What is a Tomahawk Steak?

The Tomahawk steak is essentially a ribeye, but what sets it apart is its long bone, measuring at least 5 inches. This bone is French-trimmed, which makes the steak look super cool. It’s a big steak with lots of marbling, so it’s very tender and flavorful. Its shape is reminiscent of an axe, hence the name “Tomahawk.” Because of its unique look, it’s often chosen for special occasions, making a memorable visual impact on any dining table.

You’re left with a classic ribeye if you remove the long bone from a Tomahawk steak. The tomahawk and ribeye have the same taste, texture, and marbling. The only real difference between them? That bone and thickness. While you can cut a boneless ribeye to any thickness you prefer, the tomahawk’s thickness is all about that rib it comes from. And for those who want a bit more, there’s the tomahawk roast, which is like a tomahawk party with several ribs.

Tomahawk steak vs. Ribeye
Ribeye steak on the left, and tomahawk steak on the right.

About cooking this beauty: cooking tomahawk steak can be tricky with that long bone, especially if you’re trying to fit it in an oven or pan. So, grilling’s the way to go. And a quick tip: the meat near the bone cooks slower than the rest, so keep an eye on it.

Are you interested in more about the Tomahawk steak? Keep reading.

What Part of The Cow is a Tomahawk Steak?

The Tomahawk steak comes from the rib primal of a cow. It’s typically cut between the 5th and 12th ribs.

tomahawk steak location on cow

How Big is a Tomahawk Steak?

The tomahawk steak stands out not just for its flavor but also for its impressive size. While the exact size can vary based on the animal, a typical tomahawk steak is about 2 inches thick and weighs between 30 and 45 ounces. And if you’re curious about the average weight, with the bone in, it’s around 2.5 pounds. That’s a seriously big steak.

What Does Tomahawk Steak Taste Like?

The Tomahawk steak tastes like a ribeye, which means it’s rich and beefy with a super tender and juicy inside. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the tastiest steaks out there. A big part of that taste comes from the spinalis dorsi muscle, but don’t forget the longissimus dorsi muscle – it’s pretty awesome too. Tomahawk steak is so good that a bit of salt and pepper is all you need for an amazing meal.

Where to Buy Tomahawk Steak?

The best place to buy a tomahawk steak is a good old butcher. Sure, the grocery store might have some wrapped up and ready to go. But if you’re looking for a specific cut or top-notch quality, a good butcher’s got your back. And hey, if you don’t have a good butcher nearby, don’t worry! Some specialized butcher shops can deliver that amazing steak right to your door. It’s a game-changer, especially for expensive steaks like the tomahawk, and it’s a lifesaver for folks who don’t have a great butcher around the corner.

Is Tomahawk Steak expensive?

Tomahawk steak is one of the more expensive cuts out there. Remember that the price for tomahawk depends on the beef’s quality and where you’re buying it from. But no doubt, the tomahawk is one of the most expensive steaks. A 40 oz tomahawk can cost about double what you’d pay for a 20 oz bone-in ribeye. At first, you might think that’s fair. But think about this: that bone in the tomahawk? It can weigh a good 10-15 oz. So, much of what you’re paying for is the bone and, let’s be honest, how impressive the cut looks.

Why is Tomahawk Steak So Expensive?

The primary reason tomahawk steak is so expensive is that it is essentially a ribeye steak. But it’s not just about the meat – it’s also about the show. The way it looks, especially when grilled, makes it stand out. It’s a trendy cut in steakhouses, and sometimes, it’s also hard to find in stores or your local butcher. All these things push up its price.

Is a Tomahawk Steak Worth It?

Well, it comes down to what you’re looking for. The tomahawk steak is unique, mostly because of its tomahawk axe-like shape. When you serve one up, it’s hard not to be wowed by how it looks. Getting a Tomahawk for big occasions feels special – it’s all part of the experience. From this point of view, the tomahawk steak is worth the price. But let’s be real; plenty of steak lovers out there aren’t into the whole ‘look’ thing. They just want a delicious steak without burning a hole in their pocket. To them, the tomahawk might come across as a fancier, pricier version of a bone-in ribeye. Think about it: once you take away the weight of the bone and then look at how much meat you’re getting compared to the price of a regular boneless ribeye… well, let’s just say it’s an expensive treat.

Now, when it comes to what most folks think? Opinions are all over the place. One big point people bring up is how the bone adds quite a bit to the steak’s weight. And since we usually buy steak by the pound, this means when you compare its price to something like a boneless Ribeye, it’s pretty clear we’re paying extra just for that bone. Some folks swear that the bone gives the steak extra flavor. But, in reality, the bone doesn’t change the steak’s flavor. And if you find that hard to believe, there’s a case study by J. Kenji López-Alt on Serious Eats that might change your mind.

One solid argument for the tomahawk steak is how it catches the eye. We do, after all, eat with our eyes first. Even those skeptical about the tomahawk steak must admit it looks impressive on a plate.

My Personal Opinion on Tomahawk Steak

I’m not just about the taste of a good steak but the whole experience that comes with it. There’s something special about grilling and serving a perfect tomahawk steak. It’s true; tomahawk steak is expensive. That’s why I recommend the tomahawk for special occasions, especially if you’re a steak enthusiast. I know that not everyone’s wallet is up for the tomahawk challenge. But don’t worry, the steak world has plenty of other delicious cuts that won’t break the bank and are as good as a tomahawk or even better.

Discover Other Beef Cuts

Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over 5 years, so he understands well all aspects of steak, from the types of steaks and their cooking times to choosing the best cooking technique for any steak.