grilled tomahawk steak

How to Grill Tomahawk Steak

Tomahawk steak is a large, Fred Flintstone style steak sure to impress your guests in both size and flavor, especially when grilled on a SABER® grill.

This dish was written for SABER Grills by Chef Chris Koetke of Let’s Dish.

Tomahawk steaks look impressive. They’re so big they hang off the plate–Fred Flintstone style.  And when on the grill, they’re a real head turner.

You may not have heard of a tomahawk steak, and that’s because you’re not going to find them at your local grocery store.  In fact, the only way you can get it is by mail order or knowing a really good butcher.

Tomahawk steak looks just like a bone-in rib steak; the difference between the two is that the rib bone in a tomahawk steak is not trimmed and left very long.  (The added weight from the bone also accounts for a substantial price tag.)  As the length of the bone really does not affect the meat itself, the tomahawk grills up like a bone-in rib steak.

Tips for Grilling Tomahawk Steak?

When grilling a tomahawk, follow the same technique as any thick, bone-in rib steak.

The first step is to season it.  Because of its heft, be sure to season it very well before grilling.  Under seasoning a steak is really a crime.  That bit of salty exterior brings out the meaty flavor. But don’t limit yourself to a quick coating of just salt and pepper.  A steak is a blank canvas that can handle a wide assortment of flavor profiles.  For instance, think about rubbing it with some finely minced garlic a few hours in advance, or applying a heavy coating of chile powder or even some smoked salt.

season tomahawk steak

Next, get your grill ready.  Rib steaks love high heat and a great sear, which is where the SABER® grill stands out. The SABER® grill is just like the level of heat that we chefs demand in a professional kitchen.  Cook the steak on high heat to attain deep brown marks and an irresistible brown crust.

Saber is also about heat control – perfect to cook tomahawk steak to the preferred doneness of each of your guests. (If you like your rib steak rare to medium rare, what follows will not pertain to you.)  If you or your guests like your tomahawk steak more well-cooked, then you need to adjust the heat as it cooks.  Always start the grilling process on high heat.  Once the steaks are browned, turn the heat down to allow the inside of the steak to cook to your desired doneness.  The Saber’s ability to precisely modulate the heat makes this effortless.

Judging the steak’s doneness is rather easy with a tomahawk.  Over many years of practice, professional chefs learn how to gauge the steak’s doneness by simply touching the steak.  A steak firms in relation to the degree of doneness.  The problem is that every steak feels different and each part of the rib steak feels different too.  Thus, it take a lot of practice.

Instead of the touch test, insert an instant read thermometer into the side of the steak.  Be sure that the tip of the thermometer is in the center of the steak to get an accurate reading.

For steak doneness temperatures, use the following guide:

  • Rare: 120-130° F
  • Medium Rare: 130-135° F
  • Medium: 140-150° F
  • Medium Well: 155-165° F
  • Well: 170+° F


Pull the steak off the grates when it’s cooked to the desired doneness. Let it rest for five minutes away from the heat. Then serve the tomahawks with the appropriate fanfare and of course, some really large plates!

grill tomahawk steak

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