a plate of steak and vegetables

How To Grill The Perfect Tomahawk Steak

Grilled tomahawk steak is the epitome of culinary excellence for steak lovers. Whether you're a seasoned grill master or a beginner, understanding how to grill tomahawk steak perfectly can elevate your backyard BBQs and impress your guests. In this guide, we'll delve into everything you need to know about grilling a tomahawk steak on both charcoal and gas grills, such as the Big Green Egg, and compare it to other cuts like the bone-in ribeye.

What is a Tomahawk Steak?

A tomahawk steak is essentially a ribeye beef steak specifically cut with at least five inches of rib bone left intact. The bone is French-trimmed, giving it a distinctive appearance that resembles a tomahawk axe. This dramatic presentation, rich marbling, and tenderness make it a show-stopping piece of meat.

Why Choose a Tomahawk Steak?

The tomahawk steak isn't just for show. Its long bone imparts extra flavor and helps the meat cook evenly. This cut is prized for its tenderness and beefy flavor, making it a favorite among steak enthusiasts. When grilled properly, the tomahawk steak offers an unparalleled juicy, melt-in-your-mouth experience.

How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak

Grilling a tomahawk steak can seem intimidating due to its size, but with the right technique, it's straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to grill a tomahawk steak to a perfect medium temperature.

Preparing Your Grill

  1. Choosing Your Grill: Whether using a charcoal grill like the Big Green Egg or a gas grill, ensure it's clean and preheated. For charcoal grills, arrange the coals on one side to create a two-zone cooking area.
  2. Preheating: Preheat your grill to a high temperature. For gas grills, this means turning all burners to high. For charcoal grills, let the coals get white-hot.

Preparing the Tomahawk Steak

  1. Seasoning: Season your tomahawk steak generously with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. Oil: Lightly oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.

Grilling the Steak

  1. Searing: Place the steak directly over the high heat zone to sear. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes until a golden-brown crust forms.
  2. Indirect Cooking: Move the steak to the cooler side of the grill (indirect heat). Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 130°F for medium-rare or 140°F for medium.
  3. Using a Thermometer: Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak to check the temperature without touching the bone.
  4. Resting: Once the steak reaches your desired temperature, remove it from the grill and rest for 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Comparing Bone-In Ribeye vs. Tomahawk Steak

When it comes to choosing between a bone-in ribeye and a tomahawk steak, it often boils down to presentation and cooking experience. Here are some key points to consider:

Bone-In Ribeye

  • Size and Presentation: The bone-in ribeye is smaller and more manageable but lacks the dramatic presentation of the tomahawk steak.
  • Flavor and Texture: Both cuts offer rich marbling and similar flavors. The bone-in ribeye is just as tender but without the extended bone.

Tomahawk Steak

  • Size and Presentation: The tomahawk steak is larger, making it perfect for special occasions and impressing guests with its striking appearance.
  • Flavor and Texture: The extended bone can enhance the flavor and help the steak cook more evenly. It's a bit more challenging to handle due to its size.

Tips for Perfectly Grilled Tomahawk Steak

  1. Temperature Control: Monitor the grill temperature closely. Fluctuations can affect cooking times and steak quality.
  2. Patience: Don't rush the cooking process. Let the steak cook slowly on indirect heat after searing.
  3. Resting: Always let your steak rest before slicing. This step is crucial for juicy, flavorful meat.

Serving Suggestions

A grilled tomahawk steak pairs wonderfully with various sides. Consider serving it with:

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy and rich, they complement the steak's robust flavor.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Simple and healthy, they balance the meal.
  • Red Wine Reduction: A rich sauce that enhances the steak's flavors.


Grilling a tomahawk steak to perfection is a culinary art that, when mastered, can elevate any meal to gourmet status. Whether you prefer the robust flavors imparted by a charcoal grill like the Big Green Egg or the convenience of a gas grill, following these steps ensures a tender, juicy, and flavorful steak every time. The key lies in proper preparation, temperature control, and patience.

Ready to Grill Your Own Tomahawk Steak?

Try these techniques at your next BBQ and impress your guests with a perfectly grilled tomahawk steak. Happy grilling!

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