Home Grilling a Tomahawk Steak to Perfection

Grilling a Tomahawk Steak to Perfection

by Brad Prose

This post is sponsored by Omaha Steaks. All opinions are my own.

seared tomahawk steak

The current king of ribeyes, the Tomahawk Steak.

The Tomahawk Steak. The reigning king of all steaks according to TV shows, social media, and restaurants.  This steak is not just a bone-in ribeye, but truly a showpiece for any dinner table whether you’re eating out or at home.  It’s incredible size makes it difficult to cook perfectly to temp, but allows opportunities for layers of flavor.

I’m going to discuss my “non-recipe”for grilling a tomahawk steak to perfection (psst it’s medium-rare).  What’s a non-recipe you ask?  Well well, it’s simply a guide for achieving the results you desire without having to completely adhere to rules to ensure success.

What should you be expecting when eating this?

The outside of it should have a flavorful crust as you first crunch into it. Rendered fat should be squirting flavors on to your taste buds, priming you for what’s to come next.  The smokey and charcoal aromas will start to waft into your nose.  As you continue to bite you’ll notice that the texture is incredible soft, almost no resistance and full of intense beef flavors.  You will chew with little effort, and the salts will pop in your mouth creating tiny pockets of explosive flavor that magically enhances what you already think is the best experience.  It’s epic.

tomahawk steak seasoning

Quality matters.

Look, tomahawk steaks aren’t cheap and we all know it. They are a luxury item, meant to be shared with a few people. You should make sure that if you are purchasing one, you’re getting the highest quality possible. It’s absolutely worth it if you can get one that’s either wet or dry-aged as well. Expect to pay between $45-130 per steak depending on where you purchase it, the quality of the beef, and how it’s aged. The images shown are wet-aged tomahawk steaks provided from Omaha Steaks, and they were extremely delicious.

What do I need to cook this?

My preferred method is reverse-searing, which you can accomplish in an oven, grill or smoker as long as you can control the ambient temperature.  Low and slow first allows for the steak to have an even temperature completely throughout.  This is critical when cooking much thicker pieces such as a tomahawk steak.

For a guide to reverse-searing a temperatures, check out my Guide HERE.

  1. You’ll need a heat source: Oven, offset grill, or smoker.
  2. You’ll need the ability to sear it: Skillet and/or grill are preferred.

The Game Plan:

NOTES: I’m cooking my steak to a medium-rare. Please pay attention and make adjustments as needed.

Step 1: Salt the meat ahead of time, at least 30 minutes up to overnight in the fridge. This will greatly enhance the overall flavor. I use ½ teaspoon of kosher salt per every 1 pound of meat as a general rule of thumb.

Step 2: Season, and don’t be afraid to go heavy if you like that. This particular cut can be 2″- 3″ thick, weighing in around 28-36 oz.  I’ve seen people completely crust theirs in seasonings so thick you can’t see the meat – that is a bit unnecessary. I prefer coarse seasoning  for a really nice crust. I used:

  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp whole pink peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme. Fresh is a must.

Step 3: Reverse-sear. I smoke mine at 225°F  until the internal temp is at 115°F .  Using this guide (see Section 3) it allows me to pinpoint the end temperature.  This process take at least an hour and I flip halfway through.

Step 4: Rest. This is very important and your main resting stage.  Besides, you need this time to crank up the grill to 450°F + for the upcoming sear.

Step 5: Sear. Place the tomahawk on the grill (or skillet) and sear on each side for about 2 minutes, flipping frequently.

Once you have a crust established, gently baste the seared side each time you flip with melted butter, preferably using an herb brush. This is an additional level of flavor, but more importantly it helps to control the momentum.  You don’t want the sear to be too intense too fast, or it will overcook on the outside before you reach internal temps.  Continue to sear, flip, baste until it reaches your preferred internal temp ( 130-135°F for medium-rare).

Step 6: Rest briefly, slice, and finish with salt.  Trust me your steak won’t be too salty.  I mix sea salt with lemon zest and additional fresh thyme.

seared tomahawk steak
grilled tomahawk steak

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