Have you always wanted to try one of those amazing Tomahawk steaks cooked and presented on all those different BBQ, smoking, and cooking shows?
Or you are wondering why the Tomahawk steak is so expensive and how you can prepare one of these impressive steaks yourself?
Read on to find out more about the Tomahawk steak, where you can buy one, what price you can expect to pay, and how to prepare the Tomahawk ribeye steak like a pro properly.
What exactly is a Tomahawk steak?
A Tomahawk steak is a ribeye beef steak that has been explicitly cut with at least 5-inches of the rib bone and usually about 10-20 inches of the rib bone left.
Like the Ribeye, it comes from the area between the 6th and 12th rib of the steer.
This visually stunning steak has a long bone that has been “French trimmed,” just like a rack of lamb is shaped. This means that the bone is trimmed of any fat or meat so that it is completely clean and resembles a handle of the Native American Tomahawk ax.
Its other names
It is also referred to as a bone-in ribeye, a tomahawk chop, a cowboy cut, or a cote du boeuf. But keep in mind that the cowboy cut or the bone-in Ribeye comes with just a small part of the rib bone left at some restaurants, which can be a disappointment for some.
The Tomahawk steak comes from the longissimus dorsi (the longest) loin, which runs under the steer’s ribs, and is a cut that is amazingly flavorful, tender, and highly marbled. The amazing qualities of the meat of this particular beef cut are due to the fact that these muscles are not as worked as some of the others and are soft and tender, with a lot of beautiful intramuscular fat which we also refer to as marbling.
How big is a Tomahawk steak?
Although they are technically the same steak cuts, the Tomahawk steak is relatively thicker than the ribeye steak. The reason is that it is cut in accordance with the thickness of the rib bone, and is usually 2 inches thick. The typical weight of an average Tomahawk steak is 30-45 ounces, making it perfect for sharing it with a loved one.
The rib bone which sticks out of the Tomahawk is “frenched” and is minimum 5 inches long but can reach up to 20 inches and more.
Where can I buy a Tomahawk steak?
If you have a specialty butcher shop in your area, you can check there and maybe ask them to have one delivered.
Otherwise, there are some excellent online resources where you can buy premium-quality, fresh beef, including Tomahawk steak. Best of all, the animals can be traced back, and they are locally sourced or produced by them, pasture-fed, and completely free of any harmful chemicals, such as antibiotics or hormones.
Here are some of the top reputable online stores where you can order Tomahawk steak.
Snake River Farms
This is one of the top reputable stores for the best quality beef and pork in the USA. You can buy premium cuts of Kurobuta pork and American Wagyu, including this beautiful American Wagyu Black Grade Tomahawk Steak or the Dry Aged Tomahawk. The 2-inch thick and 2.5 lbs. American Wagyu Black Grade Tomahawk steak can be yours for $135, and you can save 5 to 10% if you order 4 or 8 steaks.
Snake River Farms has been producing the best quality beef and pork since 1968. The company supplies some of the leading Michelin-star restaurants, so you can be certain that you will receive the absolute best quality meat if you order this gorgeous steak from them.
If the Tomahawk ribeye steak from Snake River Farms is over your budget, you can opt for the fresh and awesome Tomahawk Ribeye offered by Porter Road for $75 per 2.5-3lbs. steak.
Porter Road is a digital butcher shop that sources its animals from family farms in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
They deliver hand-cut fresh meat around the country and also offer premium quality ground beef, larger roast, and sausages as well.
Is there a difference in the price of the Tomahawk and a regular Ribeye steak?
The price of a Tomahawk steak depends on many factors, including where you are getting it from and what grade and quality meat you are buying.
Still, you can expect that a Tomahawk steak will cost up to three times the price of a regular Ribeye steak.
For example, The Chicago Steak Company is currently selling two USDA Prime Dry Aged Tomahawk Ribeye for $239 per steak (30-oz aged for 4-6 weeks). The same company is offering four Bone-in Ribeye Steaks with the same USDA Prime Dry Aged quality and grade at a price of $274.95 (for 18-oz, four pieces).
Another popular online butcher is offering its dry-aged USDA Prime graded Angus Tomahawk Chops for $235.95 (for 36-oz), which is more than the cost of their 24-oz Miyazaki Wagyu Ribeye, which has won the Beef competition at the Culinary Olympics in Nagasaki for quality and costs $289.95 for 24-oz.
Even though the difference in the weight of the two steaks may seem a lot, keep in mind that a large portion of the net weight of the Tomahawk steak comes from the bone rather than the meat itself.
Other butchers offer quality Tomahawk steak at an average price of $100, but you should remember that you will be paying over $50 for the bone itself rather than the meat.
So is the Tomahawk steak grossly overpriced?
The answer depends on whether you consider that the bone can add an exceptional taste to the meat or not. While bone marrow has a beautiful meaty flavor when it is boiled slowly and made into stock, it does not react so well to dry grilling, frying, or roasting. This means that if you are preparing the Tomahawk steak in any of these traditional ways, the bone will hardly affect the taste of the meat at all.
On the other hand, the Tomahawk steak is an Instagram-worthy piece of meat, which is a joy to the eye, and will look beautiful as a centerpiece for any special occasion. So, if you want to pay more for the looks of the steak, then why not – it is one of the most impressive cuts of meat you will ever see!
Learn how to make fall off the bone ribs with the 3 2 1 method
How to prepare a Tomahawk Steak?
The main challenge of preparing the Tomahawk Steak is its large size and its shape. The thickness of a Tomahawk steak is usually about 2 inches. This means that if you use a traditional searing method for preparing steak, then it is very likely that you will end up with either a cold and raw center or a surface that is charcoal black.
This is why it is recommended that you prepare a Tomahawk steak by reverse searing it on a grill or by using both a grill and a pan.
You can take a look at this reverse-seared tomahawk steak recipe, guide, and video for details or you can follow this easy step-by-step guide.
How to reverse sear a Tomahawk Steak
- Create a hot and cool zone on your grill, which is achieved by bringing a single burner of a gas grill to medium-high heat or by heaping the coals to only one side of the charcoal grill.
- Season the steak according to your recipe and taste.
- Place the Tomahawk steak on the cool zone of the grill, and allow the indirect heat to start cooking it.
- Use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the steak.
- When the steak’s internal temperature reaches 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit from the target temperature for the level of doneness you are striving for, then move the steak to the hot zone of the grill.
- Once it is placed in the hot zone, you should turn the steak every 30 seconds in order to ensure that the temperature at which it is cooking is even.
- Keep monitoring the temperature of the meat and when it reaches about 5 degrees from the doneness temperature, remove it entirely from the grill and let it rest.
Using a grill and a pan for preparing your Tomahawk steak
This is another suitable way to prepare the Tomahawk steak, which starts by following the low and slow instructions from above, and then instead of placing the streak on the hot zone of the grill, to finish cooking it in a hot pan.
This is a good idea if you have set up your smoker to a low and slow setup and don’t want to reset it to a high temperature for searing.
Here are the steps for this hybrid cooking of the Tomahawk steak:
- Follow the steps for the low and slow cooking form above (following steps from 1 to 4, until the internal temperature of the steak has reached about 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit from the desired doneness temperature.
- Set the steak aside.
- Heat up a cast iron pan until it starts smoking from the high temperature. If possible, do this outdoors so that you don’t fill your home with smoke.
- Put the steak in the hot pan to start the browning reaction (aka the Maillard reaction), and turn it over frequently to avoid scorching its surface.
- When the steak’s temperature reaches about 5 degrees from the desired temperature, remove it and set it on a wire rack with a tray or plate underneath to rest.
- Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, so it finishes cooking itself and reaches the perfect doneness temperature.
- Before you serve it, it is recommended that you heat up the sauce from your pan and the sauce from the plate or tray under the wire rack and drizzle it all over the steak.
The Tomahawk Steak may look like an overpriced Ribeye steak, but it is one of the most impressive steaks and cuts of all.
Of course, it is a delicious cut of beef when made of premium grade animals and meat, and when prepared correctly, and if you can afford it and are willing to enjoy having this huge Tomahawk on your table – then go ahead! It is definitely worth it!
Wanna know more about beef cuts? Check this underrated sirloin cap cut, also know as Picanha steak, and learn how to cook it!