Cooking Tomahawk Ribeye: A Delicious Guide

If a sizzling, juicy steak is what you crave, a Tomahawk ribeye should be at the top of your list. This cut of meat is not only visually impressive, with its long bone still intact, but it also provides a full and rich flavor that carnivores can’t resist. With a little know-how and some careful preparation, cooking the perfect Tomahawk ribeye is within reach. So, let’s dive in and learn how to create a mouth-watering masterpiece.

Cooking Tomahawk Ribeye: A Delicious Guide | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Tomahawk Ribeye: A Delicious Guide

What is a Tomahawk Ribeye?

If you are a steak lover, you may have already heard about the Tomahawk Ribeye – a huge piece of meat that has been skyrocketing in popularity. As its name suggests, the Tomahawk Ribeye is the ribeye steak with an extra-long bone left on the meat, resembling a tomahawk axe. But what makes this cut of beef so special?

History of Tomahawk Ribeye

The Tomahawk Ribeye’s origin can be traced back to the late 19th century in America, where cowboys used to cook meat over an open flame as a way to get food while working on the ranch. Back then, ribeye steaks with the bone still attached were the common choice for grilling because of their flavor and tenderness. The Tomahawk Ribeye, as we know it today, gained its name and popularity only recently – around 2000 – when a steakhouse in New York City started to serve it as a premium cut to attract customers.

What Makes Tomahawk Ribeye Unique

What truly distinguishes the Tomahawk Ribeye is its colossal size and distinctive bone handle. Depending on the cow, a single Tomahawk Ribeye can weigh up to three pounds, making it the perfect choice for sharing with a group of people (or for those with a very big appetite). The bone, left attached to the meat, gives the steak more flavor during cooking and adds an element of presentation to the dish. When cooked right, the Tomahawk Ribeye can be juicy, tender, and flavorsome, which is why so many steak enthusiasts are willing to pay a premium price for it.

What are the Best Cuts of Tomahawk Ribeye?

Tomahawk Ribeye is a well-marbled, juicy, and flavorful cut known for its impressive size and unique bone-in shape. It’s perfect for impressing guests or treating yourself to a delicious steak dinner. However, with different grades and cuts available, it can be overwhelming to determine which one to choose for your cooking needs. In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of Tomahawk Ribeye and recommend the best ways to cook them for maximum flavor.

Grades of Tomahawk Ribeye

The USDA grades beef based on maturity, marbling, and color. The three grades of Tomahawk Ribeye are Prime, Choice, and Select. Prime is the highest quality and has the most marbling, making it the most flavorful. Choice is a step down from Prime, but still has a good amount of marbling and flavor. Select is the lowest grade and has the least amount of marbling, making it the least flavorful but also more affordable.

Cuts of Tomahawk Ribeye

Tomahawk Ribeye is typically cut from the rib section of the steer and includes the long rib bone. The thickness of the cut can vary, ranging from 1.5 to 2 inches. The most common cuts are:

  • Whole Tomahawk Ribeye: This cut includes the entire rib bone and is ideal for roasting or smoking. It’s perfect for sharing and serves four to six people.
  • Double Bone-In Ribeye: This cut is similar to a Whole Tomahawk Ribeye but includes only two bones. It’s perfect for grilling and serves two to three people.
  • Boneless Ribeye: This cut doesn’t include the bone and is perfect for pan-searing or broiling. It’s available in various sizes and is perfect for individual servings.

When choosing a cut, consider the cooking method you’d like to use. Whole Tomahawk Ribeye and Double Bone-In Ribeye are best for slow and indirect heat methods, such as roasting or smoking, because of their thickness. Boneless Ribeye is best for quick and high heat methods, such as pan-searing or broiling, because it cooks faster.

What are the Best Seasonings for Tomahawk Ribeye?

If you want to take your Tomahawk Ribeye to the next level, seasoning is key. Here are some of the best seasonings to try:

1. Salt and Pepper

The classic duo of salt and pepper enhances the natural flavor of Tomahawk Ribeye without overwhelming it. Be generous with both and season the meat from all sides.

2. Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to add depth and complexity to your Tomahawk Ribeye. Some popular options include:

  • Rosemary: a woody and aromatic herb that pairs well with beef. Try chopping it finely and rubbing it on the steak before cooking.
  • Thyme: a versatile herb with a subtle flavor that complements beef. Use it fresh or dried, alone or in combination with other herbs.
  • Cumin: a spice with a warm, earthy flavor that adds depth to beef. Sprinkle it on the steak before cooking or use it in your marinade.
  • Paprika: a mild and sweet spice that adds color and flavor to your Tomahawk Ribeye. Use it in moderation to avoid overpowering the other seasonings.

3. Sauces and Marinades

If you want to add a burst of flavor to your Tomahawk Ribeye, consider using a sauce or marinade. Here are some options to try:

  1. Barbecue sauce: a tangy and sweet sauce that pairs well with beef. Brush it on the steak during the last few minutes of cooking.
  2. Teriyaki sauce: a savory and sweet sauce that adds an Asian twist to your Tomahawk Ribeye. Marinate the steak for at least an hour before cooking.
  3. Chimichurri sauce: a fresh and herbaceous Argentinian sauce that complements beef perfectly. Drizzle it over the steak before or after cooking.

What are the Best Cooking Techniques for Tomahawk Ribeye?

Tomahawk Ribeye is a stunning meat cut with its signature shape that resembles a tomahawk. This cut has a thick layer of fat marbled throughout its beautiful meaty texture, making it an excellent choice for grilling. With the right cooking technique, you can achieve the perfect Tomahawk Ribeye that is juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. Here are the four best cooking techniques for Tomahawk Ribeye:


Grilling is the most popular method for cooking Tomahawk Ribeye. It is a simple technique that requires a high heat source such as a gas or charcoal grill. To achieve the perfect grill flavor, use hardwood like hickory, mesquite, or oak. Before grilling, season the steak with salt, pepper, and any other favorite spices. Grill on high heat for about six to eight minutes per side, depending on your preferred level of doneness, for a mouthwatering ribeye.


Smoking is an excellent way to cook Tomahawk Ribeye to achieve a tender, smoky flavor that permeates the meat. To achieve the perfect Tomahawk Ribeye cooked via smoking, select hardwood like mesquite, hickory, or oak. Before smoking, season with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the smoker at 110°C to 120°C and smoke it for roughly two to three hours until preferred temperature is reached, typically between 52°C to 63°C for the medium-rare level of doneness.


Reverse-searing is a cooking technique that involves slow roasting the Tomahawk Ribeye in low heat before searing it for a crispy exterior. Start by seasoning the steak with salt and pepper. To cook it, preheat the oven to 105°C. Place steak to cook slowly for an hour to ninety minutes until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 49°C to 52°C. Afterward settle steak on preheated pan with oil or butter and give each side a minute or two until the meat is deeply caramelized.

Sous vide

Sous vide is a French technique for cooking steak in a vacuum-packaging bag. This method is perfect for busy people who want to achieve the perfect Tomahawk Ribeye without any constant involvement. Simply season the steak with salt, pepper, garlic, and any other favorite seasonings in a vacuum bag and seal it tightly. Set the desired temperature to 52°C for a medium-rare steak and sink it into the pot of water held at the same temperature. Wait for one and a half hours to three and a half hour, then remove steak from the water and pat dry. Finally, sear the steak for a minute to two per side for a crispy finish.

How Do You Know When a Tomahawk Ribeye is Cooked Perfectly?

Cooking the perfect Tomahawk Ribeye can be a challenging task, especially if you are doing it for the first time. The subtle differences between rare, medium-rare, and well-done can be the difference between a delicious steak and a wasted meal. There are several foolproof methods that you can use to determine if your Tomahawk Ribeye is cooked perfectly.

Method 1: Meat Thermometer

Using a meat thermometer is the most reliable method for determining the doneness of your steak. You should use it early and often. The ideal temperature for a medium-rare Tomahawk Ribeye is between 130°F and 135°F (54°C to 57°C). A well-done Tomahawk Ribeye requires a temperature of 160°F (71°C).

Method 2: Internal color and texture

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can still determine the doneness of your Tomahawk Ribeye using your eyes and senses. One way to do this is to check the internal color of the steak. A medium-rare Tomahawk Ribeye should have a deep pink center with a slightly browned (but not burnt) outside. The texture should feel like the base of your thumb when it’s pressed and relaxed.

Method 3: Touch Test

If you don’t have a meat thermometer and can’t check the internal color, the touch test is another good option. To do this, press the center of the steak with the tip of your finger. A rare Tomahawk Ribeye will feel spongy and soft, while a medium-rare steak feels a bit more firm, like the base of your thumb when it’s pressed and relaxed. A well-done Tomahawk Ribeye should feel firm and almost hard.

Method 4: Time

You can also use time as an indicator of doneness, but this isn’t an exact science. The ideal time for a Tomahawk Ribeye is 12-14 minutes on a grill or in the broiler. Other factors such as heat and thickness can affect cooking time.

Method 5: Visual indicators

Another way to determine if your Tomahawk Ribeye is cooked perfectly is by observing visual indicators. A medium-rare steak should have a slightly browned (but not burnt) outside with a deep pink center. A rare steak will have a bright red center and a seared outside, while a well-done steak has a dark-brown, almost black outside with no visible pink.

What are Some Delicious Side Dishes to Serve with Tomahawk Ribeye?

Treat yourself and your guests to a perfect steakhouse meal by serving flavorful side dishes that complement your Tomahawk Ribeye. Whether you prefer classic or creative options, there are side dishes that can bring the right flavor to the table. Here are some of the best side dishes that will make your Tomahawk Ribeye experience a memorable one:

Creamed Spinach

No steakhouse meal is complete without creamed spinach. The creamy flavor and the balance of savory and salty taste of spinach make it the perfect side dish for Tomahawk Ribeye. You can put your spin on this classic side dish by adding a bit of cheese or nutmeg to elevate the taste.

Loaded Baked Potatoes

Another classic side dish that pairs perfectly with Tomahawk Ribeye is loaded baked potatoes. This mouthwatering dish is a filling addition to your meal that adds just the right amount of texture and richness. You can mix things up by adding bacon bits, chives, sour cream, or cheese and create your take on this classic side dish.

Grilled Asparagus

If you’re searching for a vegetable side dish that complements the taste of Tomahawk Ribeye, look no further than grilled asparagus. The smoky and juicy flavors of grilled asparagus add a new dimension to your meal. To enhance the taste, you can add a bit of lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, or wrap it in bacon for extra flavor.

Roasted Root Vegetables

If you prefer slightly sweet taste in side dishes, roasted root vegetables are an excellent option. The combination of sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and butternut squash, roasted with herbs and spices, adds a unique texture and flavor to your meal. You can create your blend by mixing and matching vegetables and herbs.

Crispy Onion Rings

For those who love to combine texture and flavor, crispy onion rings are the perfect side dish to pair with Tomahawk Ribeye. The crispy and salty flavor of these onion rings adds a new dimension to your meal. You can dip them in ranch or spicy sauce, or any of your favorites.

Mushroom Sauté

Mushroom enthusiasts, this one’s for you. The rich and earthy flavor of sautéed mushrooms adds a new level of taste and aroma to your meal. You can add garlic and herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano for added flavor.

Thanks for Reading! Come Back for More!

Now that you have all the information you need to cook a delicious tomahawk ribeye, it’s time to grab a steak and get cooking! Remember to let the meat sit out, season it properly, and cook it to your desired temperature. And don’t forget, the most important ingredient is love! We hope you enjoyed our guide and come back for more mouth-watering recipes.

Cooking Tomahawk Ribeye: A Delicious Guide

Learn how to cook a delicious tomahawk ribeye with our easy guide. Perfect for any occasion and sure to impress your guests!

  • 1 tomahawk ribeye steak (2 inches thick)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  1. Take the steak out of the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking, so it can come up to room temperature. This will ensure that the steak cooks evenly.
  2. Season the steak generously on both sides with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Rub the seasoning into the meat so it sticks well.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once it starts to smoke, add the steak to the pan and sear it on one side for 4-5 minutes, until it develops a nice brown crust.
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme to the pan. Use a spoon to baste the steak with the butter and herb mixture as it melts.
  5. After 4-5 minutes, flip the steak with a pair of tongs and sear the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
  6. Continue to baste the steak with the butter and herb mixture for another minute or two. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the steak is cooked to your desired temperature (120°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium, 150°F for medium-well, and 160°F for well-done). Once done, remove the steak from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
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