Want to know all of the secrets to cooking a perfect tomahawk steak? You’ll be surprised at how easy it is! Learn how to make the best steak of your life, right in your own home.
This weekend was my husband's birthday and I surprised him with his favorite cut of steak ~ Tomahawk! I must say that I was a little intimated by this mammoth piece of meat, but I managed to cook it to perfection! The look of pure joy was evident of his face with every savoury bite!
What is a tomahawk steak
First, let’s talk about what it isn’t.
A tomahawk steak – also called a “cowboy ribeye” – isn’t an obscure cut of beef that’s particularly unique or special. It’s actually a very common cut (although arguably also one of the best) known as the bone-in ribeye. It’s very flavorful with incredible marbling throughout, which is why it’s widely considered one of the most delicious cuts of beef to order out or to cook at home.
A ribeye and a tomahawk have two distinct differences. On a bone-in ribeye, the bone is cut off so that the only bone present is surrounded by the actual cut of meat. On a tomahawk steak, that bone is left attached and cleaned for a french cut, making for a gorgeous presentation.
The second difference is that the tomahawk cut is typically much thicker than a ribeye. A ribeye is normally 1 – 1.5 inches thick whereas a tomahawk falls around 2 inches. This results in up to double meat per steak, and at least up to 50% more.
Tomahawk steak prices and where to buy
Some may say they're not cheap but in comparison to paying $110 at Ruth Chris if you master this recipe your saving roughly $70. Remember you’re mostly paying for the presentation, regardless whether you buy them to cook at home or order one at a restaurant. That said, they’re a luxurious cut of beef and might be worth the indulgence if you’re looking for something special and impressive. I purchased a 2.56 pound steak at Publix for $40.
How to make this tomahawk steak recipe
Hands down, the best way to cook a cowboy ribeye steak, or tomahawk, is to sear it on a cast iron skillet and then finish it in the oven. This is true for many cuts of beef, but especially this one.
There’s very little hand-on time which makes it a very easy recipe. First, you’ll want to remove the steaks from the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so they’re not completely cold when it's time to sear it.
Next, you’ll rub the steaks all over with olive oil (this will raise the temperature of the meat’s surface which will help it get a nice, even sear). Season the steaks very generously with a high-quality coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add a tablespoon of butter on the HOT cast iron skillet and sear the steaks for about 3-4 minutes on all four sides. Remove them from the pan, place them on a sheet pan, and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, as close to the center as you can get.
Place another tablespoon of butter on top and place the steam in the oven and cook them for about 30 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 130° F.
Tip: butter adds an extra richness and helps to soften the charred exterior of the steak making it more tender. You'll notice that I added butter 3 times during the process.
Remove the steaks from the oven, place them on a cutting board, tent them gently with aluminum foil, and allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Can you sear it on the grill instead of the stove?
Yes, absolutely! The main issue in prepreation is that these babies are pretty large with the bone extending out, whichever option you use you want to ensure that you have a large enough surface area to ensure you get a good sear. If you decide to go forth and use the stove, be sure you preheat your pan over high heat.
How to know when they’re done
The easiest and most accurate way to get them to the perfect doneness is to use an oven-safe meat thermometer. It’s crucial to consistent success.
Cooking tomahawk (or
hishihcowboy steak) to 130° F is my husband's preference, but of course you can cook it to your desired doneness if it happens to be different. Use this chart to help you decide on rare to well-done (although I don’t recommend anything more than medium at most). Here are the temperatures for each, keeping in mind that the temperature will rise another 5 degrees while its resting:
Well done 160°
2 Tomahawk steaks
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Compound Butter (aka butter packed with tons of herbs and seasonings), room temperature
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and leave them on the counter for 30 minutes.
About 15 minutes before you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350° F
Rub the steaks all over with olive oil in a thin layer. Season them really well with a high-quality coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper (coarse pepper is best).
Place the steaks on the cast iron skillet. Cook them for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until both sides have a good sear.
Remove the steaks from the pan and place them on a large sheet pan. Put them in the oven and cook them for about 30 minutes (this will vary depending on the size and thickness of the steaks), or until they reach an internal temperature of 130° F (keep in mind that they'll continue cooking after removing them from the heat so the temperature will still raise somewhat). It's highly recommended to use an oven-safe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak prior to going into the oven.
Remove the steaks from the oven, place them on a cutting board, tent them gently with foil, and allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Serve immediately after resting, or top with compound butter before serving.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Pair it with your favorite scotch and make it a memorable date night that you'll forever treasure.
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