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How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak

How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak. In Depth Guide and Tips to Cook a Perfect Tomahawk Steak

If you’ve never cooked a Tomahawk steak because you’re unsure of how to grill it correctly, you’re missing out. It’s not that difficult either, as we’ll show you and it is an amazing cut of beef to grill.

When you talk with beef cooking experts, most of them will turn to their grills to prepare a Tomahawk steak. They also usually opt for the reverse sear method, since it helps with taste, as well as ensuring the meat is cooked correctly, inside and out. However, you can also use your oven and stove in your kitchen to still get an impressive meal.

If you’ve had some mishaps with a Tomahawk steak in the past, it could be because you misjudged the effect its thickness has on the cooking process. For such a thick piece of meat, you do need to follow a process that ensures the inside of the beef steak won’t be too rare.

In most cases, you’ll find experts cook a Tomahawk steak to medium-rare but of course, you can make it to your liking. We’ll cover various methods from how to cook a cowboy steak in the oven, to using the outside grill with coals. Our other tips and topics will help you cook this unique beef cut like a pro next time.


Tomahawk Steak

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What is a Tomahawk Steak?

In essence, this piece of meat is a ribeye steak but a Tomahawk steak is unique both in how it looks and how it tastes. To a large extent, this is thanks to the piece of rib bone left on the steak. This gives it a signature shape and this will also affect its flavor.

The bone can extend as far as eight inches although some butchers will leave it as long as 18 inches. Just remember that if the bone is too long it may not fit in your grill or oven. Rather ask them to cut it down if necessary.

Ideally, your Tomahawk steak is at least two inches thick, which requires the right cooking method to prevent the center from being too rare or the outside of the beefsteak from being overcooked.

The bone is usually French trimmed. This means the bone and the fat will be trimmed until it resembles a handle.

The unique trimming technique as well as a large amount of bone means you’ll pay a little more per pound for this cut than many others.

Where to Buy a Tomahawk Steak?

Most likely you will be able to find a decent Tomahawk steak by your butcher or by some grocery stores in your area. If you want to stretch the options, we suggest checking out the online stores that supply prime meat. We personally recommend Snake River Farms. SRF is a family owned business and has been producing quality meat for more than fifty years. They have built their reputation for the highest quality meat they produce. When it comes to Tomahawk, we have tried these two ones that we recommend:

What is the Best Way to Cook a Tomahawk Steak?

Do a quick online search and you’ll quickly see grilling is the preferred method for cooking this type of ribeye meat. Some may feel the kitchen appliances give you more control over your cooking, but if you know-how, the grill method is easy. When you use the reverse sear method, it also creates more controllable aspects to help you get the steak just right. It is the same as if you were grilling a Porterhouse or a T-Bone steak.

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The added benefit of using the charcoal grill is the exceptional flavor that comes from cooking over coals. For this type of steak where you want to make the most of the fat and the flavor coming from the bone, grilling is the tastiest alternative.

How Do You Cook a Tomahawk Steak on a Gas Grill?

Preparing to Grill a Tomahawk Steak on the Grill

The first step when learning how to grill a Tomahawk steak on a gas grill is the preparation:

  • Preparing the meat: A recipe for cooking this cut of beef is simple and you don’t need many ingredients. Although this ribeye steak will have its own flavor, it’s best to add additional seasoning. You should do this at least an hour before you start cooking, but even as long as the night before. Take salt and pepper and simply sprinkle it onto the meat. Then wrap the meat in plastic and place it in the fridge until you heat up your gas grill. If you hold the steak by the bone and see the meat sags excessively, this is good news. It simply means the fibers are starting to break. However, you don’t want the meat coming apart on the grill, so you can wrap twine around the outside and secure it with a knot.
  • Preparing the grill: The best option of how to properly grill a Tomahawk steak is to use the reverse sear method, which you’ll see in detail below. For this, you’ll need two sections in your grill, one with direct heat and an area with indirect grilling heat. Heat up the grill and make sure it’s very hot, around 225°

The Reverse Sear Tomahawk Steak Gas Grill Method

Many people are used to first searing meat before cooking it through, but with a thick piece of meat, the opposite actually works better. This is where the Tomahawk steak reverse sear method is so valuable.

First, place the steak in an area with indirect heat. This is enough to slowly cook the meat, so you have a more even coloring on the inside. Turn it often but grill it with the lid closed, creating an environment similar to the oven.

When your cooking thermometer tells you the meat is around 115°F, it’s time to move it to the direct heat. Here you have the option of brushing the sides with melted butter. This will add even more flavor.

Now place the steak on the grill’s direct heat for a maximum of three minutes on each side. You can measure the internal temperature again and if you want medium rare, don’t let it go above 135°F.

You can ensure all the juices redistribute effectively by letting your steak rest for about 10 minutes before you cut it. Just know, once you smell those flavors, it will be very difficult not to start eating straight away.

If it all still seems a little overwhelming or if you simply want some inspiration before you start, this video of Guy Fieri taking on a Tomahawk steak with his usual passion will do the trick.



How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak on a Charcoal Grill with Coals

If you prefer using a charcoal grill, the process will be very similar to using a gas version. You’ll heat up your coals for optimum temperatures, but then pull the coals to one side. Now you’ll have an area providing direct heat while you’ll have indirect heat on the other.

The steps will be as follows:

  • Start by placing the steak on the side without the coals. The bone side can face the direct heat.
  • Cook the steak with a closed lid but flip the meat often.
  • Use a thermometer to measure the heat inside the thickest part of the meat. Similar to the grilling method shown above, when it rises to about 115°F you can take it off. Usually, for a medium-rare steak, this part can take around one hour.
  • Rest the meat for a few minutes while wrapped in foil.
  • Place the meat on the grill over the goals so the direct heat will help sear the meat. This will take around 5 minutes.

Handy tip: you can add even more flavor to your Tomahawk steak when you use a charcoal grill. Add the right type of wood to the fire, for example, a piece of wood that will give off fruity flavors. Experiment with different types to find your favorite.

How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak Without a Grill

Don’t fear if you don’t have a gas or charcoal grill available. Once you know what’s important is how to grill a Tomahawk ribeye steak correctly, you can do it elsewhere too, even in your kitchen.

You can get the perfect results by searing before or after cooking. Try different techniques to see which method results in the taste you prefer.

Cook Tomahawk Steak in the oven

How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak in the Oven

With no grill on hand, you’ll simply make use of your oven and stove. The results will be as impressive if you follow these steps:

  • Season the meat.
  • Heat up your oven to a high temperature of 275°
  • Place the steak on a baking tray inside the oven.
  • Check the temperature regularly so you know when it reaches an internal level that suits your taste. (We’ll share details about the right temperature for the right doneness below.)
  • You can remove the steak and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes. The benefit of letting it rest before you sear it is that you’ll be able to eat it as soon as you’re done with the searing.
  • Place a cast-iron skillet on the stove, on high heat.
  • You can add some more seasoning to each side.
  • Place the steak in the pan and leave it for a minute on each side. This should be enough to create the crust you’re after.

How Long Do You Cook a Tomahawk Steak in the Oven?

Remember, the resting and searing processes will also allow the meat to cook further, so don’t overcook the meat in the oven.

There’s no standard time for cooking since you’ll need to customize the cooking time according to how well done you like your meat. This shows the importance of having a meat thermometer on hand. You should test the interior temperature every few minutes.

Handy Heat Guidelines

Rather than trying to find the perfect time, use these temperature tips to determine when your meat is ready:

  • A rare steak is usually around 125°F
  • For medium-rare you want a reading of 130°F
  • Your medium steak will be ready at 140°F
  • When you like it medium-well done, aim for 150°F
  • If you’re wondering how to grill a Tomahawk steak well done, it should usually have an internal temperature of 160°F

Remember, this is the final temperature you’re aiming for. Therefore, take it out of the oven when it’s a few degrees below the target temperature. For example, some who like a medium-rare steak may take it out of the oven at around 100°F or 115°F before searing it.

It’s up to you how you like your meat, but it’s worth trying a Tomahawk steak that’s cooked only to medium-rare. You can look forward to a juicy, flavorful piece of meat that melts in your mouth.

How to Cook a Thick Tomahawk Steak Using a Grill and the Oven

Get the best of both worlds by using both your grill and your oven when cooking a Tomahawk steak. For this method, we’ll share how you can use traditional searing.

Start by firing up your grill to its highest possible heat. While you’re busy outside, switch on the oven so it preheats to around 375°F.  

As with grilling, season your meat with some salt and pepper. Don’t forget to also season the sides, not just the top and bottom.

When your grill is ready, sear the steak on each side. About four minutes on each side should work perfectly. A handy trick is to flip it when the steak comes off the grill easily. This is usually proof of a good sear.

Now transfer your steak to a baking tray and place it in the over. Remember to use a cooking thermometer to monitor the interior temperature.

Final Thoughts on Cooking a Piece of Tomahawk Ribeye Meat

A Tomahawk ribeye steak is famous for a good reason. It can be one of the most flavorful meals you’ll have thanks to the marrow, pieces of fat, and the crust from a good sear. But you do need a proper technique to get it right when cooking such a thick piece of meat.

Use our reverse sear cooking method on the grill or simply do it in your kitchen in the oven. Use the equipment that you feel comfortable cooking with and enjoy your own restaurant-style Tomahawk steaks.

Our last tip: pick wisely when you buy your steak, because the quality of the meat plays an important part in the outcome of your dinner.

Happy grilling everyone!

How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak. In Depth Guide and Tips to Cook a Perfect Tomahawk Steak