Tomahawk Steak on the Grill (How to Perfectly Cook)

Tomahawk Steak on the Grill is the main dish recipe you’ve got to serve for your next dinner party! It’s so easy and simple and is the best way to impress your guests. 

tomahawk steak on the grill

Imagine hosting a dinner where the centerpiece on your grill is not just a cut of beef but a spectacle. 

This is the essence of the tomahawk steak, an indulgence that marries the rich flavor of a bone-in ribeye steak with the dramatic presentation of a long rib bone extending from its side.

cooking a tomahawk steak on a gas grill

More than just a meal, it’s an experience, turning every barbecue into a special occasion. If you’ve seen or ordered this cut of beef at a steakhouse, you know it’s a head-turning experience!

Grilling the perfect tomahawk steak is akin to performing culinary art—the right tomahawk steak, with its thick cut and succulent meat, grilled with precision over high heat or indirect heat, achieves a symphony of tastes and textures. My mouth is watering as I type this, y’all!

It’s the perfect choice when you want to elevate your grilling game and enjoy a tender steak that’s as memorable as the event itself. 

grilled tomahawk steak

Whether you want to serve a decadent steak dinner on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, or anything in between, this is the recipe that will give you the best results!

Key Takeaways:

The tomahawk steak is a feast for the senses, combining rich flavor with dramatic presentation. It’s one of the best steaks you can serve, and your people will request it repeatedly.

Choosing the right tomahawk steak and mastering your grill’s heat is crucial for a delicious outcome, but you can also “cheat” and use a Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer!

Perfect for special occasions, this steak transforms any meal into a memorable event. It’s the perfect main dish for a celebratory dinner party!

Selecting Your Tomahawk Steak

Choosing the right tomahawk steak is paramount.

First and foremost, let’s talk color and fat – the golden tickets to a mouthwatering tomahawk steak. You can’t find this cut of meat in every supermarket.

tomahawk steak from the fresh market

I like buying mine from The Fresh Market! They’ll often have sales on the tomahawk ribeye steak, and it’s a great time to partake. You can see all they offer in the meat case and make your choice accordingly.

You’ll want to look for a rich, vibrant red hue in the meat, signaling freshness and quality. If the steak has any grey hue to it, it’s old and should not be purchased.

Hopefully, your butcher will not put this out! But, if you’ve bought your tomahawk steak and kept it too long, don’t use it. 

Let’s not sidestep the importance of marbling; those intricate veins of fat promise a tender steak bursting with juiciness and a rich flavor that dances on your palate. 

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Remember, a great steak starts with selecting the best cut of meat, so take your time and choose wisely. This step isn’t just about the cut; it’s about setting the stage for the perfect tomahawk steak.

seasoning a thick steak

Talk with your butcher if you’re unsure of which one to purchase! They’ll ask you how many people you feed and what cooking method you use. 

I like selecting one with a long bone, Fred Flintstone style! It provides a handle of sorts when cooking this large piece of meat and also makes a gorgeous presentation for serving!

Pre-Grill Preparation

Before we even think about letting this beauty of a cut, our tomahawk steak, anywhere near the flames, we need to address a bit of prep to guarantee we’re heading towards that coveted title of the perfect tomahawk steak. 

First things first, seasoning.

This isn’t just any cut of meat; it’s a thick ribeye steak with a long rib bone that screams for respect and a generous amount of kosher salt and black pepper.

Simple best, but sometimes you want a little more!

seasoning a steak to perfection

I love mixing brown sugar, Montreal Steak Seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder to create a delectable steak rub recipe. You can find the measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

An hour before you’re ready to grill the steak, you can cover it in the steak rub and let it sit on your countertop. 

Taking your steak out of the fridge and letting it sit for 30-60 minutes before it hits the grill ensures that your cooking time is effective and even.

This attention to detail transforms a good steak into a perfect tomahawk steak that’s rich in flavor, perfectly seasoned, and just waiting to be the star of your dinner plate. 

Because this is a thick-cut steak, you want it to be as close to room temperature as possible so you can cook it evenly.

Understanding Your Grill

I’ve never cooked this steak on a charcoal grill. I have grilled over an open flame using a Breeo Smokeless Fire Pit. 

For this post, I will talk you through the grilling process on a standard gas grill! With nothing fancy besides a meat thermometer.

Fire up your grill to medium heat, and let it preheat for 15-20 minutes. I like to fire 2 out of 3 burners to create the best cooking zones. You have the hot portion of the grill, where we’ll get those dark grill marks.

grilling a tomahawk steak

Then, while the steak cooks a little longer, you can use the cooler side of the grill.

You know your grill, so you know if there are any hot spots in your grill. The tomahawk axe-shaped steak has a thick fat cap on it, which will produce lots of flames. You can keep a spray bottle close by if you need to.

While the grill preheats, insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. I love using a Meater to cook my steak to the perfect internal temperature! It makes it so easy!

If you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer, that’s okay! You can use an instant-read thermometer to get the perfect meat temperature.

The Cooking Process

While you could reverse-sear this steak, and this tomahawk chop is a great steak to use the reverse-sear method, we’re going to sear the steak on the grill and allow it to form a nice crust.

Instead, my favorite way of cooking any steak is to sear it on a hot grill grate, then cook it at a lower temperature, depending on the thickness of the steak. You get the best sear when the heat source is HOT!

grilling a tomahawk steak

I like to place steaks on the hot side of the grill at the 10 or 2 o’clock position of the “grill clock.” If your steak is two inches thick or more, set a timer for 4 minutes and let it really sear.

Don’t close your grill lid! Keep it open so the air can fully circulate around the steak.

Now, listen, friend, this is the start of when you’ll see big flames coming up as the fat begins to render. Don’t let it scare you! Keep a spray bottle handy, and spritz the flames out as needed.

grilling a cowboy steak on a hot grill

After 3-4 minutes, turn your steak to the opposite side of the 10 or 2 position. Set the timer for 3 minutes, and let this side sear some more so you get those iconic cross-hatches in your favorite steakhouse.

After 3-4 minutes, flip the steak over and do the same thing. 

flare ups on a hot grill grilling steak

At this point, if you’re using a Meater, it will be screaming at you! It’s usually too hot to handle this part of the cooking process. Once the 3 minutes is up on the second side, you’ll move the steak to the cooler side of the grill, and the Meater will calm down.

Cook to 10-15 degrees less than your preferred degree of doneness. 

Check out this post on grilling steak to a preferred temperature if you need some help!

Resting Your Steak

After meticulously tending to your tomahawk steak on the grill and achieving that rich, mouthwatering crust, diving right in is tempting. 

resting a tomahawk steak

However, resting time is the key to a succulent and tender steak. Allowing your steak to rest is not just a final step; it’s an essential part of the cooking process that ensures your labor of love pays off. 

Placing your steak on a cutting board or wire rack in a warm place for 10 minutes gives the juices, driven to the center by the high heat, a chance to redistribute throughout the meat. 

Skipping this step and cutting in too early will lead to a pool of those precious juices on your plate rather than in every bite of your steak. 

So, exercise patience and let your steak rest to maximize its flavor and juiciness. 

Trust me, it’s worth the wait. 

sliced rested steak

Serving Your Tomahawk Steak on the Grill

Once you’ve achieved a mouthwatering tomahawk steak bursting with a rich flavor that only grilling can impart, it’s time to consider the accompaniments. 

The perfect sides and sauces can elevate this succulent steak into a truly unforgettable meal. 

wedge salad with thousand island dressing

If you’re craving the Steakhouse Experience at Home, slice discs with your iceberg lettuce and create a delicious Wedge Salad with Thousand Island Dressing.

creamy mashed potatoes

Next, you’ll need a potato of sorts. I love these Creamy Mashed Potatoes! Mainly because I can make them ahead of time!

bacon wrapped green bean bundles with honey balsamic glaze

These Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles are gorgeous to serve but even more delicious to eat!

A Final Toast to Success

As we wrap up our journey to mastering the perfect tomahawk steak, I encourage you to view this not as the end but as the beginning of your thrilling adventure with this magnificent cut of beef. 

The grill awaits, your tomahawk steak poised for greatness – whether you’re wielding a gas grill or charcoal, aiming for that mouthwatering crust, or experimenting with the reverse sear techniques. 

grilled tomahawk steak recipe

Remember, each steak offers a new opportunity to perfect your craft, from achieving the desired internal temperature to letting it rest just right, ensuring every bite is as tender and succulent as possible. 

Here’s to many more successful grills and the continuous pursuit of the ultimate steak. 

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grilled tomahawk steak recipe

Tomahawk Steak on the Grill (How to Perfectly Cook)

  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: grill
  • Cuisine: american



Steak Rub and Steak:

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 (2 3/4 pound) tomahawk steak (3-inch thick bone-in ribeye)

Optional: Herby Chimichurri

  • 1 TBS Chopped Parsley
  • 1 TBS Chopped Basil
  • 1 TBS Chopped Chives
  • 1 Shallot, sliced
  • 23 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil



  1. Bring the steak to room temperature by letting it sit out for an hour or two on the counter.
  2. While it sits, you can sprinkle the steak rub on both sides of the steak.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat; you want it to be as close to 425 – 450 degrees as you can get.
  4. Insert your Meater probe if you are using one.
  5. Lay the steak on the hot grill and sear for 3-4 minutes at a 10 or 2 position. Let the meat sear on an OPEN grill! Don’t close the grill lid.
  6. After 3-4 minutes, turn the steak to the opposite 10 or 2 position, and sear for another 3-4 minutes with the lid open.
  7. After 3-4 minutes, flip the steak over and sear on the hot side of the grill for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. After this round of 3-4 minutes, move the steak to the cooler side of the grill and cook another 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steak and the desired doneness.
  9. Once the steak is 10-15 degrees from your desired temperature, remove it and let it rest for 10 minutes. You can lightly tent with foil if you prefer.
  10. Slice off the bone, serve with the herby chimichurri, and enjoy!

Herby Chimichurri Sauce

  1. Add all your ingredients to a small bowl and stir.
  2. Serve immediately.


This recipe works well for 4-6 people, depending on what kind of eaters they are!

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