Tomahawk Steak: Your Ultimate Guide for this Ultimate Cut!

raw tomahawk steak

Tomahawk steak: what are they? Many have heard the name without knowing what it actually means. Recently, Tomahawk steaks have gained popularity as people realize they’re a great cut and the extra flavour makes their cost worthwhile, especially for special occasions. Here you’ll learn how to prepare and enjoy this legendary cut of beef!

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dry aged raw rib of beef

What part of the cow does the Tomahawk come from?

Tomahawk steak gains its name from the fact it looks like a tomahawk single-handed axe. They are a ribeye cut, but unlike a traditional ribeye, Tomahawk steak keeps the bone. For this reason, they’re sometimes called “bone-in ribeye”. Like all ribeye steak, a Tomahawk takes meat from the rib primal of the cow, an area known for the extra flavor because of its unique combination of fat and muscle. 

The rib bone is left in on one side and is often used as a handle for both cooking and eating the steak itself. Talk about primal! Whether or not the bone actually adds more flavor is up to the consumer, but you can’t deny the simplicity of cooking and eating when you have something to grab onto.

Like all steaks, you can expect to see many alternate recipes both online and in restaurants. Beef.com plans to publish a series of articles about unique steak recipes you won’t find anywhere else. There are certainly strong opinions about how and with which seasoning a steak should be cooked–ignore the hype and find out what works best for you!

These steaks are usually fairly thick, with 2 inches being the average minimum height. If they are cooked solely on a grill, they will also be crunchy and crusty on the outside. Some may prefer to start them in an oven, to prevent the outside from getting too tough while the inside cooks, then finish them on a grill for the seared, smokey finish. Of course, different preparations will always make the taste and texture slightly different, so try different methods, or stick the one you know best.

tomahawk steak from snake river farms
Dry-Aged USDA Prime Tomahawk Rib Steak, 24 oz. – $85.00

from: Snake River Farms

How much does a Tomahawk steak cost?

Tomahawk steaks are not known for being cheap! For that reason they are typically considered as something exclusive to mark a significant occasion. Try the mychicagosteak.com two-pack of Premium Angus Beef Wet Aged Tomahawk ($169.95 on sale) or the Snake River Farms Dry-Aged USDA Prime Tomahawk ($85). No doubt these can get pricey, but they’re worth it.

The same can be said for restaurants: many of them will price up these steaks due to the difficulty involved in preparing them, though the price is more than justified if the meal represents a significant milestone. Plus, instead of the hassle prepping and cooking, you can just sit back with a cold beer or wine, enjoying company while the restaurant takes care of all the grunt work!

cut bone-in ribeye (tomahawk) steak on cutting board

How are Tomahawk steaks cooked?

While there are a lot of Tomahawk steak recipes you can try, the best way to make your Tomahawk steak perfect is to grill it.

The first step is getting your steak to room temperature, so make sure you give them enough time to thaw out if they’ve been frozen. Then, ignite your burner or start warming up your grill to bring the cooking surface up to temperature. While this is happening, season the meat. Butter? Salt and pepper? Black pepper? Something else entirely? Treat it like a regular piece of meat, and don’t hold back from your usual combinations.

Once the steaks are ready, go through all your usual steps: check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, flip as needed, and make sure to move it around the hotter and cooler sections of your grill as required. Like any type of meat, you will have to choose what sort of finish you want: rare, medium rare, well done, and so on.

tomahawk steak cooking on open fire grill

What if I’m not grilling?

Whether you are using a different cooking method, buying raw steak from a butcher, or just trying to use certain ingredients, there isn’t a “right” way to cook any steak. Tomahawk steak is no exception, so go ahead and enjoy it however you like! Most of the time, your regular steak preparation methods will work so long as you modify your techniques to take into account the extra time to cook this thicker cut of meat.

tomahawk steak on wooden board being cut

Is a Tomahawk steak worth it?

Well, this depends on how you view your steaks. If you look at it from the perspective of how many fast-food meals you could buy for the cost of a steak, then it won’t seem worth it. However, you are not just buying the food, you are buying an experience–something that doesn’t happen everyday. This is part of the enjoyment, aside from the unbeatable favour of this cut of beef!

Remember that a properly-prepared steak is usually one of the best ways to enjoy meat, either from an oven or fresh off the grill. Many companies selling these steaks (such as MyChicagoSteak and HolyGrailSteak) continually offer different steak options. To get in on these offers you can usually sign up for their newsletter or subscribe to their news feed.

Tomahawk steaks rank highly among the best cuts of steak. Whether prepared on a skillet or cooked on a grill, it will be one of the best steak experiences money can buy, so don’t hesitate to give one a try sometime, especially for celebrating a major milestone!

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