Grilling a Tomahawk Steak to Perfection

grilled tomahawk steak
seared 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

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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