What is Tomahawk Steak?

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The tomahawk steak has rapidly grown in popularity over the last year or so, you've almost certainly seen a friend post one on Facebook or Instagram. They certainly are the steak with the wow-factor, but what exactly are they?

What is Tomahawk Steak?

The tomahawk steak may originate in America, but they are fast becoming more and more popular over here in the U.K. If you've not had the pleasure of seeing a tomahawk steak up close, then you've probably seen one on Facebook or Instagram, and if you're not sure whether you've ever seen one at all, then you almost certainly haven't. Their unusual appearance makes them hard to forget, and also super shareable on social media. Sometimes referred to as a 'Flinstones' steak (you do feel like a cave man when you're eating one), the tomahawk got its name because of its resemblance to the tomahawk axe, which is fairly obvious once you've seen one.

The Tomahawk steak is taken from the fore-rib, and cut with the centre rib bone left in. The rib bone is left as long as possible and French trimmed for presentation. This is what gives the tomahawk it's unique appearance, making it a very memorable dining experience and also one which you'll want to share with your friends. Hence their popularity on social media. The tomahawk is a rib steak, so like a ribeye, is well marbled and with a generous amount of inner fat, giving it a real delicious depth of flavour. Tomahawks usually weigh in at over 1KG each, meaning they make a great sharing steak for a special occasion, or a romantic meal, as there's easily enough to feed two people. If you're a fan of ribeyes and you love the flavour of on-the-bone cuts, this is the steak for your.  

A tomahawk steak is usually cut somewhere between 4 and 6 cm thick, this is because the thickness of the meat is dictated by the thickness of the rib bone. If the steak is any thinner, and the rib bone is cut down the centre, then this is technically known in the U.K. as a club steak. 

What is the best way to cook a tomahawk steak?

As the tomahawk is a rather thick cut steak, weighing somewhere between 1.000KG and 1.200KG, they are almost impossible to fry, especially with the long bone. The most common way to cook your tomahawk at home is in the oven. First wrap the exposed bone in foil, brush the steak with a little oil, season with salt and sear off the steak in a large frying pan on all sides for 3-4 minutes. Then transfer the steak to a roasting tin and cook in the centre of a preheated oven at gas mark 6/200C/fan 180°C/ for 15 minutes for rare, 20 minutes medium, and 25 - 30 minutes well done. 

If you're cooking yours on a BBQ, or grill, wrap the bone in foil, season your steak, and cook until an internal temperature of approximately 60C is reached for rare, 70C for medium, and 80C for well done.

Whichever way you cook yours, please remember to remove your steak from packaging and rest at room temperature for 10 minutes before cooking. It is also imperative that you allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes after cooking. This allows the heat from the bone to distribute through the meat.

Is a tomahawk steak a ribeye?

A tomahawk steak is basically an on-the-bone ribeye steak with a long rib bone left on, mainly for presentation purposes. Although both steaks are cut from the fore-rib, the fact that the tomahawk is left on the bone may provide it with a different, much deeper flavour profile. It is called a tomahawk steak because of it's resemblance to a tomahawk axe.

How much is a tomahawk steak?

Depending on it's size a tomahawk steak can be anywhere from around £15 per steak to upwards of £40 per steak. As they're usually somewhere between 1KG and 1.2KG in weight, there's easily enough for two people, meaning they make a great sharing steak for a special occasion. 

If there's anything else you'd like to know about tomahawk steaks, or meat in general, please hit us up with any questions in the comments below, or tweet us using the hashtag '#AskTheButcher' and we'll do our best to answer all your questions.

Written by Matt Rhoades

Matt is our full time tea maker/web designer/delivery driver/butcher/accountant/social media man who you'll often find bickering with Dennis. Our MD with a passion for great meat and great customer service. When he's not at work he'll be creating recipes and probably barbecuing something somewhere, or making bacon jam. He loves it!!

1 comment

  • Antony Hold

    Hi, I’ve seen a lot of videos on Youtube (mostly American) of slow cooking on a bbg a beef rib, I don’t think they are short ribs or the tomahawk steaks mentioned in your posts. They look like a longer short rib with a lot more meat on the one side and a membrane you’re advised t remove on the oth. Could advise if this is something you could provide? Many Thanks

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