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How To Grill A Tomahawk Steak: The Only Guide You'll Need

by Outdoor Cooking Pros September 30, 2021

How To Grill A Tomahawk Steak

Ready to take on the king of all steaks? Cooking tomahawk steaks can be daunting at first for chefs and grillers to cook perfectly.

After all, we are talking about a Tomahawk steak here. But we got your back! Thick steak is right up our alley!

After reading our step-by-step grill guide, your friends will be begging to know the secret to your Tomahawk tender steak success.

Steps on How to Grill a Tomahawk Steak

#1: Prepare the Steak

Since the Tomahawk steak is a thick cut, you'll need ample time to prepare it before cooking.

So here's a secret tip: Remove it from the freezer for about 24-48 hours BEFORE grilling to thaw it for extra tenderness.

Once you've thawed it completely,pat it dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisturethat's inside the steak. Doing this will make it juicier and tastier in the end result.

Season it generously with kosher salt and black pepper for taste. Since most of the seasoning will be stuck on the grill itself, don't be shy to put more salt and pepper on the steak.

Prepare the Steak

Make sure to season both sides of the steak as well as the edges to achieve maximum flavor.

Allow the steak to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. This ensures the seasonings have enough time to crawl and sink into every crevice of the steak for a flavorful result.

While waiting, you can set up your recipe and your grill.

#2: Prepare the Grill

You can prepare your grill temperature while waiting for your tomahawk steak to season.

If you're using gas grills, it will only take up 5-10 minutes of your time to pre-heat the steak. However, if you're using a charcoal grill, it might take even more time to get the heat rolling.

Before you set up your grill, remember these pointers:

  • For your grill, you should have 2 different heat zone areas set up - one side being high heat, around 500-550 degrees for a perfect quick sear (You can measure the heat of the grill with a meat thermometer as well).
  • The other side of the grill should be cooler where you will be cooking your steak nice and slow.

#3: Cooking the Steak

Now, it's time to grill your bad boy up.

Once the grill reaches the ideal grill temperature (high heat),place the steak directly on the grill and press it down for a sear. You should hear it sizzle all the way through.

If it's not sizzling, it's not searing; it's the basic rule when cooking steak.

After 2 minutes and 30 seconds, turn your steak to the other side and sear that part. Press it down for another 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

In total, you'd want to sear your steak in direct heat for a total of 5 minutes-2 minutes and 30 seconds on the main side and another to the other side.

Cooking the Steak

By the end of this, you should see grill marks and a nice sear on all sides of the steak. Once you've already done a sear, place the meat on the cooler side to be cook slowly

Insert your meat thermometer in the center of the steak to measure the right internal temperature.

Now, take your shallow aluminum pan and place the essential aromatics and flavor ingredients like:

  • Butter
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary (Optional)

NOTE: Feel free to add more spices to your tomahawk steak recipe. Just don't overdo it!

(Interested in experimenting with steak? See the best steaks for grilling here.)

Cooking Tips to Get the Best Results

Cooking Tips to Get the Best Results

  • Place a cast-iron pan on the grill, underneath the steak, so it can catch the drippings from the tomahawk steak (Trust us, you don't want the nutrition calories to go to waste)
  • From time to time,between 5-10 minutes, baste the contents of the pan all over the steak to cover the steak in its own flavor juices.
  • Ideally, your steak will be cooked in about 30 minutes of cooking time in low heat.
  • Usually, a professional chef follows the finger test to know the internal temperature of the steak if it already has perfect doneness. A lot of people prefer their steaks medium-rare, though.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the steak from your grill and place it on a plate. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes to lock in all of the flavor and juices inside.


Right in front of you is a beautifully grilled tomahawk steak.

What more to make it juicy other than to present it beautifully to your guests?

Presenting your juicy steak is really simple; just follow these steps:

  • Cut your steak along the rib bone line
  • Slice it into half inches thick
  • Lay it on a serving platter or wooden cutting board with chives, mashed potato, and gravy
  • Enjoy the feast!

Where Do You Get Tomahawk Steaks?

Ideally, you should buy Tomahawk ribeye steaks from your local butchers around town.

Who would not want to see their tomahawk cuts from the animal itself?

But if you don't have a local butcher around town, there are other ways to get fresh tomahawk cuts.

With the help of technology and social media[1], searching for a retailer is as easy as pie.

Snake River Farms and Holy Grail Steak are some of our recommended choices to procure your tomahawk steak. They only give out the best and highest quality beef you can cook in your kitchen. They  also offer some of the best cuts available such as:

  • Dry-Aged USDA Prime Tomahawk
  • American Wagyu Black Grade Tomahawk Ribeye Steak
  • Dry-Aged American Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye Steak

These tomahawk cuts areHUGE  steaks that leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and your guests.

You can also check out our comparison of Omaha Steaks vs Butcherbox.

Methods of Grilling a Tomahawk Steak

When you grill a tomahawk steak, you have to use an indirect grilling approach with a gas or charcoal grill to achieve perfection.

Indirect Grilling

Indirect grilling, as the name implies, cook steak with indirect high heat first before being placed in direct heat (similar to a reverse sear)

Indirect grilling can be done with a variety of foods, but as a reverse sear, it's more suited for thick cuts that are hard to achieve the desired doneness in one pan.

Indirect Grilling With a Gas Grill

If you're going to use a gas griller in cooking your steak, it's important to know what burner you should and shouldn't turn on.

For indirect grilling with gas grills, you will only light one burner. If your gas grill has three or more burners, just light one side of the burner andNEVER the middle one.

The steak will cook from the indirect heat that comes from the farthest burner.

Indirect Grilling With a Charcoal Grill

This will be a manual process but as easy and effective as a gas grill.  Once your charcoal is lit and heated by a lighter, you should set up a three-zone fire for your meat.

Place the lit charcoal on the left side of the grill, and push them with a heat-resistant tool to bundle them up for greater effect.

The middle and right sides will be left coal-less since this will be your indirect heat zone for your meat.

You can do a reverse searing method which will make you lay your tomahawk rib roast on a baking sheet in an oven.

Final Thoughts

Overall, grilling tomahawk steaks in a gas or charcoal grill is one of the best ways to cook it.

A grilled tomahawk steak is 10x juicier compared to a cooked steak in a cast-iron pan.

Learning how to grill a tomahawk steak is vital would even make it even tastier for the main course cuisine. With the right tools and recipe, you're sure to have the best dining experience with your tomahawk steak.

Happy grilling!

Expand your grilling knowledge today with more of our guides below:

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