What is a Tomahawk Steak?

This cut is actually a large ribeye steak that is specifically cut with about 8-12 inches of the rib bone left on it. The bone makes a dramatic presentation and helps with adding rich, deep meaty flavor that is over the top.

The bone is “Frenched”, a culinary term that means it is trimmed of fat and meat. The Tomahawk steak is meant to look like the handle of an ax. It’s the same technique that is used on a rack of lamb.

The bone is intended to give it the “wow” factor however it also helps insulate the tender meat while it cooks for added meaty flavor notes.

The Tomahawk steak is extremely tender and buttery, with beautiful marbling. It’s also relatively simple to make!

Because of its size and 2″ thickness this steak requires a different cooking method than a regular sized steak, which usually just gets a quick sear on the grill. The average weight of a Tomahawk is about 32 plus ounces so plenty of meat there for several people however I have seen a few DADS consume the whole steak, just saying its up to what your after.

I chose the indirect “reverse sear” method for our Tomahawks and I will share with you how to do it, with step-by-step directions, so you will get it just right every time! 

Step One – Salting and Dry Brining

  • The first step to prepping this big steak is salting it liberally with Sea Salt larger crystals.
  • Allow the salt to sit on the steak for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator uncovered. Place the steak on a rack on top of a baking sheet for best results to allow the air to flow around the top and bottom of the steak.

Salting basically (dry brining) improves the texture and flavor of this steak. The chemistry works with the protein & fat in meat. When salt is applied to an uncooked meat the juices inside the meat are drawn to the surface. The salt then dissolves into that liquid, forming a brine that is then slowly reabsorbed into the meat for added juiciness, trust me it works. I like butter and lemon juice for this steak we will talk about that shortly

This will result is an incredibly tender, moist, steak loaded with flavor.

Step Two – The Seasoning Rub

  • Once the steak has sat seasoned for the 12/24 hours take it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Don’t worry it gets better.
  • Prepare mixture of virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 tbsp black pepper and fresh 1 tbsp fresh crushed garlic into a paste and rub the entire steak with it & the bone area with the rub, return to the rack, and let it sit for about 15 minutes
  • Preheat a conventional oven by preheating to 200˚F

How to Cook the Tomahawk Steak:

For conventional cooking the best method for this thick cut of meat is to first roast it at a low temperature. Reverse searing involves slow roasting the meat in a low temperature oven, to bring it to the desired internal temperature, and then finishing it with a quick sear on the grill or with a torch. The hotter the better, I like the torch.

Step-by-step for Reverse Searing Meat in the Oven:

  • Place the seasoned steak in a 200˚F oven, on a rack, over a baking sheet to catch any juices
  • Start preheating the grill to medium-high while the steak is in the oven or have that torch ready to sear.
  • Check the steak after about 30 minutes, but it will likely take closer to 40 minutes to cook
  • I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check internal temperature
  • Cook until the internal temperature reaches preferred doneness:
  • Rare = 120˚Fwhich is a cool bright red center and pinkish toward the outside
  • Medium Rare = 125˚Fwhich is a warm red center but still very pink and slightly brown toward the outside
  • Medium = 130˚Fwhich is a warm light pink center with outer portion brown
  • Anything further your on your own.
  • Remove the steak from the oven and move it directly to the grill or crank that torch fully and sear it to a golden-brown crispy color.
  • About 2-3 minutes on each side to lock in flavor and develop that crust
  • Allow the steak to rest for about 5-minutes uncovered before slicing. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time (also known as “carryover temperature”)

This steak will serve about 4 normal people or 2 hungry DADS! You decide. Cut the bone away from the steak and slice it from end to end against the grain. Serve it up with some caramelized onions and top with Butter and a light squeeze of lemon.

Place the meat onto a plank for the best effect