The Secrets of the Tomahawk Steak

If you like bone-in steaks such as T-bone or Porterhouse, you’ll love the “Tomahawk Steak”. But what makes the tomahawk steak the giant of all steaks? Let’s cut into this epic beef dish, and uncover some of the mysteries behind the tomahawk steak.

All about the Bone

Although the named after the ax-like weapon because of it’s shape, the tomahawk steak is technically a regular ribeye steak that still has the bone. The long rib bone attached is what makes the handle of the Tomahawk steak. It is marbled, moist, and has an intense flavor thanks to its intact rib bone.

The bone in a Tomahawk steak is a great source of flavor and helps tempers the meat while cooking, allowing it to cook slower, and trims the danger of drying out the meat. The bone in a tomahawk steak can also provides a richer and deeper flavor with the added bonus of the juices from the bone marrow during cooking.

A Steak of Many Names

The legend of the tomahawk steak can be traced to the cowboys of Texas who often added Mexican spices to their meals. The flayed rib bone gives this steak the appearance of a hatchet or an Indigenous American tomahawk, which is where the name originates from. “Tomahawk” is just one of the steak’s many nicknames. Also known as a similar version like “cowboy steak,” a “côte de boeuf,” or a “Delmonico steak,” tomahawk is often seen as more hefty portion, but still has the buttery soft texture of a ribeye with the butter flavoring of bone marrow.


Another distinguishing factor between a regular ribeye and a Tomahawk steak is size. Tomahawk steaks are generally at least 5 centermeters thick, measure 20 to 30 centermeters in length(with bone), and can weigh over a kilo. The thickness of the tomahawk cut often depends on the thickness of the bone, but it is so big that it can usually feed at least two people.

French Cut

The signature bone look that makes the handle of the tomahawk is created using a technique called frenching. The neat and tidy look is accomplished through a classic food preparation technique known as “frenching.” Frenching is a culinary cleaning technique where all fat, meat, or other tissue is scraped and removed from the naked bone, but leaves a good portion of meat. This technique also allows you to pick up a Tomahawk steak easily if you want to bit into the juicy steak like a cave man. According to legend, cowboys used to eat their steak while holding the bone like a handle.

The Tender Bits

Tomahawk steaks are cut from the the longissimus dorsi muscles which are rarely used which are located outside of the cow’s ribcage. This marvelous tender, highly marbleized cut of beef is from the back muscle, which is also the main muscle on the T-bone and Porterhouse.

This muscle group is located along the posterior area of a cow, following along the rib cage of a cow’s upper back. The muscles that are used to make tomahawk steaks lie underneath the ribs and are barely used. This creates a marbling of fat and its rich flavorful taste.

The Golden Cut

Tomahawk steaks are usually the most expensive cuts of steak on the menu. An entire Tomahawk steak can end up costing several hundred dollars in some places, even fetching up to $1,000 for one encased in a rhinestone briefcase.

If you are searching of one in Cambodia, you are in luck! The restaurant Topaz, which just made it to the top 100 restaurants in Asia list, has a Tajima Tomahawk steak that can be a meal for 4 people. The Tajima Wagyu has the beautiful marbling and the juicy flavors that will melt in your mouth. Served with grilled vegetables and a selection of sauces, you don’t want to miss out!

Written by: Sotheavy Nou

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