Best Smoked Tomahawk Steak

Written by Mike Futia | Updated October 21, 2023

Smoked tomahawk steak is a special treat for any steak lover. This smoked tomahawk is a beautiful ribeye steak with the bone still attached, and it tastes just as good as it looks. 

In this smoked steak recipe, we're dry brining it for a couple of hours, then tossing it on my Traeger smoker until it reaches an internal temperature of 120F, and then finally finishing it off with a nice, hot sear on the GrillGrates.

This is truly one of the best steaks you'll ever have!

smoked tomahawk steak

Helpful Recipe Information

  • Dry brine time: 4-8 hours
  • Smoking time: 60-75 minutes
  • Smoking temperature: 225F
  • Searing time: 5-8 minutes
  • Internal temperature: 130F (medium rare)
  • Pellet flavor: Mesquite

How To Make Smoked Tomahawk Steak

For this smoked tomahawk steak recipe, I took a 3-pound tomahawk from Snake River Farms and dry-brined the steak for 8 hours to help tenderize the meat.

Then I added one of my favorite steak rubs (Hardcore Carnivore Black), and tossed it on the smoker at 225F until it hit an internal temperature of 120F, which took about 70 minutes. 

Finally, I transferred it over to my ripping hot GrillGrates to get an amazing crust on the exterior, and then served it with an insanely good homemade béarnaise sauce.

The result?

An American wagyu tomahawk to die for! 

tomahawk steak

The Ingredients (serving size: 1 tomahawk steak)

For the steak

  • Tomahawk steak (1 steak). I got this Tomahawk with my Snake River Farms order. It weighed in just under 3 pounds.
  • Salt. (1 tbsp). For the dry brine. 
  • Worcestershire sauce (1 tsp). To help the seasoning adhere to the steak.
  • Seasoning (1 tbsp). Use your favorite steak seasoning here. For this cook, I used Hardcore Carnivore Black.

The Directions

raw tomahawk steak

1. Dry brine the steak. If you have the time, I recommend dry-brining the tomahawk for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours.

tomahawk seasoned

2. Season the steak. Add Worcestershire sauce as a binder and steak seasoning, and allow the steak to absorb the seasoning for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat your smoker to 225F. 

tomahawk on smoker

3. Place your tomahawk steak on the smoker with an instant read thermometer. Smoke at 225F until it reaches an internal temperature of 120F, about 60-75 minutes. Remove steak from smoker and preheat your grill or cast-iron pan.

seared tomahawk

4. Transfer the tomahawk to a ripping hot grill and sear on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side, until you hit 130F internal for medium-rare (or your desired doneness).

tomahawk done

5. Allow the steak to rest for at least 10 minutes. Then, slice against the grain, serve, and ENJOY!

What Is A Tomahawk Steak?

holding tomahawk steak

My tomahawk steak from Snake River Farms

A tomahawk steak is a big, bone-in ribeye that looks like a tomahawk axe. The rib bone is Frenched—cleaned of the meat—to make the presentation stand out.

Tomahawk steaks have lots of marbling and bone, which makes it a tender, flavorful cut and a favorite amongst steak lovers.

The tomahawk that I got from Snake River Farms weighed 2.8 pounds.

Why This Recipe Works

tomahawk steak raw

This recipe brings out the natural richness of a tomahawk steak.

Fancy steak, at home. Why pay top-dollar at a steakhouse for this steak when you can make a tomahawk at home? This recipe is very easy, only requiring a handful of ingredients, and the cooking process couldn't be simpler.

Great for smoking. Because the tomahawk is so big, and has the bone left-in, it's perfect to be smoked. As you smoke it, the smoke flavors slowly penetrate the meat, and the substantial amount of fat renders down.

Tender and juicy. This tomahawk steak was incredibly tender and juicy. When smoked properly, it's one of the best pieces of steak you'll ever have.

Tomahawk Steak Cooking Temperatures

tomahawk steak juicy

I recommend cooking your tomahawk between a rare and medium-rare for the best taste and flavor. Always use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your steaks.

  • Rare. 120ºF
  • Medium rare. 130ºF
  • Medium. 135ºF
  • Medium-well. 140ºF
  • Well-done. 150ºF.

Also remember that steak will continue cooking after you remove it from the grill. So remove the steak 5 degrees lower than your desired doneness. 

Tomahawk Steak Tips For Success

  • Use a dry brine: Don't forget to dry brine your tomahawk. The dry brining process really helps to tenderize the meat even further.
  • Reverse sear for best results: Because the tomahawk steak is so thick, you'll want to reverse-sear it for the best flavor. Of course, I prefer to cook mine low-and-slow on the smoker, but an oven also works. Then, when it's come up to temperature, sear it over a ripping hit grill or cast iron pan for that epic crust.
  • Use a meat thermometer: If you want your steak cooked to the perfect doneness every time, a meat thermometer is your best friend.
  • Rest your steak: Be sure to rest your tomahawk for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it. This allows the juices to redistribute and settle throughout the meat.
  • Serve with béarnaise sauce. If you're really trying to elevate your tomahawk steak, I recommend making a homemade béarnaise sauce to go with it. It's an amazing combination.

Tomahawk Steak Storage & Reheating

  • Refrigerator storage. Cool the steak, then store it in an airtight container or wrap tightly in foil for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Freezing. You can freeze any leftover steak for up to 3 months in the fridge.
  • Reheating. Thaw steak in the fridge if frozen, reheat in an oven set to low heat, and optionally sear on high heat in a pan for a crusty exterior.

Sides Dishes For Smoked Tomahawk Steak

smoked baked beans

A flavorful side dish that adds a hearty and savory element to the meal.

smoked mac and cheese

A classic comfort food that pairs nicely with the steak.

smoked corn on the cob with a pork chop

A summer classic that goes perfectly with steak.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Long Do You Smoke A Tomahawk Steak?

You should smoke a tomahawk steak between 60-75 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired internal temperature. You can then finish cooking the steak over high heat.

Do You Flip Tomahawk Steak While Smoking?

It's not necessary to flip the tomahawk steak while smoking it. 

What's The Best Wood To Use For Smoking a Tomahawk Steak?

I recommend using a hardwood, like hickory or mesquite, when smoking a tomahawk steak. 

smoked tomahawk steak

Smoked Tomahawk Steak

Smoked tomahawk steak: Learn step-by-step BBQ techniques for this flavorful cut, from choosing the best meat to the perfect smoking process.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Dry Brine Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Servings 1 steak
Calories 17 kcal

Ingredients
  

For The Steak

  • 1 Tomahawk steak
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp steak seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Dry brine the steak. If you have the time, I recommend dry-brining the tomahawk for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours.
  • Season the steak. Add Worcestershire sauce as a binder and steak seasoning, and allow the steak to absorb the seasoning for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat your smoker to 225F.
  • Place your tomahawk steak on the smoker with an instant read thermometer. Smoke at 225F until it reaches an internal temperature of 120F, about 60-75 minutes. Remove steak from smoker and preheat your grill or cast-iron pan.
  • Transfer the tomahawk to a ripping hot grill and sear on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side, until you hit 130F internal for medium-rare (or your desired doneness).
  • Allow the steak to rest for at least 10 minutes. Then, slice against the grain, serve, and ENJOY!

Nutrition

Calories: 17kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 0.4gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 7056mgPotassium: 77mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 110IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mike Futia

Hello, I'm Mike Futia, a passionate griller and BBQ enthusiast. I'm the creator of Grill Frenzy, and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge of grilling and smoking with you. I believe that BBQ and grilling should be accessible to everyone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, I'm here to guide you on your grilling journey. Welcome!


LEARN MORE ABOUT MIKE


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