This post will help you be able to cook a tomahawk steak at home like a pro, pinky swear.

No Labor Day Weekend would be complete without grilling up some meat.

Mariano’s had Tomahawks steaks on sale for $16 a pound!

What Is A Tomahawk Steak?

A Tomahawk steak is essentially a ribeye.

this is a picture of two tomahawk steaks seasoned right before grilling

What makes it so expensive is how it is cut, and you are paying for the bone, which I love to buy because a:  it looks cool; and b: my granddogs get the bones šŸ˜

I can’t tell you how much money I have saved being in quarantine and not being able to go to my beloved Chicago restaurants at least twice a week during the summer.  So I splurged and it was worth every penny.

How long should I cook a Tomahawk?

Early on in my bbq career I would scour websites and YouTube videos to see how long to cook certain cuts of beef, but there is so much more to know – and mainly – what temperature to cook your beef.  Most charts looks something like this (thanks google images!)

this is a chart showing temperatures of how to cook different types of meat

Notice for rare beef it says 125.  But if you were to cook your beef to 125, by the time it rests, the residual heat will bring it up to 135 which is medium rare.  Which is still perfect for beef in my opinion.  However if you were to cook your beef to medium rare at 135, by the time it rested you would be at medium at 145.  Don’t waste a $44 steak and cook it to medium.  You lose all the awesome flavor.  

That being said, this is a no judgment bbq zone – if you like your beef well done or medium well or well, that’s your business. šŸ˜‰

When to Season Your Beef?

This is a big mistake a lot of people make when grilling.  When to SALT is critical.  Salt is your best friend in grilling because it brings out amazing flavor.  But in order for the salt to work for you, you have to know when to season the meat. 

A rule of thumb is this:

  1. Salt and Pepper your beef two minutes before it hits the grill.
  2. Salt and Pepper your beef 40 minutes before it hits the grill.

You may be thinking to yourself “why does that matter?”  Well the first two minutes the salt sits on top of the meat, then goes to the grill and sears to the beef.  Nice.  You’ll get an awesome salty flavor.

But starting at just 3 minutes in of salting the beef, the salt starts to pull out the moisture of the beef.  If you cook your beef after 3 minutes or before 40 minutes, the pulled out moisture will either steam your beef in a cast iron skillet and you won’t get that gorgeous crust, or you’ll put it on the grill and all the juices run out on the coals and your beef won’t be as juicy.

After 40 minutes, the juices will have had time to reabsorb into the meat and you are good to go.

Get a meat thermometer.

I cannot tell you how many times I brought in raw chicken or beef in from the grill, or overcooked meat because I thought I could tell my look or touching the meat that it was done. šŸ¤·šŸ»ā€ā™€ļø 

I have a Cuisinart one (not sponsored – bought at Bed Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon) that has dual temperature gauge so I can grill two meats at once, and it also has an app on my phone so I can see what temp I am at inside the house.

This one is great if you just want an instant thermometer.  

Reverse Sear.

I am a strong proponent of doing a reverse sear.  This basically means that you cook the beef at a slower temperature for longer, and then finish it off under high heat to get a nice sear.  This method has never failed me.

this shows two large steaks on a grill with a meat thermometer to cook to the right temperature

Since this is a ribeye and has a bit of fat, I cook it to medium rare.  I pulled these steaks off my Pit Barrel Cooker at 115 degrees, then reverse seared them on my Weber grill so that the resting temperature was 125.  Once cooled, they came in at 132 degrees.

How long should I rest a Tomahawk?

For chops this size, I rested the beef for 20 minutes before slicing.  Whole roasts?  I let rest for at least 45 minutes if not an hour.  Filet mignon and New York strips?  Only 5-10 minutes is needed.

this shows a tomahawk steak being grilled over high open flames on a grill

Thank you Hannah for that gorgeous photo of the reverse sear! 

this hows a picture of two big steaks resting on a cutting board after being taken off the grill


this photo is of a tomahawk steak that has been sliced open to show it is medium rare

Mariano’s also had lobster tails on sale for $4.99 – I cooked them thawed for just 5 minutes in boiling water.  My plate:

this is a picture of a white plate that has sliced beef, lobster tail, green beans and twice baked potatoes

Have you ever tried cooking a Tomahawk steak?  I promise if you follow these easy steps, you’ll be the grill master in your family in no time.

You can also check our my tips for making the perfect steak on top of your stove.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section!