Tomahawk Steak is one of the most delicious pieces of beef you’ll ever have the privilege of eating. Using a reverse sear method, it’s slow smoked then seared for a perfectly pink and tender steak. Check out the post below, and I’ll teach you how to cook a tomahawk steak like a total pro.
This tomahawk steak is an awesome cut of meat that every BBQer should cook up at least once. Not only does it taste amazing, but it looks incredible too. While there are a variety of methods for cooking tomahawk steak, I prefer to reverse sear my steak.
If you’re wanting a simply seasoned tomahawk steak, go ahead and use a mix of kosher salt and cracked black pepper on it (this will always be a favorite of mine). But if you’re feeling adventurous, give my Signature Beef Seasoning a try. This seasoning has a salt and pepper base that is perfect on beef. You can buy it straight from Patio Provisions, and it’ll make this steak taste amazing.
If you don’t have any of my Beef Seasoning on hand, you can also make your own Homemade Steak Rub. This steak rub was eaten on some wicked delicious reverse seared rib eyes during the infamous Steak and Cake celebration when I broke my first Guinness World Record! No matter what you use to season, remember to be liberal. Tomahawk steaks are notoriously thick, and you’ll need enough seasoning to account for that big cut of beef.
What is a Tomahawk Steak?
A tomahawk steak is a piece of tender rib meat (also known as a rib eye steak) that hasn’t been fully removed from the bone. In fact, the rib bone is left almost fully intact and still attached to the meat! Rib eyes are one of my favorite steaks to grill, and while the long bone doesn’t add anything in terms of flavor, it looks amazingly awesome and makes for a stunning presentation.
Oftentimes, butchers will cut the tomahawk steaks generously thick with the bone still attached. Some people scoff at paying for the bone, but to justify the additional cost, I like to split the smoked bone and use it to make delicious bone broth. Then I have a highly nutritious broth I can consume later or use to make soup.
Where to Buy Tomahawk Steak
To get your hands on one of these behemoth beauties, you may need to do a little searching. I am lucky to have a grocery store, a butcher, and a Costco nearby that all carry tomahawk steaks. The grocery store has them pre-cut in the butcher’s case, Costco has them sliced, packaged, and ready to go, but my favorite place by far is to get them from my butcher. He will cut one for me from the center of the rack (with the biggest spinalis muscle on top for the best flavor) and as thick as I like.
Once you have a place where you can get a tomahawk steak, here’s what else you need to look for:
Color- Look for steaks that are bright red with no dark or brownish spots. The lights in the meat case are designed to make meat look better. Pull your steak out of the case or away from the others and look at them in the regular light. If your butcher is cutting them for you, you should have an amazingly fresh product.
Marbling- Marbling is the amount of fat laced throughout your meat. You may be trained to think that fat is bad, but you gotta change your state of mind, my friend. The marbled fat in a steak means flavor. Yummy, delicious, melt in your mouth flavor. For rib-eye steaks, I always try and pick a steak with a large spinalis muscle on the top part of the steak and a well-marbled eye in the center.
Cooking Tomahawk Rib Eye Steak
I like to reverse sear my tomahawk rib eye steaks. To reverse sear, the tomahawk steak is cooked at a lower temperature on the smoker while the meat slowly comes up in temperature. Using a meat thermometer to test for internal temperature, the steak is removed from the grill about 10-15 degrees from desired doneness. The grill is then cranked up to high or a cast iron skillet is preheated. The steaks are returned to the smoking hot grill or skillet and quickly seared on each side for a perfectly charred finish.
This method ensures that the inside of the tomahawk steak is perfectly cooked to your desired doneness from top to bottom opposed to having dry edges on the outside and a raw hunk of meat in the middle (or worst case scenario, dry and charred all the way through.) The most important thing to perfecting this method is having a quick read internal thermometer. I have a Thermoworks MK4 and I use it to get the perfect steaks every time. For an additional visual aid, make sure you watch the video below the recipe card.
How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak
Here’s the 411 on cooking a tomahawk steak using a reverse sear. It’s relatively easy, and allows these thick steaks to cook evenly.
- Allow steaks to come up in temp. Remove the steak from the fridge 2 hours before you plan to cook it to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F. I love the way smoking with oak enhances the rich flavors in this steak.
- Season the steak! Season liberally on all sides with Beef Seasoning or salt and pepper. Press or pat the seasoning into the meat.
- Get smoking! Place the tomahawk steak directly on the grill grates and close the lid. Using a reliable meat thermometer, smoke until the internal temp of the steak reaches 115 degrees F.
- Prep for the sear. Preheat a cast iron skillet over high heat (or turn your grill on High). Drop butter into the skillet and allow it to melt and bubble. (If searing on your grill, brush each side of the tomahawk steak with butter).
- Sear the tomahawk steak. Place the steak directly in the hot pan or on the hot grill and sear each side for 2-3 minute until the internal temperature of the steak reaches your preferred doneness (Medium rare is to die for with this tomahawk steak).
- Rest, slice, and enjoy! Let the steaks rest for 10-15 minutes. Then slice, serve, and enjoy! This guy is gonna taste mmm mmm good!
While I like my tomahawk steak at medium rare, you can pull your steak at 125 degrees F for rare, 135 degrees F for medium rare, 145 degrees F for medium, 155 degrees for medium well, or 160 for well done.
More Steak Recipes
If you loved this tomahawk steak recipe, you’ll love these other great steak recipes from Hey Grill Hey:
Tomahawk Steak Recipe
This recipe was created for you, backyard griller! Here at Hey Grill Hey, we’re in the business of helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes here on my website (browse the Homepage for inspiration) on Instagram, YouTube or our Facebook Page.
Reverse Seared Tomahawk Steak
- 1 2 1/2-3 pound Tomahawk steak
- Hey Grill Hey Signature Beef Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salted butter melted
- 2 pads salted butter
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator approximately 2 hours before cooking to allow to come to room temperature.
- Preheat your grill or smoker to 225 degrees F. I used oak wood for this steak because I wanted a pronounced smoke flavor, but more mild woods like hickory or alder work great too.
- Season your steak liberally on all sides with the Signature Beef Rub (or with salt and pepper). Make sure to press the seasonings into the meat with your hand opposed to just sprinkling them on.
- Place the steak on the grill grate and close the lid. Cook the steaks at 225 degrees F until the internal temperature reaches 115 degrees F (approximately 1 hour for Medium rare). Use an internal thermometer to check the temperature.
- Remove the steak from the grill to a separate plate. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Drop the butter into the pan and when it's melted and bubbling, it's time to sear the steaks. If you're searing at a higher heat on your grill, brush each side of your steak with melted butter.
- Place the tomahawk steak in the hot pan or on to the grill and sear each side for approximately 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness. Pull your steak at 125 degrees F for rare, 135 degrees F for medium rare, 145 degrees F for medium, 155 degrees for medium well, or 160 for well done (but please just give this one a go at medium rare... it really is the best).
- Let the steaks rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and eating.