How to Grill Perfect Tomahawk Steaks
Sometimes, you just
want need a bible-thick juicy steak, an Instagram-worthy, awe-inspiring hunk of meat sizzling hot off the grill. Especially this year. Our unanimous choice? A beef tomahawk.
What is it? It’s a 2-inch-thick rib-eye on a dramatic-looking bone—usually 7 inches long or more—that’s been cleaned of fat and meat. (The proper term is “Frenching.) The steak takes its name from its strong resemblance (with the bone attached) to a tomahawk ax. It includes two of our favorite cuts of beef—the longissimus dorsi and spinalis. Hopefully, you can buy the cut locally. If not, there are many reliable online sources. One of our favorites is Snake River Farms.
But, like prime rib, beef tomahawks can be nail-biters. It’s a luxurious cut, usually taken from the 6th to 12th ribs, and between 36 to 60 ounces. Well-marbled, buttery, and beefy. Expensive, too. You don’t want to mess it up. So you need to approach it with a plan.
Here’s that plan. It’s based on the reverse-sear method. Follow it, and you will experience meat nirvana.
Grilling Tomahawk Steaks
- If the steak is frozen (those purchased online often are), allow the meat to thaw. Because of their weight, allow 2 to 3 days for the steak(s) to thaw in the refrigerator. There is no need to bring them to room temperature.
- About an hour before grilling, generously season the steak on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Or, you could use your favorite steak rub. (We love Steven’s Malabar Steak Rub.)
- Set up your smoker or grill for indirect grilling according to the manufacturer’s directions. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean, oil it well with vegetable oil, and heat to 250 degrees.
- Arrange the steak(s) on the hot grate. (If indirect grilling, place the meat away from the hottest part of the grill.)
- Using tongs, turn the steak every 10 minutes.
- After 45 to 50 minutes, check the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-read meat thermometer or temperature probe. When the steak reaches 115 degrees F, transfer it to a wire rack set over a rimmed sheet pan.
- Replenish the coals and heat the grill to high.
- Place the steak on the grill grate and sear for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until it develops nice caramelization and grill marks. For medium-rare, you want a temperature of 130 degrees F.
- Slice the steak off the bone on a sharp diagonal. Serve immediately.