Unveiling the Mystery: What Part of the Cow is a Tomahawk Steak?

Few cuts can compete with the tomahawk when indulging in a mouthwatering, juicy steak. But have you ever wondered which part of the cow this delectable cut comes from? In this blog post, we’ll explore the origins of the tomahawk steak and uncover why it has become a beloved choice among steak enthusiasts. Prepare to tantalize your taste buds as we dive into the world of this magnificent cut of meat.

What is Tomahawk Steak?

What Is Tomahawk Steak?

The Tomahawk steak takes the spotlight when indulging in a truly epic steak. With its impressive size and unique presentation, this cut of beef is sure to impress even the most discerning carnivores. As someone with experience and expertise in the culinary world, I can confidently say that the Tomahawk steak is a true meat masterpiece.

So, what exactly is a Tomahawk steak? Picture this: a thick, bone-in ribeye steak with a long bone resembling a tomahawk axe handle, hence the name. This bone extends well beyond the meat, which adds a dramatic effect and serves a purpose. The bone acts as a handle, making it easier to handle the large cut of meat when grilling or serving.

One of the defining features of the Tomahawk steak is its sheer size. Typically, these steaks weigh around 2 to 3 pounds and are cut at least two inches thick. This generous thickness allows for a beautiful sear on the outside while maintaining a juicy and tender interior. It’s a meat lover’s dream come true.

When cooking a Tomahawk steak, remember a few key points. First, ensure you have a hot grill or cast-iron skillet ready. The high heat will help create a mouthwatering crust while locking in the meat’s natural juices. Additionally, because of its thickness, it’s crucial to use a meat thermometer to ensure the steak is cooked to your desired level of doneness.

Speaking of doneness, the beauty of the Tomahawk steak is that it can be cooked to perfection to suit anyone’s preferences. The Tomahawk can deliver whether you prefer a rare, medium-rare, or well-done steak. Be mindful of the cooking time and temperature to achieve the desired result. Remember, it’s always better to undercook and let the steak rest before serving than to overcook and end up with a dry piece of meat.

Now, let’s talk about flavor. The Tomahawk steak is known for its rich, beefy flavor that can only come from a well-marbled cut of meat. The marbling, the streaks of fat running through the meat, adds flavor and keeps the steak moist and tender during cooking. When cooked correctly, the fat renders and bastes the meat, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience that will leave you craving more.

In terms of presentation, the Tomahawk steak is a showstopper. Its long bone protruding from the meat creates an impressive visual impact that is sure to impress your guests. Just imagine bringing a sizzling, perfectly grilled Tomahawk steak to the table, eliciting gasps and admiration from everyone around. It’s a true centerpiece that is as delicious as visually stunning.

What Part of the Cow is a Tomahawk Steak?

The tomahawk steak is cut from the cow’s rib section, specifically the ribeye. This region of the cow is well known for its tenderness and delicious flavor, which is why it’s commonly chosen for steaks.

The tomahawk steak gets its unique shape and name from the long bone attached, resembling a tomahawk axe. This bone adds flavor and gives the steak its signature look. It’s important to note that a tomahawk steak is essentially a rib eye with the bone still intact, so you can expect it to have the same taste and texture.

If you plan to cook a tomahawk steak, you’ll want to cook it over high heat to bring out its natural flavors. And remember, it’s best cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F. So, whether you’re grilling, pan-searing, broiling, or roasting, a tomahawk steak is sure to impress with its rich flavor and tender texture.

How Many Tomahawk Steaks in Each Cow?

How Many Tomahawk Steaks In Each Cow?

Well, it depends on the size of the cow and how the butcher prepares the meat. Generally, there are 14 ribs in the ribeye portion of a cow, which is where the tomahawk steak comes from. This means getting as many as 14 tomahawk steaks from a single cow is possible. However, some butchers who sell whole cow carcasses tend to provide between eight and ten tomahawk steaks, leaving the rest for ribeye steaks.

Keep in mind that each tomahawk steak is unique in size because not every cow grows the same way. So, the size and weight of a tomahawk steak can vary. On average, a tomahawk steak will measure between 1.5 and 3 inches thick and weigh anywhere from 24 to 45 ounces. So, whether you’re looking to enjoy a thick, juicy tomahawk steak or trying to determine how many you can get from a cow, understanding these details can help give you a better idea.

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Why Is Tomahawk Steak So Expensive?

Let me break it down for you. The main reason is that this majestic cut of meat comes from the forequarter rib section of the cow, which is also where the delicious Ribeye steaks come from. And we all know that Ribeye steaks are top-notch, right?

Not only is the Tomahawk steak made from high-quality primal cuts, but it’s also super tender and flavorful because of the marbled fat spread throughout the meat. This marbling adds that melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and amazing flavor to the steak. The rib meat is less muscular than other beef parts, making it a savory and moist delicacy.

But it’s not just the meat quality that drives up the price. Tomahawk steaks require extra processing and preparation. The bone-in ribeye steak is transformed into a Tomahawk steak through French trimming. This involves scraping the meat off about 5 inches of the rib bone, giving the steak its iconic “handle” shape. It’s not just a steak anymore – a work of art!

Another reason for the high price tag is that Tomahawk steaks are usually large and heavy. They can easily be 1 to 2 inches thick, with the bone at least a foot long. These mammoth steaks typically weigh around 3 to 4 pounds, which is a much larger portion than most cuts of steak. So, you’re getting your money’s worth in quantity.

Lastly, the Tomahawk steak has become a well-marketed and novel dining experience. It’s an Instagram-ready steak that adds a fun and unique element to any meal. It’s like a showstopper on your plate, making your dining experience all the more memorable. And, of course, the novelty and experience factor add value to the steak, further driving up the price.

So, in conclusion, the combination of high-quality meat, extra processing, large size, and novelty factor all contribute to the hefty price tag of the Tomahawk steak. But if you’re a true steak lover who appreciates tenderness, flavor, and a fun dining experience, then splurging on a Tomahawk steak would be worth it. Trust me; it will be one of the best steaks you’ve ever had!

How Does A Tomahawk Steak Differ From A Bone-In Ribeye Steak?

How Does A Tomahawk Steak Differ From A Bone-In Ribeye Steak?

The Tomahawk steak, also known as the Cowboy steak, gets its name from the long rib bone that protrudes from the meat, resembling the shape of a tomahawk. This bone-in ribeye steak is taken from between the sixth and twelfth ribs and is known for its tender, buttery texture.

The ribeye, on the other hand, is slightly tougher with a more robust beef flavor. While both cuts have impressive marbling, which adds to the flavor profile, the Tomahawk steak takes it up a notch. Its rich marbling delivers a more intense and flavorful experience.

However, it’s important to note that the Tomahawk steak comes with a higher price tag due to its delicate meat and the extra effort required in its preparation. Cooking-wise, the Bone-In Ribeye steak is easier to handle as it cooks more evenly without the bone. But it may be worth splurging on if you’re up for the challenge and appreciate the Tomahawk steak’s unique presentation and exceptional tenderness.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference and the occasion. Whether you choose the Tomahawk or the Ribeye, both will satisfy your carnivorous cravings.

What Is The Difference Between A Tomahawk Steak And A Prime Rib?

What Is The Difference Between A Tomahawk Steak And A Prime Rib?

The Tomahawk steak is a bone-in ribeye steak with a long beef bone attached. This gives it a unique and impressive presentation, resembling a tomahawk axe, hence the name. On the other hand, prime rib is the entire ribeye roast, including multiple ribeye steaks. So, while the Tomahawk steak is essentially a rib eye with a bone handle, prime rib is a larger cut that includes the bone and all the delicious meat surrounding it.

Now, let’s talk about flavor and cooking techniques. Both the Tomahawk steak and prime rib offer incredibly flavorful and tender meat. The bone in the Tomahawk steak adds a depth of flavor while acting as an insulator, resulting in a juicy and succulent steak. Prime rib, when cooked properly, is known for its melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and rich flavor.

Both cuts can be grilled in terms of cooking technique, but there is a slight difference. Due to its bone and thickness, the Tomahawk steak requires a reverse sear method, where it is initially cooked over a lower temperature on the grill or smoker and then finished with a high-heat sear. This ensures even cooking and a perfect charred finish. Prime rib, on the other hand, is often roasted in the oven to achieve that desired medium-rare or medium doneness.

So, to sum it up, while the Tomahawk steak and prime rib are made from the same cut of meat, the Tomahawk steak offers a unique presentation with its long bone handle, while prime rib is a larger cut that includes the bone and is usually roasted in the oven. Both cuts deliver deliciously tender and flavorful meat, so it comes down to personal preference and the occasion you’re serving them for.

How Does The Marbling In A Tomahawk Steak Contribute To Its Flavor And Tenderness?

The marbling in a tomahawk steak significantly affects its flavor and tenderness. When you look at a tomahawk steak, you’ll notice the delicate white streaks and flecks of fat throughout the meat, which is the marbling. This marbling is intramuscular fat that melts when the steak is cooked, coating the muscle fibers and making them tender and juicy.

The marbling in a tomahawk steak adds an incredible depth of flavor. As the fat melts and cooks together with the meat, it infuses the steak with a rich, buttery taste that is truly mouthwatering. This marbling also helps to keep the meat moist during the cooking process, preventing it from drying out and becoming tough.

In terms of tenderness, the marbling in a tomahawk steak plays a crucial role. The fat interspersed within the muscle fibers acts as a natural tenderizer. As the fat melts, it breaks down the fibers, resulting in an incredibly tender steak that is easy to cut through. The combination of marbling and the long bone still attached to the steak enhances the tenderness even further.

Overall, the marbling in a tomahawk steak contributes to its flavor by providing an unmatched richness and tenderness, making the meat incredibly juicy and easy to enjoy. So, the next time you can enjoy a tomahawk steak, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful marbling that enhances its taste and elevates the overall dining experience.

How Does The Thickness Of A Tomahawk Steak Compare To A Regular Ribeye Steak?

How Does The Thickness Of A Tomahawk Steak Compare To A Regular Ribeye Steak?

There is a noticeable difference when comparing the thickness of a tomahawk steak to a regular ribeye steak. The tomahawk steak is generally a thicker cut, measuring around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in thickness. This thicker cut allows for more even heat distribution, which helps break down the meat’s tissues and enhance its tenderness. On the other hand, a regular ribeye steak is typically thinner than a tomahawk steak. However, both cuts of meat are known for their juicy and flavorful textures.

While the thickness of the steak can impact the cooking time and method, such as requiring more space on the grill, the result is a delicious and satisfying meal. Whether you choose a tomahawk steak or a regular ribeye steak, you can expect a delightful dining experience.

What Should One Look For When Buying A Tomahawk Steak?

When it comes to buying a Tomahawk steak, there are a few things I always look for.

  1. First and foremost, I want to ensure the steak is of high quality. I look for well-marbled meat with plenty of fat running through it, as this will ensure a juicy and flavorful steak. I also look for steaks that have been properly aged, as this will help to enhance the tenderness and depth of flavor.
  2. Another important factor to consider is the size and weight of the steak. Tomahawk steaks are known for their impressive size, but I want to ensure that I get a steak that is thick enough to cook evenly and still has a juicy interior.
  3. Lastly, I always consider the reputation and expertise of the butcher or online shop I purchase from. I want to get my Tomahawk steak from a trustworthy source to deliver a high-quality product.

How to Smoke Tomahawk Steak?

How To Smoke Tomahawk Steak?

When preparing a tomahawk steak, there’s nothing quite like the experience of smoking it to achieve that perfect blend of tenderness, juiciness, and smoky flavor. Today, I’m excited to share my tried-and-true method for smoking a mouthwatering tomahawk steak. So, let’s get started!


  • 2.5 Pound Tomahawk Steak
  • 2 Large Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika


Step 1: Preparing the Steak

To begin, preheat your pellet smoker to a temperature of 250°F. While the smoker is preheating, allow your tomahawk steak to sit outside the fridge, allowing it to come to room temperature. This step ensures even cooking and enhances the overall flavor.

Step 2: Seasoning the Steak

Now it’s time to impart a delicious blend of flavors onto your tomahawk steak. Sprinkle the steak generously with coarse sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and granulated garlic. This combination will create a mouthwatering crust and enhance the meat’s natural flavors.

Step 3: Smoking the Steak

Place the seasoned tomahawk steak on the preheated smoker, and let it smoke for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 125°F. Using a reliable meat thermometer is crucial for achieving perfect results. Remember to season the steak lightly for the second time when it comes out of the smoker, enhancing the flavors further.

Step 4: Searing the Steak

To add an irresistible caramelized crust, we’ll now move on to the searing process. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add the butter. Add the fresh thyme sprigs once the butter has melted, infusing their aromatic essence into the steak. Carefully place the smoked tomahawk steak in the skillet and sear it on each side for approximately 2 minutes. This step will provide an enticing texture and an extra depth of flavor.

Step 5: Resting and Serving

Once the searing process is complete, remove the tomahawk steak from the skillet and rest for 5-10 minutes. This resting period ensures that the meat retains its juiciness and tenderness. Finally, slice into this culinary masterpiece and savor every bite. Pair it with your favorite sides, such as roasted asparagus, for a complete and satisfying meal.


Are There Any Alternative Names For Tomahawk Steak?

Yes, there are alternative names for the Tomahawk Steak. In addition to being called a Tomahawk Steak, this cut is also referred to as a Rib Steak or a Rib Steak Bone-in Frenched. It is a tender bone-in steak from the Rib with a long bone and marbling that adds incredible flavor. When the bone is drenched and the full rib bone is attached, it is specifically known as a Tomahawk Steak.

American food retailers and food service operators use these alternative names to eliminate confusion and ensure consistent categorization and identification of the cut. This steak is perfect for grilling, and both operators and diners love its rich, juicy, and full-flavored taste. So whether you call it a Tomahawk Steak, a Rib Steak, or a Rib Steak Bone-in Frenched, you can be assured of a delicious and satisfying dining experience.

What Are Some Vegetables Or Side Dishes That Pair Well With Tomahawk Steak?

When it comes to a satisfying steak dinner, serving side dishes is a must. They not only complement the flavor of the main dish but also enhance the overall dining experience. Look no further if you’re wondering what vegetables or side dishes to serve with a juicy tomahawk steak. Here are 7 delightful options that will take your meal to the next level.

  1. Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan: There’s something about the combination of grilled asparagus and tomahawk steak that works. The smoky charred flavor of the asparagus perfectly complements the rich and tender meat. Top it off with some shaved Parmesan for an extra touch of decadence.
  2. Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are a classic side dish for steak, and when they’re infused with creamy garlic goodness, they become even more irresistible. The velvety texture of the potatoes and the robust garlic flavor perfectly harmonize with the tomahawk steak.
  3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon: Roasted Brussels sprouts bring a delightful crunch and earthiness to the meal. When paired with the savory richness of bacon, they become a match made in culinary heaven. The smoky flavors from the bacon perfectly complement the juicy tomahawk steak.
  4. Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: For a vegetarian-friendly option still bursting with flavor, try grilling some portobello mushrooms. Their meaty texture and hearty taste make them a delicious accompaniment to any steak dish, especially a juicy tomahawk.
  5. Sautéed Spinach with Garlic and Lemon: Light and vibrant, sautéed spinach is a refreshing side dish that brings flavor to your Tomahawk steak dinner. The combination of garlic and lemon perfectly balances the richness of the steak, making each bite even more enjoyable.
  6. Truffle Mac and Cheese: Elevate your side dish game with a decadent truffle mac and cheese. Laced with the distinct truffle aroma, the creamy cheese sauce adds a luxurious touch to your tomahawk steak meal. The rich and cheesy mac and cheese will leave your taste buds craving more.
  7. Sweet Potato Fries: If you’re looking for a delightful twist on classic fries, sweet potato fries are the way to go. Crispy and slightly sweet, these fries pair exceptionally well with the robust flavors of a tomahawk steak. Dip them in your favorite sauce for an extra burst of flavor.


In conclusion, we have explored the intriguing topic of “What part of the cow is a tomahawk steak?” and discovered the fascinating origins of this mouth-watering cut of beef. So, the next time you come across a tomahawk steak on a menu or at your local butcher, you now know that it is derived from the cow’s rib section, resulting in a truly luxurious and indulgent dining experience.


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