Grilled Perfection

Herb Butter Tomahawk Steaks…

About 15 years ago, I saw a tomahawk steak for the first time. I was in one of those fancy-schmancy steakhouses that cater to wealthy beef lovers and titans of industry with generous expense accounts. My friend invited me to dinner and insisted he pick up the tab – or, more accurately, his company was footing the bill.

The price for this hunk of beef was $175 – and this was 2009. When the waiter presented our meals, my jaw dropped as I marveled at the enormity of my buddy’s plate. “It looks like something Fred Flintstone would eat,” I exclaimed. “Yabba-dabba-do,” my friend retorted as he picked up the giant steak knife and sliced his perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak.

A tomahawk steak is an impressive cut of beef, famous for its long bone and perfect marbling. The “Frenching” technique, in which the meat is trimmed down the rib bone, resembles a traditional tomahawk ax. But this popular cut is really just another name for a bone-in ribeye with a 5-inch “handle” made of bone. In parts of the South, it is called a cowboy steak, but the bone is shorter.

Today, it seems as if these massive steaks are everywhere. You can buy four 38-ounce steaks at Costco for about $300-$350. That’s about $35 per pound – a bit pricy, but not outlandish.

You want outlandish? There is a Miami steakhouse that has an off-menu $1,000 tomahawk steak! You read that right: Fork over a grand, and you’ll get a 55-ounce (almost 3½-pound) slab of meat. According to the Miami New Times:

It begins with an entrance song, which booms across the dimly illuminated space, commanding the attention of everyone in the dining room. From there, a troupe of well-appointed servers begin to dance and shout, not unlike a rowdy wedding party taking over the dance floor, as they guide the steak from kitchen to table.

When they arrive, a white-gloved presenter offers a tableside closeup of your dinner, delivered in a gold-lined briefcase. At your side — music still blaring, servers chanting, lasers dancing across the table — he opens the lid and a puff of smoke gives way to a glowing, bedazzled steak.
Sounds like a blast! But I’m not sure it’s worth the price. Here’s a more affordable option: Prepare it at home and impress your friends.

Herb Butter Tomahawk Steaks

Servings: 2 ginormous steaks
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 tomahawk steaks, about 2½ -3 inches thick and weighing 1½ -2 pounds each
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Ingredients for Herb Butter:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter at room temperature
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 T rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Step 1: Heat the outdoor grill to the highest heat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Season steaks generously with kosher salt and pepper. Get the top, bottom, and all the sides.

Step 3: Sear the steak for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, letting the flames lick up the sides. You’ll know the steak is ready to flip when it releases easily from the grill.

Step 4: Transfer the steaks to a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 130-140 degrees. This will take about 30 minutes, but use a meat thermometer for 100 percent accuracy. (Note: It is typically easier to control the temperature using your oven than the grill. But if you can maintain 375 degrees on your grill, feel free to do so. Using the oven usually produces better results.)

Step 5: Let rest for 10 minutes. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of herb butter onto the steak. Slice and serve.

Instructions for Herb Butter:
In a medium bowl, combine butter, garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until well blended.

NOTE: If you don’t have a grill (or if you are not set up yet for barbecue season), you can sear it indoors on your stovetop before placing it in the oven. Use a large, heavy cast-iron skillet.•

About Terry Olson

Terry loves culinary arts, adult beverages and hiking in the North State wilderness. You may find him soaking up the sun at one of our area’s many state or national parks or sitting on a barstool sipping on a cold locally brewed craft beer.

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