How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak: Easy Steps for Perfect Results

Discover the art of grilling a delicious tomahawk steak to perfection with our easy-to-follow guide that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Picture this: it’s a beautiful summer day and you’re surrounded by your loved ones, gathered around the grill. The tantalizing aroma of sizzling meat fills the air as you eagerly wait for your masterpiece to be ready.

And what’s on the menu tonight? A juicy, mouthwatering tomahawk steak.

Grilling a tomahawk steak is no small feat – it requires patience, technique, and skill to get that perfect sear while keeping the inside tender and juicy. But fear not! In this article, we’ll guide you through every step of the way so that you can impress your guests with a perfectly grilled tomahawk steak every time.

So grab your tongs and let’s get started!

What Is a Tomahawk Steak?

how to grill a tomahawk steak easy steps for perfect results

The tomahawk steak is a cut of beef that comes from the rib section of the cow. It’s named after its resemblance to an actual tomahawk axe, with its long bone handle and meaty blade.

This impressive-looking steak typically weighs between 30-45 ounces and can feed two or more people.

One thing that sets the tomahawk apart from other cuts like ribeye or sirloin is its thickness – it’s usually around two inches thick, which makes it perfect for grilling over high heat without overcooking.

But what really makes this cut special is the marbling – those thin white lines running through the meat are actually pockets of fat that melt during cooking, infusing every bite with rich flavor and tenderness.

What Part Of The Cow Does The Tomahawk Come From?

Where does this delicious cut come from? The answer lies in the rib primal section of the cow. More specifically, it’s a ribeye steak with an extra-long bone left on for presentation purposes.

This long bone gives the tomahawk its distinctive shape and name – resembling that of a Native American tomahawk axe. The meat itself is well-marbled with fat, making it incredibly flavorful and juicy when cooked correctly.

It’s important to note that not all butchers will carry this particular cut as it requires specific preparation techniques before being sold.

The Difference Between A Tomahawk Steak And A Ribeye

While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between these two steaks that you should be aware of before firing up your grill.

The main difference between a tomahawk steak and a ribeye is their appearance. A tomahawk steak is essentially a ribeye with an extra-long bone left in for presentation purposes.

This gives it its distinctive “tomahawk” shape that makes it stand out on any plate.

But aside from their appearance, there are also some differences in flavor and texture to consider when choosing which cut to grill. The extra bone on the tomahawk can help enhance its flavor by adding more depth and richness to each bite.

However, this also means that cooking times may vary compared to traditional ribeyes due to the thickness of the meat around the bone.

On the other hand, while both cuts have marbling throughout which adds tenderness as well as taste; Ribeyes generally have less fat than Tomohawks so they might not be quite as rich or flavorful but will still provide excellent results if cooked correctly.

Choosing the Perfect Steak

When selecting your steak, look for marbling – those thin white lines running through the meat. Marbling is what gives a steak its flavor and tenderness.

The best cuts of beef for grilling are ribeye, sirloin, and filet mignon. However, when it comes to tomahawk steaks specifically – they are essentially just an extra-long bone-in ribeye with more fat content than other cuts.

When choosing your tomahawk steak at the butcher or grocery store make sure that there is enough marbling throughout and that it has been aged properly (at least 21 days). A good rule of thumb is to look for bright red color with creamy white fat streaks evenly distributed throughout.

Steak Preparation Tips

Preparing your tomahawk steak correctly is crucial to achieving that perfect sear and juicy interior. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: .

1. Bring the Steak to Room Temperature: Take your tomahawk out of the fridge at least an hour before grilling so it can come up to room temperature.

2. Pat Dry with Paper Towels: Use paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to pat dry both sides of the steak thoroughly.

3. Trim Excess Fat: While some fat is necessary for flavor, too much can cause flare-ups on the grill and lead to uneven cooking.

4. Score The Fat Cap (Optional): If you want extra crispy fat, score it lightly with a sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern before seasoning.

5. Season Generously With Salt And Pepper: Seasoning should be done just before placing on grill.

Seasoning the Tomahawk Steak

Seasoning is an essential part of grilling a delicious steak as it enhances the natural flavors and adds depth to your dish. Before seasoning, make sure that your steak is at room temperature and pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

This will help ensure that the seasoning sticks well to the meat. When it comes to seasoning a tomahawk steak, less is more – you don’t want overpowering flavors that mask its natural taste.

A simple blend of salt and pepper works wonders in bringing out those rich beefy notes. Generously sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of your steaks from about 6 inches away so they are evenly coated but not caked in salt; then add freshly ground black pepper for extra flavor.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different herbs or spices such as garlic powder or rosemary for added complexity in flavor profiles!

Tools and Equipment

Here are some essential items that will make your grilling experience easier and more enjoyable:

1. Grill: A high-quality grill is essential for cooking a perfect tomahawk steak.

Whether you prefer gas or charcoal, choose a reliable model with adjustable heat settings.

2. Tongs: Long-handled tongs are ideal for flipping the steak without piercing it, which can cause juices to escape.

3. Meat thermometer: To ensure that your tomahawk steak is cooked to perfection, use an instant-read meat thermometer to check its internal temperature.

4. Chimney starter: If you’re using charcoal as fuel for your grill, consider investing in a chimney starter – it’s an easy way to light the coals quickly and evenly.

5. Grill brush: Keep your grill clean by using a sturdy wire brush after each use – this will help prevent food from sticking during future grilling sessions.

Lighting the Grill

There are several ways to do this, but one of the most popular methods is using a chimney starter. This tool allows you to light charcoal quickly and evenly without using lighter fluid or other chemicals that could affect the taste of your food.

To use a chimney starter, simply fill it with charcoal and place some crumpled newspaper in the bottom chamber. Light the paper with a match or lighter and wait for about 15-20 minutes until all coals are glowing red hot before dumping them into your grill’s firebox.

If you’re using gas grills instead of charcoal ones, make sure that all burners are turned off before opening up its lid. Then turn on one burner at medium heat level while pressing down on its ignition button repeatedly until flames appear from beneath it; then adjust accordingly based on how much heat is needed for cooking your steak perfectly.

Preheating the Grill

Preheating ensures that the grill is hot enough to sear and cook the steak correctly. It also helps prevent sticking and makes cleaning easier.

To preheat your grill, turn on all burners to high heat for about 10-15 minutes with the lid closed. This process will help remove any leftover debris from previous grilling sessions while heating up every part of the cooking surface evenly.

Once you’ve finished preheating, use a wire brush or scraper tool to clean off any remaining debris from previous meals before placing your tomahawk steak on top of it.

Prepare the Steak For the Grill

First, remove the steak from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. This will help ensure that the meat cooks evenly throughout.

Next, trim any excess fat or silver skin from around the edges of the steak using a sharp knife. Leaving too much fat on can cause flare-ups on your grill and result in uneven cooking.

Once trimmed, season both sides of your tomahawk with salt and pepper or any other seasoning blend of your choice. Be sure to rub in all sides thoroughly so that every bite is packed with flavor.

Now that you’ve prepared your tomahawk steak for grilling let’s move onto lighting up our grill!

Direct and Indirect Grilling

There are two main grilling methods: direct and indirect heat. Direct heat is when the food is placed directly over the flames or hot coals, while indirect heat involves placing the food away from direct flames or coals.

For a thick cut of meat like a tomahawk steak, we recommend using both methods for optimal results. Start by searing each side of your steak over high direct heat for about 2-3 minutes per side to create that beautiful crust on top before moving it to an area with lower temperature (indirect) until reaching desired doneness.

Indirect grilling allows for even cooking throughout without burning any part of your meat while still giving enough time for flavors and juices to develop inside. This method also helps prevent flare-ups which can cause uneven charring on thicker cuts like this one.

Reverse Sear the Tomahawk

This technique involves cooking the steak at a low temperature first and then finishing it off with high heat for that perfect crust.

To reverse sear, place the seasoned tomahawk on the cooler side of your grill and cook until its internal temperature reaches around 115°F. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour depending on how thick your steak is.

Once you’ve reached this point, move the tomahawk over to direct heat and sear each side for about two minutes or until a beautiful crust forms. Be sure not to leave it too long as this can cause burning or charring.

Sear the Tomahawk Steak Over Direct Heat

This will create that beautiful crust on the outside of your tomahawk steak while keeping the inside juicy and tender.

To do this, move your steak directly over the hottest part of your grill. Sear each side for about 1-2 minutes or until you achieve a nice brown crust.

Use tongs to flip and maneuver your tomahawk around so that all sides get an even sear.

Remember not to leave it too long on one side as this can cause burning or charring which will ruin all those delicious flavors you’ve worked hard for!

Once done, remove from heat and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into thick pieces against the grain.

Grilling Guidelines

Firstly, make sure the grill is at the right temperature. For a tomahawk steak, we recommend heating the grill to around 450°F (230°C).

This high heat will give your steak that perfect sear on the outside while keeping it juicy and tender on the inside.

Next up is timing – how long should you cook each side? A general rule of thumb for a 2-inch thick tomahawk steak is about 6-8 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness. However, this can vary depending on factors such as grill temperature and thickness of meat.

It’s also important to avoid constantly flipping or moving around your steaks while they’re cooking – this can cause uneven cooking or loss of juices. Instead, let them cook undisturbed until ready to flip.

Lastly but most importantly: use an instant-read thermometer! Checking internal temperatures with an instant-read thermometer ensures accurate doneness levels without having to cut into precious meat too early in order not lose any juice from within.

Checking Steak Doneness

The last thing you want is an undercooked or overcooked steak that ruins the entire meal. There are several ways to check the doneness of a tomahawk steak, including using a meat thermometer or performing a touch test.

For accurate results, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching any bones and wait for it to display an internal temperature reading. Alternatively, use your fingers and press down on different parts of the steak while comparing its firmness with that of your palm when making different hand gestures (thumb-to-pinky).

This will give you an idea if it’s rare (soft), medium-rare (slightly soft), medium (firm but yielding) or well-done (very firm). Remember that cooking times may vary depending on factors such as grill heat intensity and thickness/weight of each cut so always double-check before removing from heat source.

By following these simple steps for checking doneness, you’ll be able to serve up perfectly cooked tomahawk steaks every time!

Resting the Steak

This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender steak.

To rest your tomahawk steak, remove it from the grill and place it on a cutting board or platter. Tent loosely with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

This will give you enough time to prepare any sides or sauces that you plan on serving with your delicious meal.

Resist the temptation of cutting into your juicy masterpiece right away! Cutting too soon can cause all those precious juices to escape onto your plate instead of staying inside where they belong.

Slicing and Serving

The first step is to remove the bone from the steak by cutting along its length with a sharp knife. Then, cut thin slices against the grain of the meat for maximum tenderness.

Arrange your slices on a platter and garnish with fresh herbs or lemon wedges for added flavor. Don’t forget to pour any juices that have accumulated during resting over the top of your sliced steak.

Serving suggestions include pairing with grilled vegetables or potatoes, but feel free to get creative! A classic chimichurri sauce or garlic butter can also be great accompaniments.

Delicious Side Dishes

While a perfectly grilled tomahawk steak can stand on its own, adding some tasty sides will take your meal to the next level. Some classic options include roasted vegetables like asparagus or Brussels sprouts, garlic mashed potatoes, and a fresh green salad with vinaigrette dressing.

For something more unique, try grilling up some corn on the cob or whipping up a batch of creamy macaroni and cheese. Don’t forget about drinks either! A bold red wine pairs perfectly with a rich tomahawk steak while an ice-cold beer can help cut through all that savory goodness.

With these mouthwatering side dish ideas in mind, you’re sure to impress your guests at your next BBQ gathering.

Pairing With Wine

The rich, bold flavors of the steak call for a full-bodied red wine that can stand up to its intensity. A classic Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is an excellent choice as they have enough tannins and acidity to complement the meat’s richness.

If you prefer something more robust, try a Syrah or Zinfandel that has spicy notes and fruity undertones. For those who like their wines on the sweeter side, opt for a Malbec or Shiraz with hints of blackberry and plum.

Remember always to serve your red wine at room temperature (around 60-65°F) so it can release all its aromas fully. And don’t forget about white wines! If you’re not into reds, Chardonnay pairs well with grilled steaks too.


How long does it take to grill a tomahawk steak?

It takes approximately 20-22 minutes to grill a 2-inch tomahawk steak, turning it about 1 minute before the halfway point, until a meat thermometer reads 130°F.

How do you grill a tomahawk steak on a gas grill?

To grill a tomahawk steak on a gas grill, place the steak away from direct heat once the internal grill temperature reaches 225 degrees, and grill in indirect heat for about 45 minutes while flipping every 10 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees for medium-rare doneness.

How to grill a 4 inch Tomahawk steak?

To grill a 4 inch Tomahawk steak, sear it on direct heat for 3-5 minutes per side with a quarter turn at 2 minutes for grill marks, then move to indirect heat for 10-25 minutes until the internal temperature is 5°F below the desired level.

What is the best seasoning mixture for a tomahawk steak before grilling?

The best seasoning mixture for a tomahawk steak before grilling is a combination of kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and fresh minced garlic.

At what temperature should you grill a tomahawk steak for optimal tenderness and flavor?

Grill a tomahawk steak at a temperature of around 400°F (204°C) for optimal tenderness and flavor.

How can you ensure even cooking when grilling a tomahawk steak?

To ensure even cooking when grilling a tomahawk steak, frequently rotate and flip the steak while monitoring the temperature.