Tomhawk steak served with chimichurri sauce

The Perfect Reverse Sear Tomahawk Steak Recipe

Ever wanted to have a Tomahawk steak at home but felt overwhelmed by its size?

Perfect Reverse Sear Tomahawk steak sliced

Here is a quick and simple reverse sear tomahawk steak recipe, which is much easier to make at home than you think.

There’s something undeniably impressive about serving a tomahawk steak, with its long rib bone extending like a handle and a generous cut of ribeye steak at the end, perfectly cooked to be tender and juicy.

However, achieving that perfect seared steak that is balanced with a crispy exterior and a succulent, medium-rare interior can seem daunting. That’s where the reverse sear method comes into play, transforming cooking into an art form, ensuring your tomahawk steak is seared to perfection every time.

Dinner party with guests cheering

Here is what you need to know before starting

Understanding the basics of the tomahawk steak is crucial before you begin. Essentially, a tomahawk steak is a ribeye beef steak specifically cut with at least five inches of rib bone left intact, enhancing its flavor and presentation.

This steak is known for its rich marbling and thick cut, contributing to its buttery texture and intense flavor. The key to perfecting this dish lies in managing the fat content and cooking it in a way that respects its quality.

Before firing up your grill or smoker, ensure you have all the necessary kit to make the cooking process streamlined and stress-free. Whether you’re using a pellet grill, a traditional gas grill, or a smoker, the method remains relatively consistent, but the choice of equipment can affect the flavor.

For example, a pellet grill using oak wood can add a unique smoky flavor that’s hard to achieve with a gas grill. You’ll also need a reliable meat thermometer, which is crucial for monitoring the steak’s internal temperature to ensure it reaches your desired doneness without overcooking.

Tomahawk steak

Ingredients and Prep

To begin, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 tomahawk steak (approximately 2-3 pounds)

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Two tablespoons of unsalted butter

  • Fresh garlic cloves, minced

  • Optional: fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme

Preparation Steps:

  1. Temper your steak (bring to room temperature): Remove the tomahawk steaks from the fridge and let them sit out until they reach room temperature, about 45 minutes to an hour. This step is crucial for ensuring the steak cooks evenly.

  2. Season Generously: Season the entire surface of the steak, including the rib bone, liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you’re using herbs and garlic, mix them with softened butter and apply this mixture over the steak to enhance its flavor profile.

  3. Preheat Your Grill or Smoker: While your steak is coming to temperature, preheat your cooking device to a low temperature for the initial slow cooking phase. If using a smoker, you might opt for wood chips that complement beef, such as oak or hickory, to infuse the meat with a subtle smokiness.

These initial steps set the stage for the reverse sear process, where the slow cook and subsequent sear at high heat will translate into a beautifully cooked steak that’s hard to match with other cooking techniques. Ensuring your tomahawk steak is prepared and cooked with care will optimize the flavor and texture and turn your meal into an unforgettable experience.

Preparing tomahawk steaks

Step by Step Instructions to Reverse Sear Method

Step 1: Low and Slow Cook

Begin by cooking your tomahawk steak using the low-and-slow method. Set your grill or smoker to maintain a temperature of about 225°F (107°C). Place the steak on the grill grates away from direct heat for indirect cooking. Close the lid and let the steak cook slowly.

This method allows the heat to penetrate deeply without overcooking the exterior, ensuring even cooking through the thick cut. Monitor the internal temperature closely; you aim for about 115-120°F (46-49°C) for a perfect medium rare. This process typically takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the steak’s thickness and the exact heat of your grill.

Step 2: Resting Time

Once your steak reaches the target internal temperature, remove it from the grill and rest for 10-15 minutes. Resting is crucial as it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring that every bite is as juicy and flavorful as possible. Cover the steak loosely with foil during this time to keep it warm without continuing the cooking process.

Step 3: High Heat Sear

After the steak has rested, it’s time to sear it. Increase the heat of your grill or heat a separate section to high heat—about 500°F (260°C) or more. Place the steak directly over the high heat to sear. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until it develops a rich, golden-brown crust. The high heat will crisp the exterior, contrasting the tender, evenly cooked interior.

High heat seared steak

Achieving Desired Doneness

Cooking the perfect steak largely depends on hitting the right internal temperature. Here’s a quick guide to help you achieve your preferred doneness:

Rare: 120-130°F (49-54°C) internal temperature

Medium Rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C) internal temperature

Medium: 135-145°F (57-63°C) internal temperature

Medium Well: 145-155°F (63-68°C) internal temperature

Well Done: 155-165°F (68-74°C) and above internal temperature

Medium rare tomahawk steak sliced

Remember that there will be a slight temperature rise even after you remove the steak from the grill, especially during the resting phase. Pulling the steak off the heat about 5°F (3°C) before it reaches the desired final temp to account for this carryover cooking is generally recommended.

When aiming for the perfect medium rare, pull your tomahawk steak off the heat when the internal temp is about 130°F (54°C), and it will rise to about 135°F (57°C) after resting. Adjust your timings and temperatures according to the thickness of the steak and the specific heat of your cooking setup for the best results.

Tomahawk steak served on chopping board

Serving Your Tomahawk Steak

Once your tomahawk steak has achieved the perfect sear and rested properly, it’s ready to be served. You’ll want to slice it properly to present it at its best. Start by cutting off the long rib bone (which you can set aside for a dramatic presentation).

Slice the steak against the grain into thick slices to ensure each piece is as tender as possible. This method cuts through the muscle fibers, instead of along them, making the meat easier to chew and enhancing its natural tenderness.

Serve the medium rare steak on a warm plate or wooden board for a rustic appeal. Complement your tomahawk steak with side dishes such as roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, or a simple arugula salad with lemon and olive oil.

Served tomahawk steak on wooden board

Extra Helpful Tips and Tricks I’ve Learnt

Cooking a tomahawk steak using the reverse sear method can be an awesome experience, and here are a few extra tips to ensure every aspect of your meal turns out perfectly:

Flare-Up Management: When searing your steak over high heat, keep an eye on fat drippings, which can cause flare-ups. Have a spray bottle of water handy to douse any unexpected flames.

Using Wood Chips: For added flavor, use wood chips in your smoker or grill. Oak wood chips are particularly good with beef as they impart a subtle, smoky flavor that isn’t overpowering.

Seasoning Options: While salt and pepper are classic, adding dried herbs like thyme or a touch of smoked paprika can elevate the flavor of your steak. I tend to add these to the steak before the low-and-slow cooking method starts to infuse the flavors. For extra flavor, try dry brining your steak.

Resting: Don’t skimp on the resting time. Cutting into that juicy steak right off the grill might be tempting, but allowing it to rest will make a noticeable difference in juiciness and overall flavor.

Tomahawk steak on wooden board

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the best tomahawk steak?

Look for a tomahawk steak with a bright red color, ample marbling, and a thick cut. The fat should be creamy white, indicating good quality. Preferably, choose USDA Prime or Choice Grades for the best experience. If you are really looking to indulge, nothing beats a Wagyu cut of beef.

Can I cook a tomahawk steak in the oven?

You can use the oven for the low and slow cooking phase. Set your oven to 225°F and place the steak on a rack over a baking sheet. Use a meat thermometer to monitor its internal temperature, then sear it in a hot skillet.

What if I don’t have a grill or smoker?

If you don’t have outdoor cooking equipment, you can still achieve great results with a cast-iron skillet and oven. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, alternative cooking pans work great too.

What is the difference between a tomahawk steak and a ribeye steak

The total time can vary based on steak thickness and starting temperature, but generally, the low and slow phase takes about 45 minutes to an hour, followed by a few minutes per side for searing.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when cooking a tomahawk steak?

Overcooking is a common mistake, so always use a meat thermometer to avoid going past your desired doneness. Another mistake is improper resting, resulting in a loss of juices and a less flavorful steak. Lastly, avoid moving the steak too much during searing to get a well-developed crust, as it will prevent getting a beautifully seared steak.

Tomhawk steak served with chimichurri sauce

Before you go

Mastering the reverse sear method with a tomahawk steak can test your cooking skills, but if done right, you can guarantee a meal that’s as impressive in presentation as it is in taste.

For more insights on perfecting your cooking techniques and delicious recipes, sign up for our newsletter and stay updated with the latest from Abel Ruddachew’s kitchen.

Similar Posts