Tomahawk steak is meant for reverse searing on the grill. It will ensure the a juicy, tender steak every time. Every bite is sheer perfection!
Learning the reverse sear method to cook a tomahawk steak is a right of passage for all serious grill enthusiasts. It’s super easy to cook so do not be intimidated by that ginormous hunk of beef!
If you ever watched The Flintstones as a kid you probably remember Fred ordering giant steaks that tipped his car over. That is always what I envision when someone mentions a tomahawk ribeye steak. And you’re now singing The Flintstones theme song, aren’t you? My bad!
What is a Tomahawk Steak
- The tomahawk steak is basically a bone-in ribeye, some butchers call it a tomahawk chop.
- It is very well marbled which is perfect for grilling and eating.
- The bone is still attached to the meat. Kinda like a long handle. That is known as “Frenched”. You’ve likely seen a rack of lamb. This is essentially the same thing, only it’s ginormous!
- They are typically 2 inches thick. The thickness is determined by the size of the rib bone.
- These huge steaks are very expensive. They will set you back a pretty penny but they are well worth it!
Ways to Cook a Tomahawk Steak
- Be sure to remove the steak from the refrigerator about one hour prior to cooking. Having it at, or close to, room temperature is important to the grilling process.
- You can reverse sear it on the grill. That is the method I’ll be teaching you in this post. I did mine on my Traeger pellet grill.
- Or you can do a traditional sear on the grill, then cook them slowly over low temperature on any type of grill.
- Grilling them on a charcoal grill with indirect heat is an amazing technique if you don’t have a pellet grill. I’ll be sharing a post using that technique next week.
- You can sear it in a cast iron pan on the stove for a perfect crust, then cook it in the oven.
- Another option is sous vide if you dig cooking that way.
- However you cook it be sure to use a thermapen or any instant-read thermometer is crucial so you hit your target temp. Medium-rare or medium-well are both good options, depending on how you like your steak. Pay less attention to total time and more to internal temperatures when grilling.
How to Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak
- Reverse searing is perfect for this thick cut of beef.
- You start by cooking it on a low temperature then once your steak reaches the desired internal temperature you will remove the steak from the grill and crank the heat up.
- Cover your steak with foil and let it rest while the grill reaches the temperature you need to sear the meat.
- Once the grill has reached 450 degrees F it is time to slap that sucker back on the grill. You have two options: you can put the steak right on the grill or you can use a cast iron pan.
Approximately How Long Do I Cook It
- For reverse sear, use a meat thermometer and pay more attention to that than time. Considering the size and cost of the meat you want to be sure you pay close attention to details. Otherwise you will ruin a very expensive piece of meat.
- You can use any grill, but I used my Traeger pellet grill. Fire up your grill, then set the temperature gauge to 225 degrees F. Once the grill hit 225 degrees F, put a meat probe in it and toss the steak on the grill, and close the lid. Leave the steak undisturbed for about 45 minutes, or slightly more. You are going for an internal temperature range of 115-120, depending on how you like your steak. Mine was cooked to 115 degrees F.
- Then you want to remove the steak from the grill and tent it with foil while you ramp up the temperature. Once the temperature hits about 450 degrees F you are going to sear the steak. This can be done right on the grill or you can use a cast iron pan. I actually did one side seared directly on the grill and the other side on a cast iron pan. I wanted to see the difference. Honestly, we loved both sides. The pros for cooking on the grates are grill marks if you’re into that. It also means less dishes to do after you’re done eating. The pros for cooking it on a cast iron pan is an even sear. The entire surface will be a golden brown colour which is nice for consistent flavour.
Where to Buy a Tomahawk Steak
- Costco is a great option. They have regular tomahawk steak and sometime they have Wagyu. If you buy Wagyu it will cost a fortune.
- You can also buy them at any local butcher. Call ahead so they have time to trim them for you if they don’t have any already done.
- You can order online from places like Snake River Farms, or Omaha Steaks.
How Do I Store Steak Prior to Grilling
- Store in the fridge until you’re ready for it. Then take it out an hour prior to cooking. Do NOT cook while it’s still cold from the fridge.
Storing Steak After Grilling
- Put any leftovers in an air tight container and put that in the fridge. It will last for up to 2 days. Although, I highly doubt you will have leftovers.
- Glass containers are my preferred storage for meat. It just seems more sanitary than plastic. That said, you do you, man!
What Can I Do with Leftovers
- I’m not even sure if this is a question I should answer because the likelihood of having leftovers is slim. If you do happen to have any leftovers you can a few different things with them.
- Make a salad loaded with veggies and meat.
- You could make a sandwich out of it and pile it high with veggies, maybe even a little cheese so it resembles a cheesesteak.
- Cut into small pieces and top them on crostini with garlic and balsamic vinegar or aioli.
Recipes to Serve with Steak
- Grilled Smashed Potatoes
- Skillet Asparagus in Brown Butter and Shallots
- Grilled Spicy Cauliflower Steaks
- Charred Skillet Corn with Bacon
- Grilled Potatoes with Garlic and Chipotle Spice
Now let’s get on with the full recipe!
Places to stalk Kiss My Smoke!
How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak
- Pull your tomahawk steak out of the refrigerator 1 hour prior to grilling. Set aside on counter.
- Preheat your grill to 225 degrees F. I used my Traeger for this recipe but any grill will suffice.
- Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt. I don't like black pepper but feel free to use it if you do. If you do want pepper on it I suggest waiting till you slice it after it's cooked.
- Transfer the tomahawk steak to the preheated grill. Put it on the grates and insert your meat probe. Close the lid and leave the steak on the grill, undisturbed until it reaches an internal temperature of about 115 - 120 degrees F. In theory this should take about 45 to 55 minutes, but every grill is different. That is why a meat thermometer is so important when grilling.
- Remove the steak from the grill and place it on a plate or cutting board. Tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes or so.
- While the steak is resting, crank your grill up to about 450 degrees F.
- Side note: At this time you should decide if you're going to sear the steak in a cast iron pan or directly on the grill grates. I did one side of mine in a cast iron pan and the other side directly on the grill to see if I noticed a huge difference. I didn't. Both sides were delicious!
- Place the steak on the grill directly or in a cast iron pan on the grill and sear all sides for about 1 minute or so. More if you like more char.
- Remove the steak from the grill and place it on a cutting board.
- In a small pan, warm up the butter on the grill. A cast iron pan works perfectly. Once the butter bubbles toss in the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, or until garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from grill carefully.
- You can leave the garlic in the butter or strain the pieces out. Either way works.
- Carve the steak then pour butter over top.
Now be confident and get your grill on!