“Because it’s there.” George Mallory, English mountaineer, when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest.
I saw the tomahawk ribeye chops at Allen Brothers Steaks in Chicago. One look, and I was done for. I had to grill it.
Luckily for me, one of the other people on the tour was Chef Michael Ollier, the corporate chef for Certified Angus Beef, located just down the road from me in Wooster, Ohio. (We had an easy connection, both being Ohio boys.) When summer came, I got in touch with Certified Angus Beef, asking them where I could find tomahawk steaks in the Akron area.
Certified Angus Beef sent an entire long bone rib roast to my local Acme grocery store, where James the butcher sliced me gorgeous 2 inch thick steaks.
Why two inches thick? Because that’s how thick the rib bones are.
Now, it may be called a tomahawk steak, but what they look like is a fireman’s axe. These were huge steaks, about 18 inches long. The length of the bone made them hard to work with – the two steaks took up half of my kettle grill, and every time I turned or flipped them I had to adjust, so the bone wasn’t hanging over the edge of the grill. If I was cooking for a crowd, and needed to fit more than two on the grill, I’d ask for the bone to be cut back, say to 12 inches long instead of the full 18 inches, to make them easier to fit on the grill. Or, I’d cheat and get a rib roast, and then ask for the bones to be Frenched so they stick out a bit. But, really, if you’re after the full tomahawk experience, you need the extra long bone.
I grilled the steaks using the reverse sear method – on the grill, but as far away from indirect high heat as the bones would allow until they reached an internal temperature of 115°F. Then they went directly over the coals for a quick sear to brown the surface of the meat. Then I got to gnaw on the bone…oh, my.
If you have to ask “why”, then you don’t want this steak. Go get some ribeyes. But, if you want to knock the socks off of a carnivore, this is the steak for you.
Recipe: Grilled Tomahawk Steak (Long Bone Ribeye, Reverse Seared)
- Grill (I love my Weber Kettle)
- Probe thermometer (makes it easy to track the temp without lifting the lid) or Instant read thermometer
- Large serving platter
Grilled Tomahawk Steak recipe – I couldn’t help myself. Look at those ribs…how could I not grill this steak?
- 2 (2-inch thick) tomahawk ribeye steaks (whole rib bone still attached, or get a rib roast and ask for it to be Frenched and cut into steaks)
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Season the steaks: At least an hour before cooking, sprinkle the meat evenly with the salt and pepper. This can be done as early as the night before; cover the steaks with plastic wrap and refrigerate, then take the steaks out when you start heating the grill.
- Set the grill up for indirect high heat: Set the grill up for indirect high heat; half the grill with direct high heat, and the other half with no heat. On my Weber kettle I light a full chimney starter of charcoal, wait for it to be mostly covered with gray ash, then pour it in a tight pile over half the grill, two to three coals deep. Then I put the grate on the grill and brush it clean.
- Reverse sear the steaks: Put the steaks on the grill over indirect heat, away from the lit coals, with the bone side of the steaks facing the heat. Close the lid, and position the air holes directly over the steaks. Cook the steaks with the lid closed; after ten minutes, flip the steaks and swap them so the steak that was farther away from the heat is now closer. The steaks are ready for searing when they reach 115°F internal in the thickest part, about 20 minutes of indirect cooking. (115°F is medium rare. Cook to 105°F to 110°F for rare, 125°F for medium. Beyond that…buy a thinner steak.)
- Quickly sear the steaks over direct heat: Move the meaty part of the steaks directly over the coals, with the bones hanging over the indirect heat part of the grill. Sear the steaks, flipping every minute or two, until they are browned and crusty, about 6 minutes. Move to a large (and I mean LARGE) serving platter.
- Carve and serve: Let the steaks rest for ten minutes, then show them to your guests. Put the steaks on a cutting board and run a sharp knife along the curve of the bone to carve the meat from the bone. Pass the bones around as an appetizer (anyone want a rib?) and then slice and serve the steaks.
- This is a BIG cut of meat. One chop was enough to feed my family of five. That said, I was glad I had two chops – I needed the extra rib. Everyone wanted a chance to gnaw on the bone.
- This was a difficult chop to find; it will almost certainly be a special order. But your patience will be rewarded.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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