Special thanks to Certified Angus Beef and Acme Fresh Market for getting me these gorgeous steaks.
“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 (Long Bone Ribeye, Reverse Seared)
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
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. (The grill's internal temperature should be 400 to 500°F.) 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.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Grilling
- Cuisine: American
- 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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Grilled Short Ribs with Smoked Spanish Paprika Rub
Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos with Jalapenos and Onions
Grilled Ham with Honey-Bourbon Glaze
Click here for my other grilling recipes
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Greg Goodwin says
Great! Did it on my hog pit and turned out amazi g they were a little thicker than you had but turned out amazing. For direct heat I moved my coal to me coal starter and put a grill right on top of the coals! Yum yum yum!
Andy DeVore says
Mike, Thanks for the great tips on cooking a tomahawk. It worked perfectly!
Mike Vrobel says
How about directions for a gas grill? Pretty much the same?
Mike Vrobel says
Yes - set up the grill as described (a high heat side and a no heat side) and follow the rest of the instructions.
Rick Tucker says
I've been cooking these Tomahawks for several years now. First time I went to pick up my order, and the butcher was carrying them out, I swear I thought he was carrying a newborn baby!!!!! My butcher cuts them about 3-3.5 lbs each. I salt and pepper overnight wrapped in plastic wrap, put just barely a tad or two of Dale's in the pan and let this marinate overnight. Then I continue the way you do, a reverse sear, brushing with butter every now and then. Perfection and Awesomeness on a bone.
cant wait to make this again today. so tasty and goof proof too. Costco has amazing chops for this dish.
Rob Church says
If you are looking for them locally (to the Akron/Canton area), Dumas has had them recently on occasion.
Indi Evans says
Love your post, and I've been on the hunt for 1. Where can I find this steak
Mike Vrobel says
Ask the butcher at your local store. I had to special order it when I did this post, but my local store carries them now on a regular basis.
I was surprised they actually sell these at Walmart. Nice looking steaks.
Just curious ... have you ever aged Tomahawk steaks? What's the difference between bag or no bag? Buying a roast rack of four or five or six bones versus single bone? Currently I'm aging three single bones vacuum sealed. I tried the one week out and cooked a bone and it tasted real good. Now it's 2 weeks and I haven't seen the crustacean of the meat in the bag. Just curious if anyone's aged Tomahawk steaks.
Mike Vrobel says
No, never have aged them at home.
Chris Wright says
Cheers pal, we are now starting to get these steaks in the UK. I tried your recipe, it was easy to follow and worked treat. Chris, Wirral, UK
Follow this recipe and it came out perfect, thanks!
Mike Vrobel says
Great instructions! First attempt at a tomahawk was a delicious success !
Mike Vrobel says
Thanks for the instructions! We had a perfect dinner!
Mike V says
Excellent! Glad to hear it.
I've been wanting to cook one of these monster steaks since I had it as room service on holiday a few years ago, and I finally saw my chance when I found them on special this week. I found this guide and decided to give it a go.
Only trouble I had was my fiancé used the BBQ first for sausages, and the charcoal became super hot, like, 360 Celsius hot, so there was no way I was sticking it in their to cook slowly. Instead I put in on a griddle on the lowest flame setting and did five minutes a side until it reached 105 or so, then moved it to the roaring hot grill and cooked for about a minute a side, then sealed the still red edge.
It was the best meat I have ever tasted, let alone cooked. Came out perfecty rare with just a bit of medium rare closer to the edge I sealed, with spot on charcoal flavor. I actually managed to eat nearly all of it myself. Much thanks for the guide, I'm definitely trying it again.
David Williams says
Just tried this and it was the best steak I've ever had! The key was cooking to 115 degrees. It took us a little longer so by following the temp instructions it came out perfect. Thanks for the recipe.
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
You'll love them. Good luck!
Greg Hao says
Whether by happenstance or serendipity, I just saw some tomahawk steaks at my local Costco last week. This post has inspired me to pick up a pack and try over the weekend.