advice is to finish it all off by a delicious butter basting. This enhances the taste and provides a great flavor to almost all kinds of meat.

In the next section we go through some of the most common options for searing your meat, but keep in mind – the main purpose here is to sear the meat, so if you have another method on your mind it will most likely work too.

Tools To Sear Meat After Sous Vide

When it comes to searing your meat you have many different options available. The tools mentioned here all how to sear meat after sous vide. What is true for all of them is that they all provide a way for us to add the Maillard reaktion to our meat by browning the outer of the meat. Making it, ohhh so, delicious.

Cast iron pan

This is one of our preferred methods and tool to sear meat after sous vide; the cast iron pan! Simply heat up you pan with a bit of oil until it is blazing hot, throw in the meat until it reaches your desired browning and serve.

If you want to add additional flavor we recommend that you a bit of butter at the end into the pan and then baste the butter on the meat. This is the cherry on top.

Personally we use a top notch cast iron skillet from Le Creuset. Besides having the ability to become blazing hot, it also features a dented surface great for adding those visually appealing grill marks.


A torch is a great way to quickly achieve a sear to your meat. Many people have great things to say about the Benzomatic TS8000. By using a torch you it is also possible to easily hit all areas of the meat, whereas with a grill or pan this can be a little difficult to achieve sometimes.

One of the downsides of the torch is that it may be more difficult to get a thicker crust while at the same time ensure that the meat does not get burnt.

Should you go with a torch, we recommend you use MAP gas as this does not leave a bi-taste of gas. Using straight propane gas, can have a tendency to leave a gassy flavor.

Searzall (or similar concept)

It may seem a bit stupid to include the Searzall to our list as it, at the time of writing, seems like the Searzall is almost impossible to get your hands on. Luckily other manufacturers have picked up and are producing similar products.

The Searzall is an attachment you can add on top of a blow touch, it helps by distributing the flames to a wider area which allow you to create a fantastic sear quickly to your meat.

See Amazon for the latest price on the BLUEFIRE Gas Cooking Grill Torch


Not too different than the cast iron pan. This is a go to for us whenever the weather allows it. Simply crank up your grill to maximum heat (irrespective of if you have a gas, pellet or coal fired grill) throw the meat on until seared to your wished. Serve and eat!


Depending on the type of meat you may see great success by placing it in the oven. We find this method especially useful with whole cuts of meat or whole chickens. These types of cuts can be difficult to sear on a grill or pan due to the size and struture.

Imagine browning a whole chicken on a pan, how will ensure you cover all areas of the chicken? You can’t. That is why a hot oven is great. Remember we only need to do the final touches, so the meat should not be in the oven for too long – you do not want to raise the temperature of the meat too much.

Staring intensively at the meat and wait for it to sear..

Unless you have superhero power this will probably grant you limited success. So go for one of the other options.

Let us know if this article was helpful. If you are already well into how to sear meat after sous vide then let us know which method you use – We are sure most would like to be able to use the staring method.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *