What Is a Cowboy Steak?

If you are a steak lover, the cowboy steak is most likely one of your favorite cuts. They are known for their large size and rich taste. This short frenched bone steak boasts exquisite flavor and marbling that is ideal for grilling or sauteing.

What Exactly Is a Cowboy Steak?

A cowboy steak is a tender, rich in flavor, cut of steak that is usually between 18oz and 32oz. This large cut has a generous amount of marbling, creating that juicy, mouthwatering taste with very little help from butter or other sauces.

This cut comes with 5 to 6 inches of rib bone still connected. It is recommended to grill this steak to get the most flavor and the perfect sear.

Grilling a cowboy steak allows it to sear, permitting the steak to keep most of its juices. It is important to season with salt and pepper before grilling, and you should also allow it to sit out at room temperature for at least thirty minutes.

Depending on how you like your steak cooked will determine how long you sear it for, typically at least seven to ten minutes on each side. Turn your grill to low heat to allow the steak to finish cooking 11 to 15 minutes per side. Once you finish cooking your steak, do not forget to let it rest for at least five minutes.

Cowboy Steak vs. Tomahawk Steak

The cowboy steak is often synonymous with the tomahawk steak. This confusion is understandable as both of these share many similarities. The tomahawk steak, as well as the cowboy steak, come with the frenched bones still attached and are from the rib section of the cow.

The bones are left in by the butcher and help with giving these steaks that mouthwatering taste. Because of the abundant amount of fat these cuts have, they are already naturally tender and full of flavor.

With their thick cuts, the cowboy steak and the tomahawk steak are great for throwing on the grill. The grill allows the meat to slowly cook, ensuring minimal juices are lost. By simply adding salt and pepper, you will get a delicious meal in no time.

Now that their similarities are acknowledged, there is one distinct difference. A tomahawk steak has a long frenched bone, while the cowboy steak has a short frenched bone. Although the cowboy steak is a decent size, a tomahawk steak will most likely be thicker.

Other Names for Cowboy Steak

A cowboy steak has many other names. It is most commonly confused with a ribeye steak or tomahawk steak. You may also see it listed as:

  • Bone-in Ribeye
  • Rib Steak Bone-In
  • Tomahawk Steak
  • Cowboy New York Steak
  • Delmonico
  • Rugged Cowboy
  • Cowboy Rib
  • Cowboy Steak
  • Cowboy Cut
  • Frenched Rib Steak

While it is unsure where some of these names originate from, no matter what you call it, the cowboy steak is the perfect entree for any occasion.

Where Is the Cowboy Steak on a Cow?

The cowboy steak is located under the front section of the backbone and comes from the rib section. Because it is from the rib section, a cowboy steak is technically a bone-in ribeye. 

What Does Cowboy Steak Taste Like?

With plenty of marbling throughout, a cowboy steak keeps most of its flavor during the cooking process. It is responsible for making the meat tender and moist. For the perfect medium-rare, do not let the inside temperature reach above 130 degrees.

Where to Buy Cowboy Steak

You can generally buy a cowboy steak at a butcher, a grocery store, or many restaurants. While grilling this meat is the best way to prepare it, you can also use a skillet, broil, or smoker. Cowboy steaks are a delicious and filling dinner option.

Nutrition & Calories

A cowboy steak offers an excellent source of fiber, iron, protein, and zinc. A 3oz serving has about:

  • 220 calories
  • 6 grams of fat
  • 23 grams of protein
  • 3 milligrams of iron
  • 5 milligrams of zinc

Example of Cowboy Steak Recipes

What is a cowboy steak if not paired with a classic pan-seared style meal that serves two? To create this, all you need is:

  • 16oz cowboy steak
  • 1 teaspoon of canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 partially crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

This simple recipe will give you a delectable, charred cowboy steak in 35 minutes.

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About the author

Adam can tell you the difference between a flank steak and skirt steak and any other cut of meat. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.