The steak we know as the tomahawk doesn’t come cheaply. Those of you who’ve had the privilege of shopping for this delectable cut will already know that. Here’s our ultimate guide to tomahawk steak price—and the reasoning behind it.
Tomahawk Steak Price
It’s tough to estimate an average tomahawk steak price, but the cut is generally expensive. Though some big-box stores might sell it at prices as low as $9.98 per pound, a $50 per-pound estimate is more reasonable. Remember, too, that each steak will probably weigh 2 pounds or more.
All About The Tomahawk
You might have seen tomahawk steak marketed as bone-in ribeye, cowboy steak, or tomahawk chop. No matter what it says on the label, this is one impressive cut of beef.
The tomahawk is cut from the rib primal. In fact, it’s actually a ribeye steak with part of the rib bone still attached. The bone is the primary visual characteristic of this steak—it protrudes from one end like a tomahawk handle, hence the name.
This steak is rich, buttery, and full of the intramuscular fat called “marbling.” As such, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more flavorful steak on the market. The ribeye itself is tasty enough, but bone-in meat will always have more flavor and moisture.
It’s nigh on impossible to cut a thin tomahawk steak. Most of the time, this cut will measure at least 2 inches thick. It comes from the 6th to 12th ribs on the primal, which is standard for every ribeye steak, including the boneless ones.
Though butchers will leave the bone long, they’ll clear away the meat and fatty bits. Exposing the bone in this way is known as “frenching,” and it makes the cut look even more impressive.
It’s not unusual for a single tomahawk steak to weigh 2-1/2 pounds or more. The heavy weight compounded with the already significant price means that you’ll shell out a lot of cash when tomahawk steak is on the menu.
Tomahawk Steak Price
It’s difficult to nail down an average price for tomahawk steak. For one thing, the cut isn’t as popular as its boneless brethren, the ribeye. You’d think that would drive down the prices, but in fact, the opposite is true.
Tomahawk steaks aren’t always easy to find. It’s rare to see them on supermarket shelves, for example, even if there’s a dedicated butcher counter. This is true especially in rural areas.
The steaks also require a great deal of prep, thanks to the frenching process involved. Since the steak is naturally fatty to begin with, that translates into high labor costs.
The fact that you have to look hard for this cut means that butchers can pretty much charge whatever they want. As a result, the per-pound price can range from $25 to a whopping $100 per pound.
By way of example, let’s take a look at Omaha Steaks. At the time of this writing, the company was charging $400 for a 4-pack of its 36-ounce tomahawk steaks. That averages out to $100 per steak, or $44.48 per pound—a high price by any standards.
You might be able to save money by checking out big-box stores such as Costco. Tomahawk steaks have been known to sell for as little as $9.98 per pound there. Bear in mind, though, that the steaks will still be enormous.
How To Save Money on Tomahawk Steak
It’s an understatement to say that tomahawk steak will never be considered a budget option. But you can try to keep the cost from eating into your mortgage payment by taking these tips into consideration.
Look for sales
If you live in or near a big city, check your local supermarket or grocery store for marked-down meat products. If a tomahawk steak is approaching its sell-by date, it may be available at a lower price, even if the steak is still good.
Make a bulk purchase
Sure, it will cost more up front, but meat is often less expensive when it’s sold in large quantities. You can always freeze some for later.
Even if you don’t subscribe to a Sunday newspaper anymore, there are plenty of coupons available online.
Ask your butcher
They can let you know whenever premium cuts are available at a bargain price.
How To Prepare a Tomahawk Steak
When you’ve invested all that money in a steak, you want to be sure to cook it correctly. Here are our time-tested methods for preparing a delectable, juicy tomahawk steak.
Thaw the Meat
If you’re pulling the steak out of the freezer, make sure to defrost it completely before you start to cook. The last thing you want is for the steak to cook unevenly, and that’s what would happen if you were to throw it on the grill when it was still frozen.
Even if you’re starting with a fully thawed steak, be sure to allow it to come to room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This warm-up period will also help to ensure even cooking.
Wrap The Bone
We would recommend wrapping heavy-duty aluminum foil around the trimmed bone portion of the steak. Otherwise, it will char while the steak cooks. In addition to imparting a bitter flavor to the meat nearest the bone, the effect would be visually unpleasant.
Choose Your Cooking Method
When it comes to preparing a tomahawk steak, you have a few options. Our favorites include searing the meat in a hot pan before slow-roasting it, as well as—what else?—grilling it over an open fire.
The Grill Method
When grilling large steaks like the tomahawk, you should use indirect heat. This will allow the meat to cook to the correct temp without burning the exterior.
1. Take the steak out of its packaging and pat it dry using paper towels. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
2. Let the steak rest at room temperature for about 1 hour. While you’re waiting, build a one-sided fire in a charcoal grill, or light half the burners on your gas grill.
3. Wrap the steak bone in foil to prevent it from charring.
4. When the grill has heated to about 225-250 degrees, set the steak on the cooler half of the cooking grate.
5. Close the lid and cook for about 45 minutes, flipping it once or twice, until it’s achieved an internal temp of 125 degrees.
6. Sear the steak over direct heat for 3 to 5 minutes, flipping about halfway through, until the meat achieves a nice brown sear.
7. Remove steak from heat and let rest for 10-15 minutes. For serving, you can either carve the steak into slices or leave it whole with the bone still attached, depending on the circumstances.
The Sear and Slow-Roast Method
Although grilling the steak will provide it with more flavor, this is a satisfactory alternative for rainy days.
1. Remove the steak from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides with generous amounts of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Let the seasoned steak sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
3. Set the oven to 250 degrees. Wrap the exposed bone of the steak in aluminum foil.
4. Heat about 1 tablespoon of neutral oil in a skillet large enough to accommodate the steak. Cast iron works best, but if you don’t have one that’s big enough, a stainless steel pan will work.
5. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the steak to the pan. Sear for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until the steak is nicely browned.
6. Set the steak on a rack in a roasting pan and cook in the oven until it reaches the desired temperature. This should take about 45 minutes if you prefer your steak rare, 50 minutes for medium rare, and 55 to 60 minutes for medium.
7. Allow the meat to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before you serve it.
We get it—tomahawk steak isn’t cheap. But you’ll be rewarded for your investment with steak that’s melt-in-your-mouth tender, unbelievably juicy, and brimming with beefy flavor. You might just find it hard to go back to your everyday ribeye after this.