It’s hard to imagine a better main event for your dinner than a properly cooked Tomahawk Steak. Sometimes known as a Cowboy Steak, a prime cut of Tomahawk Ribeye is undoubtedly a steak fit for a king.
Most tomahawk steaks weigh in at 3 or more pounds. Combined with the fact that they are typically high quality cuts of meat, you’ll want to make sure you know how to grill a Tomahawk Steak to make sure you’re getting the maximum bang for your buck.
Plus, a properly cooked Tomahawk Steak is incredibly delicious.
First, we’ll go over some tips and tricks for how to grill a tomahawk steak. If you want to go straight to the step by step recipe, feel free to scroll down near the bottom of this page!
How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak – Overview
A tomahawk ribeye is a giant cut of steak still on the rib bone, typically 2.5 to 3.5 pounds in weight. It’s a sight to behold, and you’ll want to make sure you do it justice on the grill.
First things first, you’ll want to get your beef seasoned. I’ve always been a fan of keeping things simple when it comes to seasoning quality pieces of meat – all you really want to do is bring out the delicious flavor within your tomahawk ribeye.
I like to use a seasoning mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, but you can feel free to use your favorite steak seasoning as a substitute.
A tomahawk steak is a HUGE piece of meat, so you want to make sure to be liberal when it comes to applying your seasoning. Make sure you coat the entire thing, including sides and even the fatty parts.
From there, let your steak rest at room temperature for about 45 minutes. During this time, the beef will absorb the seasoning and flavor will begin to sink in. Also, the seasoning will absorb some of the moisture inside of the steak which will help create a beautiful crust when we sear later in the process.
While the steak rests, go ahead and get your grill fired up. If you are using a gas grill, you might only need 5-10 minutes to get heated up. If you’re working on a charcoal grill, you may need a little more time to get your fire right. Either way, this is a great time to get your grill heated up in preparation to sear your steak.
You’ll want to set up a 2 zone cooking surface – one side of your grill should run piping hot, about 500-550 degrees for the sear. The other side should be cooler where we’ll cook the steak all the way through by going low and slow.
After the searing side of your grill is hot and ready to go, it’s time to get the tomahawk steak on there. Place the beef on the grate and press down.
After 2.5 minutes, rotate the steak 45 degrees (keeping it on the same side), and press it down into the grate again. Sear for another 2.5 minutes.
We are ready to flip the steak now (so after 5 minutes total on the first side). Flip the tomahawk ribeye steak and repeat the last step, searing the other side for 5 minutes total with a 45 degree rotation after 2.5 minutes.
After the sear is complete, move the steak over to the “cooler” section of your grill for the slow cook. Place the steak on a raised rack or on your grill’s swing away warming rack.
At this time, you should insert your probe meat thermometer. Make sure the probe is measuring temperature at the very center of the loin.
Take your shallow aluminum pan and place butter, garlic clove, and fresh thyme inside. Place the pan on the grill and underneath the steak to catch drippings from the beef. All of the contents will combine. From time to time (I usually do it every 5-10 minutes), baste the contents of the pan back over the steak with a basting brush.
From here, we’re not cooking for a set amount of time – we’re grilling until the inside of the steak reaches it’s desired doneness. Just to give you a ballpark idea though, plan on slow cooking for around 30-45 minutes.
The USDA says that 145 degrees Fahrenheit is the safe internal temperature for cooked steak, although most professionals and steak lovers prefer a temperature below that, more in the realm of 120 degrees.
Personally, I cook my tomahawk ribeye steak to an internal temperature of 125 degrees before I pull it off the grill – which usually ends up being medium rare trending a tiny bet towards medium. Keep in mind, the steak will continue to cook a little bit even after it is off the grill and resting.
After your steak reaches it’s desired doneness, take it off of the grill and place it on a cutting board or serving tray to rest for 15 minutes.
How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak – Presentation
Now at this point, you’ve got an incredibly tasty piece of meat on your hands. I always like to take things a step further though and wow everybody with the presentation.
All you have to do for a steakhouse style presentation is to cut the steak along the bone line, detaching the meat from the bone. From there, cut the steak into 1/2 inch wide strips – this is the perfect size for your audience to grab and share!
After you cut all of the strips, press the strips against each other, recreating the shape of the original, whole steak, and place the meat back up against the bone on the cutting board.
Enjoy, and happy grilling!
Where to Get Tomahawk Steaks
If you’re lucky like me, your local grocer or butcher will carry tomahawk ribeye steaks on a regular basis. If that’s not the case for you, don’t worry! In this day and age, technology can help you out. The internet is an amazing place, and there are options out there to get tomahawk ribeyes delivered directly to your doorstep.
My personal favorite place to get tomahawk steaks online is from Snake River Farms. Snake River Farms is a family owned and operated business whose aim is to produce and provide the highest quality farm to market beef in the USA. Their American Wagyu beef is some of the highest quality, most decadent beef you’ll find just about anywhere. In particular, I can personally attest to the quality of their:
- Dry-Aged USDA Prime Tomahawk
- American Wagyu Black Grade Tomahawk Steak
- Dry Aged American Wagyu Tomahawk
The other recommendation we have to give is for you to check out Holy Grail Steak. They offer some of the highest quality beef I’ve ever eaten, and their tomahawk ribeye steaks are a sight to behold. These prime cuts of beef most definitely won’t leave your guests disappointed.
Full disclosure, these steaks are pricey – but you can be sure that your stomach will thank you later!
Grilled Tomahawk/Cowboy Ribeye Steak Recipe
- Gas Grill, Charcoal Grill, or Smoker
- Shallow Aluminum Pan (ideally 8" x 8" or larger)
- Basting Brush
- Meat Thermometer
- 1 Tomahawk Ribeye Steak (2.5 - 3.5 lbs)
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 5 Garlic Cloves peeled
- 1 bundle Fresh Thyme
- 8 oz Butter
- ⅛ cup Olive Oil
- Mix kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Use this mixture to season all sides of the ribeye steak generously. You can also substitute your favorite steak seasoning. After applying seasoning, let the steak rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.
- Prepare your grill for 2 zone cooking. My everyday grill is a 4 burner gas grill, and I heat one side to ~500 degrees F for searing, and the other side of the grill to the lowest heat setting. Use a charcoal grill if you desire a smoky flavor.
- Sear the steak over the hot side of the grill for 5 minutes on each side. Halfway through each side (so after 2.5 minutes), rotate the steak 45-90 degrees to form grill marks on the tomahawk.
- After the tomahawk steak has seared for 5 minutes on each side (10 minutes total), move the steak to a raised rack on the cooler side of the grill.
- Stick your probe meat thermometer into the very center of the cut to measure internal temperature.
- Place butter stick, garlic cloves, olive oil, and thyme in the aluminum pan. Then place the aluminum pan under the steak to catch drippings. After a few minutes, the steak drippings and ingredients will mix together.
- Baste the steak with the aluminum pan mixture every 10 minutes until the tomahawk steak reaches your desired doneness.
- Once the steak reaches its desired doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board or serving dish. The steak should rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting/serving.
If you really want to take your tomahawk steak experience to the next level, find a great wine and steak pairing here.
How did it go on the grill with your steak? We’d love to hear about it in the comments selection below!