Any beef lover is going to love smoked tomahawk steaks. Rich, meaty and delicious, this reverse seared cowboy steak recipe is perfect for any kind of special occasion. All you need to make this smoked beef recipe is a bone-in ribeye steak (also known as a tomahawk), some seasonings and your Traeger grill or pellet smoker.
This delicious smoked beef recipe boasts the flavours of garlic, onion, rosemary, garlic, and more, for a robust taste. Smoked tomahawk steaks are simple to prepare and make an incredible meal.
Smoked Cowboy Steak Ingredients
Reverse seared and smoked tomahawk steaks are made with bone-in ribeye steak. In fact, tomahawk is just another way of referring to ribeye (steak from the rib area) that has the bone left in.
This is no ‘petit filet mignon’ since tomahawk steaks aren’t known for being dainty! In fact the average tomahawk weighs between 30 and 45 ounces and is a couple of inches thick! Buy yours from a trusted butcher to ensure you’re getting good quality meat.
You will also need oil, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, garlic salt, onion powder, rosemary, butter, and garlic cloves to make smoked tomahawk steaks.
If you want, you can tweak the seasonings. A pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper would be good. Readymade steak rubs can vary from the mediocre to the delicious, so if you have one you love you could use that. Personally I prefer combining my own seasonings, like in the following smoked beef recipe.
How to Make Reverse Seared Smoked Tomahawk Steaks
The first thing to do is sprinkle salt over the steaks and then let them sit in the refrigerator for an hour. This is so the salt draws out the moisture from the beef and then dissolves back into it, resulting in a juicier steak.
Let the meat come to room temperature after this. This should take between 30 and 45 minutes since the bone-in ribeye steak is so large and thick.
Now add mesquite pellets to the auger in your Traeger grill or pellet smoker and heat it up. Brush oil over each cowboy steak then add the seasonings. Add the garlic and butter as well as the rosemary.
Put a meat thermometer probe in the steak and then put the meat on a greased grill grate. Close the Traeger grill or pellet smoker lid and cook the smoked beef recipe until the meat is done to your liking. I like to get mine to 110 degrees and it takes about an hour and a half. But yours might be different.
Next you will broil the smoked tomahawk steaks under a preheated broiler. Give the meat about 3 minutes on each side and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
It’s important (very important!) to let the reverse seared meat rest before slicing it against the grain, to ensure it remains juicy and delicious. You can serve the steak as it is or with some garlic butter on top.
Reverse Sear Explained
You might be curious about this term. Often steak is browned and then finished off in the oven, in a smoker or cooked by another method. However, this recipe is different because the steaks are first smoked and then finished off under the broiler.
The main purpose of making reverse seared steak is that it’s easier to control the doneness of the meat. Once it reaches 110 degrees in the middle you can broil it for several minutes per side. This also makes sure the steak has the same ‘doneness’ throughout. A meat probe is great to have for this.
Smoking a Tomahawk Steak FAQs
Tomahawk is another name for bone-in ribeye steak. It comes from the rib cage muscles which are hardly used by the cow, making it a rich-flavoured, extra-tender cut of beef. Try your local butcher or steakhouse to get a great quality cowboy steak.
This is optional. You can either use a meat probe or else just check the doneness of the meat by pressing on it. It depends how confident you are with cooking steaks but I like to use a probe just to ensure I don’t accidentally overcook the steaks.
There are so many side dishes that pair beautifully with steak. You might have trouble deciding on what to prepare with it. Potato sides are always good and you might want to make fries, baked potatoes or even garlic parmesan mashed potato cakes. Green beans, baked beans, Mexican street style corn or a simple green salad would all work nicely.
Reverse Seared Smoked Tomahawk Steak Recipe
Smoked Tomahawk Steaks – Reverse Seared
- 2 32 Ounce steaks bone-in tomahawk, about 2” thick
- 2 Teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon black pepper coarse
- 1 Teaspoon oregano
- 1 Teaspoon parsley
- 1 Teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 Teaspoon onion powder
- 4 Sprigs rosemary
- 8 Tablespoon salted butter
- 6 Cloves garlic
- Place steak onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle ½ tsp salt onto each side of the steaks. Place into the fridge to dry brine for 1 hour.
- Remove from the fridge. Let come room temp for 30 minutes.
- When 15 minutes remains, fill the smoker auger with mesquite pellets. Preheat to 180 degrees F for 15 minutes with the lid closed.
- Brush steaks with olive oil.
- Combine pepper, oregano, parsley, garlic salt, onion powder in a small bowl or ramekin. Rub seasoning into the steak.
- Smash the garlic. Place 3 garlic cloves and 4 tablespoon size cubes of butter atop of each steak. Top with Rosemary sprigs.
- Insert a meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the steak.
- Lightly spray grill grates with vegetable oil. Place steaks directly onto the grill grates. Close the lid.
- Smoke until steak reaches an internal temp of 110 degrees F. This took us 1 hour 25 minutes, but cooking times can vary so be sure to check the temperature of the steak before removing.
- Preheat the broiler on high and set the oven rack 4” below the broiler.
- Place steak onto a baking sheet. Discard rosemary. Place under the broiler to sear for 3 minutes per side. Check internal temperature has reached 125 degrees F before removing (for medium rare)
- Place onto a wooden cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. (Carryover cooking will raise the temp 5 degrees F as it rests)
- Slice against the grain.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Smoked tomahawk steaks make a delicious dinner. You’re going to love this smoked beef recipe you can make on the Traeger grill or pellet smoker because it’s so rich-tasting and delicious.
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.