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Reverse Seared Tomahawk Steak

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This ultimate guide to achieving the perfect reverse seared tomahawk steak will elevate your grilling game and impress your guests. Learn Pitmaster tips and tricks for success!

Reverse-Seared-Tomahawk-Steak

Most steak enthusiasts know that when it comes to indulgence and beefy flavor, a tomahawk steak is the first choice. However, many backyard cooks struggle with the traditional methods of cooking tomahawks. That is understandable, considering the immense size of them. Our best advice is to reverse sear these steaks by cooking them low and slow first and then searing them when they’re almost done. If you’re interested in finding the right internal temperature for your steak, please read our steak temperature guide.

What is a tomahawk steak?

A tomahawk steak is simply a thick-cut ribeye steak. However, ribeyes contain a short bone, or the bone is removed entirely. That is not the case with tomahawks. These impressive looking steaks are connected to a sizeable French-cut long bone, giving it a distinctive axe-shaped appearance. Tomahawks are quite thick (2-3 inches or more) and best suited for low and slow roasting, grilling, and sous vide cooking.

Traditional Sear vs. Reverse Sear

The traditional sear includes searing the steak first, followed by slow roasting afterward. This approach does not work well for tomahawk steaks because of their immense size. However, the reverse sear method is! The process starts with cooking the steak low and slow via grill, smoker, or sous vide, then searing it over high temperature to form a golden brown crust. Reverse searing ensures that the meat cooks evenly, resulting in a tender, delicious steak.

The recommended doneness for a tomahawk steak is medium-rare, with an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees F. However, due to additional heat from searing and carry-over heat during resting, it’s best to reverse sear the steak when it reaches an internal temperature between 118-120 degrees F. 

tomahawk on charcoal grill-steak

Ingredients

  • 2 tomahawk steaks
  • Sea salt or Argentinian salt
  • Black pepper (fresh cracked or 16-gauge)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder

You can also try our Tomahawk Steak Rub! You can also use your favorite bottled beef rub.

How long does it take to cook a tomahawk steak at 250 degrees F?

Depending on the type of cooking equipment being used, it can take anywhere from 45-60 minutes for tomahawk steaks to reach an internal temperature of 120-125 degrees F. This time frame does not include sous vide usage. 

Sous vide method

Prepare your sous vide water bath for 130 degrees F. Package the sous vide according to the manufacturer’s instruction, and submerge the steaks for 3-4 hours if thawed and 6+ hours if frozen. After the water bath, remove the steaks from the packaging, season them, and then sear them as instructed.

two-zone-set-up-n-charcoal-grill

Tomahawk ribeye steaks – reversed sear method

  • Prepare your grill or smoker to 250 degrees F. Set up a two-zone fire (banking coals on one side) for indirect cooking if using a charcoal unit. Use either pecan or cherry wood for this recipe.
  • Brush steaks oil or Worcestershire sauce. Combine seasonings in a bowl and apply evenly on the steaks. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  • Place steaks on the grill grates (or the indirect cooking side of your charcoal grill), close the lid, and cook for 45-60 minutes, or until the steak’s internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F.
  • Pellet grill searing method: Remove the tomahawk steak and increase the heat of your grill to 500 degrees. Once up to temperature, place the steak back on the grill and sear for 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Charcoal grill searing method: Move steaks over direct heat and sear for 2-3 minutes per side or until it forms a rich brown crust.

Carving

  • Resting and carving: Transfer steaks to a clean cutting board. Let them rest for 10 minutes. Carve, serve, and enjoy!.
  • Leftovers: Store leftover tomahawk steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for four days. Freeze in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 2 months. Reheat in a skillet on your stovetop.
sliced-steak

Recipe quick tips

  • Thaw frozen steaks overnight in the refrigerator. If they are thick, plan on 12-18 hours of thawing time.
  • Let steaks stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking.
  • Apply a binder, like Worcestershire sauce, on the meat before applying the seasonings.
  • Use cherry or pecan wood chunks, chips, or pellets, or a mixture of the two for a moderate smoke flavor.
  • Have a reliable meat thermometer handy so you can pull the steaks at the right time.
  • Use a cast iron skillet for building a delicious crust on the reverse seared tomahawk steak.
  • Let the steaks rest for at least 10 minutes, but up to 20 minutes. Trust that you’ll be rewarded for your patience.
  • Slice the eye of the steak away from the bone, then slice into 1/2″ thick pieces.
  • Don’t forget to use those amazing juices by pouring them onto the steak before serving.

Best side dishes for tomahawk steaks

tomahawk on charcoal grill-steak

Reverse Seared Tomahawk Steak

Need a recipe for reverse seared tomahawk steaks? You've come to the right place. These steaks are cooked low and slow then seared over screaming hot temps for a nice finish.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: pellet grill tomahawk steaks, reverse seared tomahawk steaks, tomahawk steaks
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 6 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 16 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 235kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tomahawk steaks about 2" thick
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce binder
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup softened butter for resting

Instructions

  • Preheat grill for 250 degrees F, or set up a two-zone fire for indirect cooking.
    While grill is heating, remove steaks from fridge and let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Brush steaks on both sides with Worcestershire sauce. Season with 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt per steak, then equal amounts of black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
    Let stand stand for 10 minutes.
  • Place steaks on the grill (or the indirect, cooler part of grill). close lid, and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees F in the thickest part of the steak.
  • If you are using a pellet grill, remove the steaks, and increase the heat of your grill to 500 degrees. Once it comes up to temp, place the steaks back onto the grill and sear them for 2 minutes per side.
    If using a charcoal or gas grill, simply move steaks over direct heat and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, or until it forms a nice crust.
  • Remove steaks from grill, and place them onto a clean cutting board. Spoon on 1-2 tablespoons of softened butter per steak. Let them rest 10-15 minutes,
    Carve meat away from bone, slice and serve.
  • Store leftover steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days. Freeze in vacuum-sealed bags for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 3626mg | Potassium: 263mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 258IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg

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