The sear burner included on many higher-end gas grills is a powerful cooking tool. It uses a large number of small flames to heat a ceramic plate to very high temperatures. The superheated ceramic element emits infrared radiation, which rapidly sears and browns the food -- usually meats -- cooked over it. Although it can be used for other purposes, its primary role is to sear steaks rapidly before they go onto the grill.
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Light and your gas grill and sear burner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Preheat the sear burner on its high setting, and heat the main grill to approximately 300 F.
Pat the steaks dry with clean paper towels. Season lightly with salt.
Place the steaks on the sear burner at a 45 degree angle to the grid. Sear for 1 minute, then turn the steaks 90 degrees to make restaurant-style grill marks and sear for 1 more minute.
Turn the steaks after the second minute, and sear on the second side for 1 minute. If your steaks are 1 1/2- to 2-inches thick, they can be seared for 2 minutes on the second side.
Transfer the steaks to the main cooking surface of your grill, and finish them over the less-intense heat of the regular gas flame. Most steaks 1-inch thick will be finished in 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove your steaks from the heat and season them with salt and pepper. Cover them loosely with aluminum foil and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Never leave your grill unattended while cooking is underway. The sear burner generates extreme heat and can cause major injury. Keep children and pets away from the grilling area when it is in use.