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I'm new to sous-vide and plan on trying it for the first time with a rib eye steak that is about 1-1/4" thick. I know when it's done cooking, I need to sear it. I was thinking of trying my gas oven's infrared broiler instead of a cast iron pan.

When using my broiler for a fish filet, the broiler element (not the flame) is about 3-1/2" from the top of the filet. This has always worked well for me, but I think it might take too long for the rib eye to sear at that distance (so might end up further cooking the interior of the steak). I can get it closer but don't know how close to try.

Question: Can a 1-1/4" thick steak cooked sous-vide be adequately seared under an infrared gas broiler? If so, roughly how close to the element should the top of the steak be?

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You can do it. It really depends on the result you are looking for. The reason to sear is simply to produce a maillard reaction, and caramelization. The issue with sous vide is that you want to do that rapidly so as not to continue cooking the internal part of the protein. On the other hand, some people cook a couple of degrees lower, then take a little longer to sear. There are all kinds of options here and no perfect answers. I don't think you want it much closer, as you will likely have fat popping off the top of your steak. I would give it a shot and see if you like the result. There is no reason to discard the idea out of hand.

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  • Thank you. I think you're right about not going any closer to the flame. I haven't tried it yet, and am realizing I can use the outside gas grill, too. Trying to avoid the cast iron pan method. – Arlo Aug 19 '20 at 4:40

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