Food & Drink

Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak

Ask us to name two manly objects and we’ll reply “steak” and “the devastating weapon brutally employed by Apache warriors in the early 19th century”. Who wouldn’t?

Fitting then, because tomahawk steaks – so named because the meat is cut from the fore-rib with the entire rib left attached, making for a dramatic dinner piece as well as a succulent bite - is more popular than ever in the UK right now. 

But as you can probably tell by that sizeable mound, cooking these whopping great tender slabs properly needs all the tact of an expert.

Luckily, Faraz Ahmad, owner of London’s new Southern BBQ restaurant Meat and Shake, which is currently serving up the tomahawk, is one such man.

Take note...

[Images: Julian Ward] 

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak

    Grab the sharpest knife possible for optimum meat per bone

    "As with most single bone ribs you want to get the maximum amount of meat per bone. The way to do it is to slice directly along the next bone with the sharpest knife you have and don't stop until you hit the board."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 1

    Don't fight fat

    "The flavour and the ability to remain succulent is all in the fat cells. Those micro fat cells are represented by the more obvious white lines running through the steak, and to a certain extent, the more the merrier. That fat is going to keep your meat juicy and tasty."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 2

    Get it to room temperature

    "Take the steak out of the fridge to get it to room temperature an hour before you put it on the grill. This will give you an even cook - ensuring it doesn't overcook on the outside while its still not the required temperature in the centre."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 3

    Season's greetings

    "Seasoning is the difference between a good and a bad steak. You can get all the other stages spot on and if you mess up this one your steak will taste as bland as anything.

    "So, in a mixing bowl pour 3 or 4 tablespoons of good quality olive oil and add cracked black pepper and smoked sea salt. At Meat and Shake we smoke our own. 

    "Be liberal with the seasoning. Lay it on thick. The sea salt will give a crunch and there's a lot of meat to flavour. Put the steak in on top and massage the oil and seasoning evenly into the steak."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 4

    Ditch the pan

    "A chargrill or skillet pan is too hot for such a large steak. It will burn on the outside long before you reach the required cook. Sear to get some lovely grill lines on and then put it in the oven. Use a temperature probe to determine how long you cook it for."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 5

    Brush up on your flavour

    "Apply melted garlic butter with a brush to baste it while it cooks. This will give loads of extra flavour and texture. Remember: your steak will suck up any liquid you apply while cooking. We use a house made glaze for all our steaks in-house. Getting the balance right between salt and sweet is key to giving it a real depth of flavour."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 6

    Give it a rest

    "Resting allows the juices to stabilise inside your steak making it lovely and moist without running out all over your plate – and one this big needs more than your average. But don't rest it anywhere cold. Higher than room temperature or your steak will lose too much heat. Somewhere close to the oven or grill but not in direct heat is ideal."

  • Here’s how to cook a tomahawk steak 7

    Finally…

    "I let my steak do the talking by itself, but, if you were so inclined, the right sauce can really set it off. Peppercorn and bordelaise are classics but for something a little spicier why not try a chimchurri? Enjoy."