The tomahawk ribeye is a specialty cut steak that you probably won’t find at your local supermarket. I had to ask my butcher to specially cut these bad boys, but it’s worth the extra effort.

This steak is an extra thick (think 1 1/2-2”) prime ribeye with a portion of the rib bone still attached.  The butcher “Frenchs” the bone back by trimming off excess meat and membrane and what’s left is the perfect handle for eating a giant steak.


For a steak of this magnitude you don’t want to just throw it on a grill.  It takes a little pre-planning.

A normal grill would cook the outside way before the inside comes up to temp, so you’re left with an under done piece of meat. Now I lean a little to the rare side when it comes to steak, but I definitely don’t want to eat cold meat especially after paying top dollar.

That’s where the technique I’m using this week comes into play. It is called the “Reverse Sear” and it’s the perfect way to cook any large steak.

How the reverse sear works is, first the steak is started out at a low temperature until its almost done, then the temp is raised to “seal-in” the juices from the outside.

Here’s how I used it for cooking the perfect Tomahawk Ribeye


It all starts with a simple seasoning. Good beef doesn’t need anything that will cover-up the natural flavor of the meat. That means no marinade or injection. Basic seasonings like Salt, Garlic, and a little Black Pepper are all that you need. These three make up my AP seasoning which is great on beef.


To bind the seasoning and help the meat brown ,I brush on a light coat of Canola oil before the seasoning.

The steaks need to rest about 30 minutes to come up to room temperature which is the perfect time for firing up the smoker.

Today I’m using two grills. First the Yoder pellet grill is brought up to 250 degrees for the slow part of the reverse sear. You can use a regular grill set up for indirect cooking as well, just be sure that the temperature is in the 250 range.


Cooking the steak low and slow at first allows the meat to cook evenly, and it will keep moisture (which is flavor) inside the meat longer.

You do need a good thermometer when it comes to doing a reverse sear. I use a Chef Alarm wired probe thermometer, so I can see what’s going on while the steaks are on the pit. I don’t like guessing when it comes to expensive meat.

The target temperature for the first part of this cook is 115. It’s about 10 degrees shy of my final range and leaves enough time to put the final Hot & Fast sear on the outside.

For these steaks it takes about 1 hour at 250 to get them to the mark, but that’s where your thermometer comes in handy. Don’t go by time alone, trust the thermometer and pull it off when it hits 115 internal regardless of time.


While the steaks are slowly coming up to temp on the smoker, I fired up the Second grill to finish off the process. My trusty 22” Weber kettle is just the grill for the job. With a set of grill grates added it’s a steak grilling machine. Hey I even took it to Texas to compete in a Ribeye steak cook-off (came in 2nd place!)

It takes about 30 minutes to get the Weber fired up and ready, so I start it half way through the slow cook process.

When the steaks hit the 115 mark take them inside and brush the outside with melted butter. You thought it couldn’t get any better right? Also lightly sprinkle both sides with a coarse mixture of salt and pepper; I use Mccormick’s Montreal Blend which has a nice mix of peppers and a little extra kick. Now the steaks are ready for the final sear.


Get the ribeyes on the grill grates and set a timer for 2 minutes. I want these steaks to finish at 125-130 degrees, but I also want good looking grate marks on each side. This is where the grill grates work magic.

After the first 2 minutes, rotate the steaks a quarter turn. Set the timer for 2 minutes again and step back. As soon as the timer goes off flip the steaks and repeat the same process. It’s going to take approximately 8 minutes total for the steaks to hit the medium rare range. Use a thermometer and get them off the grill when you see 125-130 degrees.


For me the last part of the cooking process is the hardest, the final rest. You’ve heard me say it before but it’s important to rest any piece of meat when it comes off the grill and that really applies to thick steaks like these.

When it is finally time to sample this meat, you’ll understand why I do the reverse sear. Yes, it’s a longer process for cooking a steak but it’s definitely worth the effort.


Try this technique out the next time you cook a big steak and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there, especially to my Dad, Mike Reed!


Malcom Reed

Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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About the Author

I am Malcom Reed and my brother, Waylon, and I are the Killer Hogs competition bbq team. Here at, I want to give you my secrets, methods and techniques you need to produce competition-quality BBQ. I want to give enough detail for BBQ novices, but still offer information that is useful for the professional BBQ cooks. I only focus on REAL bbq. And I take it seriously.

3 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. papajim November 22, 2014 at 7:04 am -

    Watched your video on reverse sear. Wondering since meat is about 75% water would water be better than canola oil for the tomahawk steaks. Water and oil don’t mix. Please advice because I cook a lot of brisket using oil on brisket before S&P and garlic has been applied. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Jim Anderson

  2. Don47 May 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm -

    Fantastic recipe! Steak came out perfect.

  3. Arvid March 10, 2017 at 6:51 pm -

    Reverse sear is my new religion.
    I also like Montreal. I add a bit of lemon juice instead of oil. Also, add a bit of Old Bay.
    Once it’s all seared and rested, dust with Spice Islands garlic powder (no other brand will do). Grind on some pepper.

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