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What Is A Tomahawk Steak?

While you may pick the tomahawk steak off the menu because you think that it sounds impressive – well, you would be right.

Known for its unique tomahawk hatchet shape, it has a large bone that sticks out to the side which makes it look breathtaking on any dinner plate.

When this cut of meat is cooked to perfection, it really is a wonderful sight as it sizzles before your eyes. After seeing it for the first time myself, I was hooked not only on its presentation, but its flavor too.

It is usually quite a hefty chunk of meat that is taken from the rib of a cow, with people often comparing it to the likes of Fred Flinstone sitting in his cave and gnawing at the meat with his hands.

In this article I shall explain all you need to know about the tomahawk steak, from cooking tips and what the meat is like in more detail, to why it is different from a regular ribeye steak. 

What are you waiting for? Let’s go!

So, What Actually Is A Tomahawk Steak?

The tomahawk steak is, to put it simply, a ribeye that has the bone left in. Usually it is the meat that is found in the middle of the sixth and the twelfth ribs of a cow. 

Once removed from the cow’s carcass, the bone can reach up to 20cm in length, but it is trimmed to somewhere under 10cm.

Can you imagine if the bone was still 20cm on your dinner plate?

The name has two meanings: one is that it looks like a hatchet due its meat shape with the bone. Secondly, it is referred to as a tomahawk due to being named after the North American bird.

It is said that the meat laid flat looks like the Native American tomahawk. 

Why Eat A Tomahawk Steak?

Yeah, maybe you could just pick the regular ribeye steak, but you would be missing out on the tomahawk’s delicious butteriness, and its super tender meat.

The reason for this is because naturally, the cow collects a lot of intramuscular fats at this point of its body.

This creates that wonderful marble effect of the white and fleshy red that we are accustomed to when it comes to a premium steak like the tomahawk (and other rib-based meats). 

However, it appears in abundance on the tomahawk steak, adding to its silky buttery flavor and rich meaty taste.   

Often they are matured for more than 20 days which makes this cut of meat extra tender and delicious. Do I really need to say any more?

How Does A Tomahawk Steak Differ From A Regular Ribeye?

How Does A Tomahawk Steak Differ From A Regular Ribeye?

If you are eyeing up a regular ribeye steak and a tomahawk steak, then you might be confused about what the differences are. They are both steaks taken from the same part of a cowWagyu Beef vs Normal Beef: Which One is Better for You?, so what actually makes them so different?

One of the most noticeable differences between them both is the fact the tomahawk steak has a bone that extends from the meat.

While it does not add any particular extra flavoring to the meat itself, it is a distinctive feature of the tomahawk. 

It also looks truly impressive when it arrives on a plate and is given to you at the table. 

Also, the other difference is the size of the ribeye steaks. The tomahawk is noticeably much bigger and can weigh up to around 45 ounces. It is also much thicker, and will leave you wonderfully full and satisfied. 

Why Is A Tomahawk Steak So Expensive?

If you have happened to have been to the butcher shop recently and noticed that the tomahawk steak has an eye wateringly expensive price tag compared to a regular ribeye you bought from your local grocery store, then you obviously will want to know the reason why.

Tomahawk steak is a premium cut of beef, and the final price of steak all comes down to the overall quality of the tomahawk, and the butcher shop that is selling it.

This means that it might be expensive in one place, but a little more reasonable elsewhere.

However, it is completely different to the cheaper cuts of meat that you will find at the grocery store. The price includes the weight, the ultra premium quality of the beef, and the company which you are buying it from.

However, do keep in mind that a lot of the weight from a tomahawk comes from the bone, rather than the meat. So there is a chance that you may be paying for something you cannot eat.

Here is an example of prices online. The Chicago Steak Company is selling their tomahawk ribeye steak for $269.99. Even so, there are other expensive ribeyes available, such as the wagyu beef ribeye for $577.99.

Now the tomahawk steak is starting to sound more reasonable, right?

How Do You Cook A Tomahawk Steak Using An Oven?

If you have spent some hard earned dollars on a tomahawk steak, then you are going to find it incredibly daunting when it comes to cooking it. One of the easiest ways is to use the oven to give the steak a slower roast.

  • Remove the tomahawk from its packaging and pat it dry with a kitchen towel. Once done, sit it on a plate at room temperature for the next hour.
  • Once time has passed, wrap bone in foil and put the oven to 250 Fahrenheit.
  • In a skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Once hot, sear the steak till well brown for 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Put in the oven. Rare – 45 minutes. Medium rare – 45-50 minutes. Medium – 50-55 minutes. Allow it to rest for around 15 minutes once out of the oven. 

Final Thoughts

A tomahawk steak looks incredibly impressive on a dinner plate due to not only its size, but the distinctive bone sticking out from the meat. It’s a premium cut that is rather expensive, too!



Richard is the founder of SteakBuff. He manages the team of expert writers on the site and is a foodie who loves eating steaks

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