Frying, cooking to grilling
The Tomahawk steak is one of the steaks that impresses in terms of appearance. It actually looks like an axe.
But what is it exactly? What part of the beef does it come from? And how do you cook a Tomahawk steak? In this article we answer all these questions.
What is tomahawk steak?
The tomahawk steak has a thick piece of meat of at least 5 cm. There is a bone between 15 and 20 cm long. In its entirety it weighs about 1.2 kg. It’s also called cowboy steak.
The tomahawk comes from the thick and fine rib in the prime rib. This part consists of a rack of seven ribs. The bones are slightly curved and are 15 to 20 cm long up to the folding rib. On the bones themselves there is little meat.
Most of the meat is between the bones. Other steaks cut from this part are: the sirloin steak, prime rib and rib eye. In fact, a tomahawk is the same as a ribeye but with a long piece of bone attached.
The tomahawk steak has a lot of intramuscular fat. You can recognize this fat by the white veins that run through the meat and is also called fat marbling. Intramuscular fat keeps the muscle flexible. It’s important for the tenderness and intense flavor of the steak.
The more fat, the more tender and juicier the meat will be. The amount of intramuscular fat depends, among other things, on the breed, diet and lifestyle of the cow. The meat of grain-fed cattle contains more fat than grass-fed cattle.
How to cook tomahawk steak?
You can cook a tomahawk steak both in the oven and on the barbecue. We prefer cooking it on the barbecue, because then you can get a nice smoky flavor to the meat.
Due to the size and thickness of the meat, you can cook a tomahawk using two heat zones. By using two heat zones, you can grill the meat at a high temperature, so that the outside gets a nice brown crust. You can then slowly cook the meat at a lower temperature to the correct core temperature.
An important step in cooking the tomahawk steak is letting the meat rest. After the meat has reached the correct core temperature, cover it loosely with aluminum foil. This allows the meat juices to distribute well throughout the meat, resulting in a juicy steak.
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Preparing the meat
Chances are the tomahawk steak is vacuum packed or even frozen. If frozen, refrigerate it for two days before cooking. This allows it to thaw slowly. This is important for the quality of the meat. If you thaw it in hot water, the cells can break down and the quality will deteriorate due to moisture loss.
Take the steak out of the refrigerator an hour in advance and let it come to room temperature. Make sure that the fat is completely removed from the long bone, otherwise you will get burn marks. That’s also the reason that some people wrap the bone in aluminum foil.
If you’re going to cook the tomahawk steak in the oven, you’ll need to grill it in a skillet first. If you have a cast iron pan, you can also use that. Cook the meat in the pan first and then place the cast iron pan in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 200℃.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. Grill both sides over medium heat for a few minutes, so that they’re nicely browned.
- Place the tomahawk steak on the grid and slide it into the oven. Leave it in the oven for about 15 minutes until it has reached the right cuisson.
- Remove the steak from the oven and let it rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes.
- Now we’re going to carve the meat. That’s cutting meat into even pieces. To do this, first cut the meat lengthwise from the bone, so that you remove the long bone. Then you slice the meat in the opposite direction, so perpendicular to the bone.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper before serving.
To grill the tomahawk steak on the barbecue, it’s important to work with two heat zones. We’re going to grill the meat directly for a few minutes first. Then we let it cook slowly on a less hot zone; indirect grilling.
- Prepare the barbecue for direct grilling. Maintain a working temperature of 225-250 ℃.
- Brush the steak lightly with oil just before grilling.
- Place the meat on the grill. Grill both sides for a few minutes, so that they brown nicely. Turn them a quarter turn to get a nice diamond pattern.
- Move the meat to a less hot zone. Maintain a working temperature of about 125℃. Let the meat cook slowly until it has reached the right cuisson or core temperature.
- Remove the ]steak from the barbecue and let it rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes.
- Now we’re going to carve the meat. That is cutting meat into even pieces. To do this, first cut the meat lengthwise from the bone, so that you remove the long bone. Then you slice the meat in the opposite direction, so perpendicular to the bone.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper before serving.
Recipe: Grilled tomahawk with béarnaise sauce and little gem
Grilled tomahawk with béarnaise sauce and grilled little gem
- 1 tomahawk of about 1 000 grams
- 3 heaped tbsp of barbecue rub
- 2 pcs of little gems
- a splash of olive oil
- 2 dl béarnaise sauce
- a splash of sunflower oil
- pepper freshly ground
- fleur de sel
- Take the tomahawk out of the fridge about half an hour before cooking, pat the meat dry and sprinkle it generously with your favorite barbecue rub. Press the rub well into the meat and season with fleur de sel. Check in advance whether your rub does not already contain a lot of salt, otherwise you do not need to salt the meat before cooking it.
- Preheat the barbecue with a direct zone of about 180 degrees Celsius and an indirect zone of 120 degrees Celsius.
- Place the tomahawk on the direct zone and grill it well for 3 minutes at a high temperature, turn the meat a quarter turn and grill it for another three minutes. Check whether a nice grill pattern has developed and then turn the meat over.
- Grill the other side for 2 x 3 minutes as well and then place the tomahawk on the indirect zone, so that it can continue to cook at a relatively low temperature. Insert a core thermometer into the meat and set it to 46 degrees Celsius for a nice red result. The meat will continue to cook a little when you take it off the barbecue, so that’s why this slightly lower temperature is used. If you prefer it medium-rare, continue cooking it to a temperature of 52 degrees Celsius.
- Remove the meat from the grid, wrap it lightly with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes.
- While grilling, remove the less attractive outer leaves from the little gem and cut them in half lengthwise. Leave the hard bottom on, otherwise the lettuce will fall apart completely.
- Season the lettuce with a little barbecue rub and drizzle it with sunflower oil. Place them with the cut side on the grid above the direct zone and grill them for 5 minutes. Let them color well. Remove them from the grid, cut them in half lengthwise and then cut off the hard bottom.
- Cut the meat of the tomahawk along the bone and cut it into nice slices. Season it with freshly ground pepper and fleur de sel and serve it on a board with the grilled lettuce and béarnaise sauce.
Looking for more inspiration? Then see below more recipes with bavette. Or check our beef recipes for even more inspiration.