The Tomahawk Steak just might be the King of all Steaks. Let’s take a look a what this beauty is and how to grill it! This technique works great on either a gas or charcoal grill.
What is a Tomahawk Steak?
On one level a tomahawk is simply a ribeye steak that is still attached to the rib bone. The rib bone is pretty wide so you end up with a very thick cut steak. These steaks come from the Rib section on the steer and are prized for their combination of incredible flavor and tenderness.
Here is a great video that shows where this steak comes from and how it relates to the other ways of cutting rib steaks.
On a different level a tomahawk is a primal showpiece that, when grilled properly, can bring the house down.
When I pulled this out of the refrigerator my nearly vegetarian wife was amazed and wanted to know what that amazing steak was.
When I pulled this steak off the grill my formerly vegan daughter gave an audible gasp.
These steaks are expensive but if you want to put on a show then a Tomahawk is the way to go!
How to Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak
Although this steak looks massive and intimidating it is actually very simple to grill. The key is to keep things simple and don’t be in a hurry.
On a steak this thick the trick is to cook it evenly. We want the steak to be a uniform medium rare and the best way to accomplish this goal is to cook it gently with the Reverse Sear technique.
The Reverse Sear is a fancy way of saying that we are going to cook the steak at a low temperature until it is almost done and then we are going to finish it by searing it off at high heat.
Prepare the Tomahawk for the Grill
I started with a steak that was a little over two inches thick and weighed in at 3.5 pounds. It took about a little over three hours from when I took it out of the refrigerator to the time it was on the table. So yeah…take your time and it will all be good 🙂
Start by seasoning the steak liberally with salt and pepper. You want to use more seasoning than you are comfortable with since the steak is so thick and the interior isn’t getting any seasoning. Some folks prefer to simply salt their Tomahawk steaks before grilling so go with whatever you are comfortable with.
Let the steak rest at room temperature for at least one hour and preferably for 90 minutes. Don’t worry, the steak will not actually reach room temperature or start to go bad. You are just letting the steak warm up some so it will cook more evenly on the grill.
Set Up Your Grill
Set up your grill for Indirect Low Heat.
On a charcoal grill you would have a small pile of lit charcoal (about 30 briquettes) banked on the far side of the grill. On a gas grill you would have one burner on Medium and the rest turned off.
You will want the temperature at the grate to be in the 250-275F range.
Grill the Tomahawk with Low Indirect Heat
Place the steak on the cool side of the grill (away from the heat) and close the lid.
Let the steak slowly grill for an hour and then check the internal temperature. This one was at about 100F an the hour mark.
Flip the steak and allow it to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F (this took about 30 more minutes). It will start taking on some beautiful color!
Once the steak reaches 125F remove it from the grill and cover with Aluminum foil.
The steak is NOT done at this point. We are letting it rest for 10 minutes while we turn up the heat on the grill to scorching hot so we can put a beautiful sear on this bad boy.
Sear the Tomahawk Steak to Finish
I added fresh charcoal to my kettle, opened up all of the air vents and let my GrillGrate panels get up to about 500F.
If you are using a gas grill then turn all of your burners up to High and let that grill get as hot as it can.
Sear the steaks for about three minutes per side or until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 135F.
Once the steak reaches 135F (or your preferred level of doneness) remove it from the grill and stand back as your guests applaud your masterpiece!
Basting the sliced steak with melted butter is an optional, but wickedly amazing, finish.
Reverse Seared Tomahawk Steak: Thick Cut!
- 3 pounds Tomahawk Ribeye Steak
- 3 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper
- Allow to steak to rest, covered, at room temperature for one hour.
- Prepare your grill for low, indirect heat (250-275F)
- Place the steak on the cool, indirect side of the grill and cook for one hour.
- Flip the steak and cook for another 30 minutes or until an internal temperature of 125F is reached.
- Remove the steak from the grill and raise the temperature of the grill to High.
- Sear the steak for 2 minutes per side over direct high heat until an internal temperature of 130-135F is reached.
- Remove the steak from the grill, slice and then baste with melted butter.