Tomahawk Steak

Beef 101: The Tomahawk

Tomahawk Steak

The Tomahawk steak is a rare find but totally worth the hunt.

I asked Chef Michael Ollier and our in-house meat scientist, Dr. Daniel Clark, where to find the tomahawk and what exactly it is about this cut that makes mouths water at first sight. As it turns out, the old fashioned isn’t the only thing that’s been around for ages.

Tomahawk Steak“The tomahawk comes from a classical rib primal,” Daniel said. “The frenched bone adds a special touch that is sure to impress your guests; however, don’t be fooled. While the bone makes an impressive presentation, it doesn’t add flavor.” If you’re looking for flavor, just look for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s colorful logo at your local grocery store. 

The tomahawk is a ribeye with the rib bone still attached. The tomahawk bone is about 20 inches long, because it includes the length of bone all the way to the navel. It is then frenched, meaning meat is cut away to expose the bone. Tomahawk is a highly impressive technique that’s gaining popularity. It takes a great deal of skill, a lot of time, and as you can conclude, costs quite a bit extra. And that, fellow carnivores, is why you typically only find Certified Angus Beef ® tomahawk steaks in the world’s finest signature steakhouses. As any true seeker of ultimate steaks can attest, unavailable isn’t a palatable option. You can savor the sizzle of your own tomahawk steak — of sorts.

The cowboy way. There is a tomahawk alternative likely to impress every guest at your dinner party. Request Certified Angus Beef ® bone-in rib steaks from your local butcher. Ask them to “french” the bone. The result is what is commonly known as a cowboy steak.

The cowboy offers the visual appeal of the bone — just not as much as that of a tomahawk. Cowboys … tomahawks … don’t you wonder who named these mouthwatering beef cuts in the first place? Perhaps that’s a post for another day.

Happy trails!

Tip: Click here for cowboy steak recipes and more!

An alternative that would likely be very impressive to a dinner party would be to obtain some bone-in CAB rib steaks from their local butcher and have the butcher “French” the bone to produce what is commonly called a Cowboy steak (as Michael eluded).  This will give the visual appeal of the bone but just not as much as that of a Tomahawk.  The Tomahawk is produced from a classical rib primal that is essentially antiquated and for all intents and purposes is not produced unless specially ordered.


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Jennifer Kiko

Jennifer lives on a rural route with her husband, kids, horses, cows and faithful Labs, Cash and Carter. She's an aspiring foodie and enjoys making good food for great friends. She lives next door to a winery, plays the piano, and admits to growing too many tomatoes.