How to Cook a Perfect Tomahawk Steak

How to Cook a Perfect  Tomahawk Steak

Welcome to the King of Steaks also known as the tender show-stopping Tomahawk Steak

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What is a Tomahawk Steak?

This glorious cut of meat is actually a large ribeye steak that is specifically cut with about 8-12 inches of the rib bone left on it.

The bone is “Frenched”, a culinary term that means it is trimmed of fat and meat. The Tomahawk steak is meant to look like the handle of an ax. It’s the same technique that is used on a rack of lamb.

The bone is intended to give it the “wow” factor however it also helps insulate the tender meat while it cooks.

The Tomahawk steak is extremely tender and buttery, with beautiful marbling. It’s also relatively simple to make!

Because of its size and 2″ thickness this steak requires a different cooking method than a regular sized steak, which usually just gets a quick sear on the grill.

We chose the indirect “reverse sear” method for our Tomahawks and we’ll show you how to do it, with step-by-step directions, so you will get it just right every time!

Preparing Ribeye Steaks for Reverse Sear

There are 2 steps to preparing the steak, which need to be done ahead of time, so be sure to allow time for this important step.

Step One – Salting and Dry Brining

  • The first step to prepping this big steak is salting it liberally with kosher salt.
  • Allow the salt to sit on the steak for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator uncovered. Place the steak on a rack on top of a baking sheet for best results.

We have found that salting (dry brining) improves the texture and flavor of nearly every type of red meat, not just steak. Why? Its science at work. When the salt is applied to the uncooked meat the juices inside the meat are drawn to the surface. The salt then dissolves into that liquid, forming a kind of brine that is then slowly reabsorbed into the meat.

The end result is an incredibly tender, moist, buttery steak loaded with flavor. This method works well on pork chops too.

salting a steak on baking rack

Step Two – The Seasoning Rub

  • Once the steak is done with the 12-24 hour salt brine take it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature
  • Prepare the rub mixture which is a thick paste of olive oil, paprika, black pepper, and crushed garlic
  • Coat the entire steak and the bone area with the rub, return to the rack, and let it sit for about 15 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚F
spice rubbed meat on a rack

How to Cook a Tomahawk Ribeye Steak:

Because of the size of this steak the reverse sear method is the perfect way to cook it.

Reverse searing involves slow roasting the meat in a low temperature oven, to bring it to the desired internal temperature, and then finishing it with a quick sear on the grill to create a delicious crust and lock in the flavor.

Step-by-step for Reverse Searing Meat in the Oven:

  • Place spice rubbed steak in a 200˚F oven, on a rack, over a baking sheet to catch any juices
  • Start preheating the grill to medium-high while the steak is in the oven
  • Check the steak after about 30 minutes, but it will likely take closer to 40 minutes to cook
  • We highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check internal temperature
  • Cook until the internal temperature reaches preferred doneness:
  • Rare = 120˚F which is a cool bright red center and pinkish toward the outside
  • Medium Rare = 125˚F which is a warm red center but still very pink and slightly brown toward the outside
  • Medium = 130˚F which is a warm light pink center with outer portion brown
  • Remove steak from the oven and move it directly to the grill
  • Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side to lock in flavor and develop a crust
  • Let steak rest for about 5-minutes uncovered before slicing. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time (also known as “carryover cooking”)
Tomahawk steak cooking on a grill

How long should you let steak rest?

Resting steak is an important step because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface.

If you immediately slice into it after cooking, all of those flavorful, amazing juices will end up on the plate, not in your steak. Allowing your steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful when serving.

How many servings are in a Tomahawk Steak?

The steak in our photos weighed in at 2.8 pounds (45 ounces). Once we cut the steak away from the bone we had about 32 ounces of meat. This easily served four people (plus the bone for the pup!)

How to serve this steak:

Because the giant bone makes the Tomahawk larger than life you should definitely include it in the presentation. It’s the bow tie on the tuxedo.

  • First cut the steak away from the bone
  • Then slice the meat, against the grain, into slices
  • Arrange the meat back around the bone so it appears to still be on the bone and serve on a large platter
platter with steak, tomatoes and rosemary

Great sides to serve with steak

A great steak needs amazing side dishes to go along with it and here are a few of our favorites:

Your Sommelier Wine Pairings:

It only makes sense that the King of Steaks should only be paired with wine royalty!

When pairing wines with this delicious masterpiece you should look no further than a rich robust full bodied Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

These beautiful Cabernet’s make a wonderful pairing for this tender, buttery, steak lovers dream dinner.

The Bordeaux region of France also produces some beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends that make an equally stunning partner for our Tomahawk master.

one ribeye steak with french bone on a platter
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

How to Cook a Tomahawk Steak

A Tomahawk steak is a tender, buttery, delicious show stopper! They are easy to make with our step-by-step guide on how to Reverse Sear a Tomahawk.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Marinating Time12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 493kcal


  • Grill


  • 2.8 pounds Tomahawk Steak with bone
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

Ingredients for the Rub

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed


  • Liberally salt the steak all over with kosher salt
  • Place steak on a baking sheet (on a rack if you have one) for 12-24 hours uncovered in the refrigerator
  • Remove steak from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature
  • Coat the steak with the rub and let sit for about 15 minutes on the rack
  • Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  • Cook steak on rack and baking sheet until the internal temperature reaches desired doneness. Use an instant-read thermometer.
    – Rare = 120°F (cool red center)
    – Medium Rare = 125°F (warm red center)
    – Medium = 130°F (warm pink center)
  • While steak is cooking in the oven start the grill and heat to medium-high
  • Remove steak from the oven and transfer to the grill. Sear evenly on each side for about 3 minutes to obtain grill marks
  • Remove from the grill and let the steak rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes
  • Cut steak away from bone, and slice against the grain into 1/2-inch pieces. Serve


Serving: 8ounces | Calories: 493kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 3595mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 106IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 4mg

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5 thoughts on “How to Cook a Perfect Tomahawk Steak”

  • 5 stars
    My absolute favorite piece of meat! We love making these tomahawk steaks whenever we want to feel fancy! Thanks for sharing these amazing tips.

  • 5 stars
    This was so helpful in understanding how to make the perfect tomahawk steak! I will be utilizing these tips this summer!

  • 5 stars
    Wowowow! Your Tomahawk steak looks perfect! I am so excited to try this recipe, it looks delicious! Thanks for the tips on salting and brining.

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