Best Tomahawk Steak
Tomahawk Steak is a thick-cut rib eye with an extra-long bone for a dramatic presentation! This tender and juicy cut is perfect for a special occasion. Learn how to cook a tomahawk steak to perfection in the oven or on the grill!
It’s hard to beat a tomahawk steak with its dramatic look and exquisite marbling! The meat is one of the juiciest and most flavorful types of steak. Plus, it’s an instant conversation starter that never fails to impress!
Tomahawk Ribeye Steak
A tomahawk steak is a beef ribeye that’s cut with an extra-long bone that’s at least 5 inches long. The bone is french-trimmed to remove meat and gristle for an awe-inspiring presentation!
The name comes from its resemblance to the Native American tomahawk axe, distinguishing it from a regular bone-in ribeye or cowboy steak with a short bone.
The tomahawk ribeye is cut according to the thickness of the bone, which is anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. As a result, it weighs anywhere from 24 to 40 ounces or 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 pounds. While this makes it an expensive cut, one steak is large enough to serve 2-3 people on its own!
How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak
I recommend broiling or grilling tomahawk steaks, as they’re just too big to sear easily in a skillet. Start by removing the steaks from the fridge 1-2 hours to let them approach room temperature for even cooking and juicier meat.
When you’re ready to cook, pat dry the steaks with paper towels. Then rub with oil on all sides followed by salt and crushed black pepper. Position the oven rack so the meat will be 3-4 inches from the broiler. Then broil for 10-15 minutes, flip and continue for 10-15 minutes more (thicker steaks take longer) to reach desired doneness.
Always let the steak rest covered on a carving board or serving plate for 5-10 minutes so the juices can redistribute through the meat. Then slice against the grain to serve.
When Is It Done?
Given the price of a tomahawk, you’ll want to use an instant-read thermometer to get your preferred doneness. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the steak 5-10 minutes before you expect it to be done:
- Rare (cool red center) is 120°F or 49°C
- Medium rare (warm red center) is 125°F or 52°C
- Medium (warm pink center) is 130°F or 54°C
These temperatures may seem slightly lower than your typical steak, but there’s more carryover cooking in a tomahawk given how thickly it’s cut. The final temperature will be about 10°F higher after resting.
I don’t recommend cooking this cut medium-well or well-done, as it’ll be less tender. Note that the USDA recommends a final temperature of 145°F (approximately medium doneness) although many people opt for rarer steak.
How to Grill Tomahawk Steak
The best way to grill a tomahawk steak is by using a reverse sear. That means cooking it low-and-slow at 275°F (135ºC) for 30-40 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of about 100°F (38°C).
Then crank the heat to the highest setting (at least 450°F) and sear for 2-3 minutes per side or until your desired doneness is reached, measuring with an instant-read thermometer. To get crosshatch grill marks, rotate the steak halfway through searing each side.
As with broiling, let the steak rest covered with foil for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Where to Buy Tomahawk Steak
While tomahawk steaks have decent availability, it’s best to call your meat counter ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Some Costco and Sam’s Club locations carry them while others don’t. Online ordering is another option.
Prices range from $10 per pound for a Choice cut to $30 or more for a Prime cut. If that seems expensive, just remember you’ll pay over $100 for a tomahawk at restaurants like Ruth’s Chris. So it’s still way cheaper to make it yourself!
More Bone-in Steaks:
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Tomahawk Steak Recipe
- 2 tomahawk steaks, 1.5-2 inches thick (24-40 oz each including the bone)
- 2 tablespoons oil, canola oil or refined olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoons coarse salt, or kosher salt
- 2-3 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
- Remove the tomahawk steaks from the refrigerator 1-2 hours so they can reach room temperature. This will promote even cooking for the juiciest meat.
- Position the oven rack so the meat will be 3-4 inches from the broiler. Then turn on the broiler to preheat at 450-550°F (230-288°C).
- Pat dry the steaks with paper towels to remove excess moisture that could interfere with searing.
- Rub the steak with oil on all sides. Then season with salt and pepper.
- Put the steaks on a broiler pan and place in the oven.
- Broil for 10 minutes. Then flip and broil for 10-15 minutes more. Check doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the steak: 120°F is rare, 125°F is medium-rare, 130°F is medium and 135°F is medium-well.*
- Remove the steaks from the oven to a carving board or serving platter. Cover with foil and let them rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices can redistribute throughout the meat.
- Slice crosswise against the grain to serve.
- * Doneness: Avoid cooking a tomahawk to more than medium in order to get the most tender steak.
- Grilled Tomahawk Steak: Prepare the steak according to the instructions above. Then grill at 275°F (135ºC) for 30-40 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 100°F (38°C). Raise the heat to 450-500°F and sear for 2-3 minutes per side or until until your desired doneness is reached. Remove from the grill to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Yield: One tomahawk ribeye yields two to three 8-oz servings depending on how thickly it's cut.
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