Grilling Guide

How to Cook the Perfect Tomahawk Steak

Not sure how to cook a tomahawk steak for the best results? The good news is that there are a few ways to cook this cut of beef, including in a cast-iron pan, the oven and on the grill. Be sure your steak is completely thawed and pick the method you like best! Here’s some other steak grilling tips.

A tomahawk steak comes from the rib section and is a bone-in version of the ribeye. The butcher carves each tomahawk steak in a way that leaves the large rib bone intact, with about two inches of steak thickness surrounding the end of the bone. These cuts usually come from the larger rib bones and weigh 36 to 60 ounces. Well-marbled, buttery, beefy, and expensive, so you don’t want to mess it up.

On the Grill

A charcoal grill is probably one of the most beloved pieces of equipment for steak. For the tomahawk, a charcoal grill provides just the right amount of smoky flavor as you cook the ribeye steak to your desired doneness. A gas grill will work just as well.

You can brush a little olive oil on both sides of the steak before placing it on the grill to prevent sticking. Sprinkle plenty of kosher salt and pepper on all sides. Sear both sides for 1-2 minutes over direct heat. Then move to a grill grate with indirect heat to finish cooking.

For the perfect medium-rare Tomahawk Steak, grill for 18-20 minutes for a 2-inch steak, turning about 1 minute before the halfway point. A meat thermometer should read 130°F.

Rest your steaks for five minutes before serving, cover lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time.  The final temperature will read 135°F. Resting steak is important because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface; if you slice into it immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your steak. Allowing your steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.

Pan-Searing with Oven Finish

Pan-searing is best when you’re on a time crunch. You can do a lot of the cooking in just a few minutes in your cast-iron skillet. This method will give you excellent results, with a sear that will give your steaks a rich golden-brown color and enhanced flavor.

Season with desired steak seasoning. Add butter to a cast-iron skillet and heat to medium-high. Sear each side for 4-5 minutes, or until a rich, golden-brown crust forms. Wrap the tomahawk steak in aluminum foil and finish cooking in a 425º preheated oven.

For the perfect medium-rare steak, bake for 12-14 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 130°F. Then rest the steaks for 5 minutes before serving. Final temperature should read 135°F.

Reverse Searing in Oven

Preheat oven to 275°F. Place steaks on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the center rack of the hot oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches 10°F lower than the desired final temperature.

Remove and let steaks rest for 5 minutes, covering lightly with foil. Preheat cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. A hot skillet delivers the best sear, giving steaks the rich golden brown color and enhanced flavor that is typically associated with grilled steaks.

Add some butter or oil and sear steaks for one minute each side. The final internal temperature of your steak should be 135°F for medium-rare and 145°F for medium.

Serve immediately. Unlike other methods of cooking steak, the low heat of the oven used in reverse searing does not draw the juices of the meat to the surface so additional resting time is not needed.

Reverse Searing on the Grill

An hour before grilling, generously season steak on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper or your favorite steak rub.

Set up smoker or grill for indirect grilling. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean, oil it well with vegetable oil, and heat to 250º. Arrange the steak on the hot grate. Turn every 10 minutes.

After 45 to 50 minutes, check the internal temperature. When the steak reaches 115º, transfer to a wire rack set over a rimmed sheet pan. Replenish the coals and heat the grill to high.  Place the steak on the grill grate and sear for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until it develops nice caramelization and grill marks. For medium-rare, you want a temperature of 130 º. Slice the steak off the bone on a sharp diagonal. Serve immediately.

No matter what cooking method you choose for your tomahawk, be sure to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature before removing it from the grill. Then, let the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes away from heat to allow it to finish cooking and redistribute juices throughout the meat.

Tailgater Magazine