Have you ever been at a restaurant and saw something on the menu that you felt wouldn’t be feasible to make at home? It could be because it seemed too difficult or that you would need special equipment. For me, that was always the tomahawk steak. It seemed too big and intimidating (especially with a hefty price tag) to try and tackle at home. Until one day, I saw them being sold at my local Whole Foods. It was then that I decided it was time to give it a shot, and I realized that these can easily be made at home. For a fraction of the price that you would pay at a restaurant too.
What is a tomahawk steak
Tomahawk steaks are basically bone-in ribeye steaks with at least five inches of bone left intact. This is the reason for the steaks signature look, and hence, the name tomahawk. These steaks are typically thick cut, making it perfect for sharing between people.
As we do with so many steaks, I highly recommend dry brining your tomahawks (see our Dry Brine Steaks recipe for full details). The night before you are going to cook your tomahawk, lightly coat each side with a binder like mustard. Then generously season all over with our Open Fire BPS rub. Put the steaks on a rack with a tray under it, and put it in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight. You could dry brine it like this for up to 48 hours.
Reverse sear is the way to go
As we do with many steaks that we cook, tomahawks are better off being reverse seared. This means that the steak should be cooked at a lower temperature before being quickly seared at the end to build a nice crust. My rule of thumb is that bigger/thicker cuts of meat are better off being cooked low and slow while smaller cuts of meat do better when cooked hot and fast. If you were to cook the tomahawks hot and fast, the outsides would overcook, while the inside would be undercooked. These steaks are just too thick!
The cooking process
Cook the tomahawk over indirect heat in a grill that’s around 275ºF. When an internal temperature of 125ºF (for medium rare) is reached, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes. While the steak is resting, crank the heat to 550ºF-600ºF+. We want the grill really hot for when we sear the tomahawks to get a delicious crust. When the grill reaches temperature, sear each side for about 1 minute (or until the crust is to your liking). Once the crust has been built, remove the steak and get ready to slice. Optional but recommended: add some butter on top of the tomahawks when they’re resting and let it melt over it.
Slice and enjoy
When it’s time to slice the tomahawk, I recommend cutting it off the bone and then cut it into serving slices. That’s all there is to cooking your own tomahawk. It’s really like cooking any other steak except that it’s bigger and, therefore, a bit more time consuming. You can get that same amazing taste that you would at a restaurant but for a fraction of the price. Go get yourself a tomahawk and give this recipe a shot. I think you’ll be surprised at what you’re able to pull off.
Grilled Tomahawk Steak
- 1.5-2 lb Tomahawk steak
- Mustard or oil as a binder
- Open Fire BPS Rub to taste
- 1 tbsp Butter optional
- No less than overnight and up to 48 hours before you are going to cook the tomahawk steak, apply a thin layer of mustard or oil all over your tomahawk. Generously season your tomahawk all over with the Open Fire BPS Rub and put it on a rack with a tray under it so that air can flow through on all sides of the steak. Put in the refrigerator, uncovered, until ready to cook.
- When ready to cook, remove your tomahawk from the refrigerator for 1 hour to begin to bring to room temperature. Preheat your grill to 275ºF degrees and set it up for indirect cooking.
- Once your grill has reached temperature, add the tomahawk (away from the direct heat) and allow it to cook until an internal temperature of 125ºF degrees (or to the doneness of your liking). Remove the tomahawk from the grill and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes.
- While the tomahawk is resting, boost your grill's temperature to 550ºF-600ºF+. Add the tomahawk to the heated grill and sear each side for about one minute. If you are not satisfied with the crust after searing for one minute, continue to sear until your liking. Remove from the heat once done
- Allow the tomahawk to rest another few minutes before slicing. Add some butter on top while it's resting so that the butter will melt into it. Cut the meat off the bone and cut into serving slices. Serve immediately and enjoy.