What Is a Cowboy Steak?

Cowboy steak is most likely one of your favorite cuts if you are a steak lover. 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 Is a Cowboy Steak?

The most popular definition is that Cowboy steak is a tender, rich-tasting, bone-in ribeye cut (usually 2 ½-3 inches thick). This cut comes with 5 to 6 inches of rib bone still connected. If the bone is longer than 5-6 inches, it is a tomahawk steak.

This large cut has a generous amount of marbling, creating that juicy, mouthwatering taste with very little help from butter or other sauces. 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.

two raw cowboy steaks
two raw cowboy steaks

Why is it Called a Cowboy Steak?

Cowboy steak is so called mainly because of its size. Many sources indicate that the term “Cowboy Steak” was used in the past to call for large cuts of steaks such as porterhouse, top sirloin, and ribeye. Nowadays, this term is used mainly to refer to ribeye steak with a short bone.

Many people criticize cowboy steak, claiming it is simply a marketing term for bone-in ribeye. In their opinion, the name “cowboy steak” was invented to more efficiently promote a particular cut that will sell better in a store or a restaurant.

How Big is a Cowboy Steak?

The size and weight depend on the cow’s size and the steak’s thickness. This also depends on how the meat is cut. By definition, a true cowboy steak should be 2 to 3 inches thick and weigh between 15 and 40 ounces.

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 Steak,
  • Rib Steak Bone-In,
  • Cowboy New York Steak,
  • Rugged Cowboy Steak,
  • Cowboy Rib Steak,
  • Cowboy Cut Steak,
  • Cowboy Ribeye Steak,
  • 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 Does Cowboy Steak Come From?

The cowboy steak (Assuming it’s ribeye) 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?

Cowboy steak combines perfectly the combination of two most important characteristics; flavor and tenderness. 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. 

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, 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 by the butcher to help give both cuts a superb presentation. 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.

Cowboy Steak Nutrition Facts

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

  • Calories: 199
  • Total fat: 10.8 grams
  • Protein: 23.8 grams
  • Iron: 3 milligrams
  • Zinc: 5 milligrams

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169556/nutrients

Where to Buy?

You can generally buy a cowboy steak at a butcher, a grocery store, or many restaurants. The best option, however, is to use an online butcher store that carries even the hardest-to-find cuts of steak. For example, cowboy steak is available at stores such as Snake River Farms, DeBragga, and Grand Western Steaks.

An extra advantage is that you can order your favorite steak with home delivery, no matter where you live. This also allows you to easily and quickly compare available cuts from several stores in terms of price, weight, or grade of beef.

How Much Does a Cowboy Steak Cost?

Depending on the grade of beef, the average price for a pound of cowboy steak is $30 to $50. So one steak usually costs $40 to $75. In the case of better-grade beef, the price exceeds $100.

Final Words on Cowboy Steak

Cowboy steaks are a delicious and filling dinner option. Frenched bone ensures that the steak will look spectacular on the grill and on a serving platter. While grilling this meat is the best way to prepare it, you can also use a skillet, broil, or smoker.

However, if you only care about the taste, not the presentation of the steak, choose the simplest ribeye, which will be cheaper.

Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam is the founder of Steak Revolution. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.