Tomahawk Steak Guide – Where to Buy, How to Cook and Are They Worth the Cost?

Jason Webster
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What is a Tomahawk Steak?

A Tomahawk steak is a special beef cut made from the prime rib bone.

It gets its name from its resemblance to a Native American tomahawk, its size, and its special presentation. Tomahawk steaks are very thick, with a higher bone-to-meat ratio than other steak cuts.

First created by New York's Smith & Wollensky restaurant, Tomahawk steaks have become quite popular in recent years in the United States.

Most of the Tomahawk steak you find in restaurants is taken directly from the side of the animal. The meat is then cut into strips, wrapped around the bone, then grilled.

However, due to the popularity of the cut, it's starting to appear in high-end supermarkets for consumers to buy and prepare at home.

How big is a Tomahawk steak?

Other names

A tomahawk steak is also known as cowboy steak, but is sometimes called a coulotte steak in fancy steakhouses. Not all restaurants use the same name for it.

Where to buy a Tomahawk Steak

You can get a Tomahawk steak from you local butcher, select independent grocery stores, or even a steakhouse.

The reason: A steak that comes from the Tomahawk cut of the short loin has extra marbling, which makes it inherently tastier because it is more tender and has more flavor.

Try a bone-in steak, since it is easier to cut than a filet and won’t have to be tampered with as much as a boneless cut.

Make the most of your bone-in Tomahawk steak. Place a sausage, a few garlic cloves and a knob of butter on top of the bone and wrap the bone in foil.

Put the steak on a cookie sheet and put it in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for 25 minutes.

As the steak cooks, slowly baste the top of the steak with the butter, garlic and juices that run off the sausage.

After 25 minutes, remove the steak from the oven. Take the foil off and sprinkle the whole thing with some kosher salt and pepper.

Turn on the broiler and put the steak back into the oven for another five minutes.

Take it out and serve it with pan juices as a sauce.

Snake River Farms

The Tomahawk steak is Zenger Farm’s proprietary steak cut (not to be confused with the more common Tahoe cut which is the forequarter cut of a beef placed on the a whole cow).

It is one of the most exciting beef cuts on the market. It is a jaw dropping 28-bone cut of meat from the short plate which is similar to the Chicago cut.

The Zenger Farms tomahawk is very popular in fine restaurants and high-end steakhouses. Most beef steak lovers first became exposed to the tomahawk steak through their local steakhouse or through various food magazines that showcase it annually.

The appearance alone makes it a prime candidate for social media photo shoots and birthday celebrations. The distinct rugged looks easily separate it from other steak cuts and give it its distinctive name “Tomahawk”.

What are the nutritional benefits of this steak? Tomahawk steak is not only rich in flavor but also is quite a meaty and hearty steak.

The USDA nutritional analysis of the tomahawk steak shows that it contains nearly all the nutrients required for optimum health. On average, one tomahawk has 510 calories, 75 grams of fat and 74 grams of protein.

Porter Road

When I grew up, there were only two meats in my family's refrigerator: steak and hot dogs. My dad and I were big meat eaters. We could polish off a big batch of burgers with ease.

My dad always brought home the big cuts right in time for weekend grilling. We didn't have a steak knife in the house. No worries: we just used our hands and ate directly off of the cutting board as if we were cavemen (literally).

Father and son bonding made easy.

In the years that have followed, we've evolved a little. Now, we still love steak, but we like it even better when it's ribeye, T-bone or, better yet, a tomahawk.

A tomahawk steak is a bone-in ribeye steak, similar to a T-bone. The bone will extend half way up the filet. It's not attached to the filet, but it will stick out — hence the name Tomahawk. It's popular among steak lovers because of its appealing flesh (the best cuts of beef are located around the bone or "marbled").

How does the price of a Tomahawk steak compare to a normal Ribeye?

The Tomahawk steak is a relatively new protein item, which has gained popularity in recent years. It is different from the average Ribeye steak because it contains a single bone, also known as the “handle.”

So What Is The Tomahawk Steak?

The Tomahawk steak is an extremely flavorful, premium steak that is grilled, not fried, and then butchered so that the bone is left in the meat.

Each Tomahawk steak is typically one pound in size and can be served two to three people. It has a width that ranges from 10 to 20 inches and a length of about 10 inches.

The Tomahawk steak is quite the show stopper at any BBQ party. It is also trending up in the USA and has even been on a few TV shows, including Americas Funniest Videos, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, and The Chew.

It is essentially a bone-in Ribeye steak, also referred to as a Cowboy steak.

When served, it is typically bone-side up with the handle facing out. The Tomahawk steak gets its name from the Native Americans in North America who would repurpose the bone as a handle for hunting and fighting.

So are they a rip-off?

The short answer is no.

People often say that the steaks are a bit pricey but what you are paying for is a unique cut of meat.

It’s a bit smaller than a ribeye or a New York strip so you can buy it for a cheaper price per pound.

They always taste a bit meatier as they are taken from the hump of the animal where the muscles are a bit stronger.

They are stuffed with herbs and mashed potatoes and once they are cooked, they are crusted with peppercorns and rosemary.

Many people, including myself, really enjoy the taste of the steak.

I would have to say that when it comes to a steak, there are two factors that determine whether I like it or not: the meat and the crust. I’m not a huge fan of thick thin crust so Tomahawks are great. Their crust is soft and soft enough to completely cover the steak. The meat is the juiciest I ever had too.

In my honest opinion, Tomahawks are a great, one of a kind, steak. They are not a rip-off. If you go to a high-end steakhouse and order a Tomahawk, you’re going to pay two to three times as much per steak.

How to cook a Tomahawk Steak

A Tomahawk steak will make your guests take notice and you can be sure they’re going to come back for more! Knowing how to cook a Tomahawk steak takes a little practice but following these easy tips you’ll have your very own Tomahawk steak feast in no time…

More often than not, the Tomahawk steak is measured in pounds rather than inches, so just bear that in mind.

A great way to get the most flavor and tenderness out of a Tomahawk steak is to let it sit at room temperature right before cooking it.

Heat an oven to 250 degrees and place the steak in there, uncovered for 20-30 min. Then you’re ready to cook!

To cook a Tomahawk steak you’ll need a large cast iron skillet or a grill pan.

Add some salt and pepper to the steak, along with some butter to keep it nice and moist.

Get the pan nice and hot and place the steak in there, cooking it for no more than a few minutes per side.

It’s vital you don’t overcook the steak and keep it nice and juicy by using a meat thermometer and checking when it reaches about 55 degrees.

Reverse searing your Tomahawk Steak

Hybrid grilling your Tomahawk Steak

Grilling Big Tomahawk steak may seem like a challenging task to many. If you are not an expert meat griller, you may be worried that you may end up burning your steak before it is cooked.

However, this need not be so. To grill your big Tomahawk steak to perfection, you can go for the hybrid grilling technique.

Hybrid grilling is a combination of heavy grilling and slow roasting. The grill can be preheated to a very high temperature as you want to get the outside of the steak very well browned. Then the temperature is lowered to allow the inside to cook more gently and slowly.

You can take the temperature of the Tomahawk steak using a meat thermometer. Once you reach an internal temperature of 90 degrees, the meat will be medium rare.

In the case of big Tomahawk steaks, the recommended internal temperature is in between 90 and 100 degrees.

For the medium-rare flavour, you could lower the temperature further to bring the internal temperature to around 105 degrees.

How Long Does Smoked Meat Last?

Smoked meats usually have a shelf life of 8-10 days, depending on the conditions under which they were stored and the weight of the meat.

However, you should ideally cook the meat 1-2 days after bringing it home.

Using the internal temperature to gauge when the meat is still safe to eat is a good idea.

Maintain the temperature of your fridge to less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the meat wrapped in a clean plastic bag.

If the meat starts to smell funny, has a slimy texture, or a bad color, it’s time to throw it out.

When the meat starts to smell bad, it’s part of the bacteria family is already present and will multiply quickly if it’s not disposed of soon.