Smoked tomahawk steaks are a thick, flintstone-like hunk of ribeye with the “handle” still attached and they taste just as awesome as they look right out of the smoker!

I make no bones about it, these steaks are easy to cook if you follow these instructions and you'll be the steak master in your neighborhood for years to come!

Be sure to use my one and only Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) just before placing them in the smoker if you really want to knock the socks off =)

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Dry Brine Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225-240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 130-135°F (medium rare)
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan/Cherry Mix
What You’ll Need
IMG 0244Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

About Smoked Tomahawk Steaks

These are simply rib eye steaks cut on each side of the bone with the “handles” still attached. It ends up looking like a tomahawk and thus the name was born.

You won't likely see these in your local grocery store but the butcher will cut them this way for you if you ask.

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Dry Brine These Bad Boys

As with any good beef steak, it's a great idea to dry brine them before serving. I've talked about this on many occasions but it's worth repeating.

Dry brining introduces salt to the interior of the steak. You sprinkle it on the top, it draws steak juices to the surface where it mixes with the salt to create a slurry. The salty liquid is then pulled into the steak and that's all there is to it!

To dry brine, you simply lay the steaks flat down, sprinkle them with coarse kosher salt and place them in the fridge for an hour or two. The thicker the steak, the longer I like to leave them.

I don't usually measure it but rather eyeball it however, professional chefs recommend ½ teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat. These tomahawks normally weigh in at about 2 lbs each so about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt should do it if you want to measure. Since we'll do both sides, you can do ½ teaspoon per side.

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These are about 2.5 inches thick so I recommend 2 hours on each side for best results.

Place the meat onto a Bradley rack or cooling rack placed over a large pan to catch any liquid that might drip off and then into the fridge for 2 hours.

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At the end of 2 hours, remove the meat from the fridge, flip it over and repeat the dry brining process on the reverse side then back into the fridge for another 2 hours.

Please note, the steak will not be salty and there is no need to rinse. It's enough salt to really bring out the flavor but it won't be overly salty at all.

It's now ready to be seasoned and cooked.

Season with the Texas Style Rub

My Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) is a perfect combination of salt and pepper with additional spices that compliment the beef and bring out the very best in it. Fortunately, it doesn't have a lot of salt so you can use it in moderation with the dry brining and still not oversalt the meat. You'll see what I mean once you use it.

Apply a little olive oil to the top and sides of the tomahawk steaks.

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Sprinkle the Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) onto the top of the steak and rub it in/spread it around with your hands. Pull some of it onto the sides of the steak as well.

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Flip the steaks over and do the same Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) seasoning on the reverse side.

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The steaks are now ready for the smoker.

Smoke them to 100-110°F

Set up the smoker for cooking at about 225°F with indirect heat. If your smoker has a water pan, fill it with water.

I used a mix of pecan and cherry wood for smoke. Any good smoking wood will work fine.

Once the smoker is ready, place the steaks directly on the smoker grate.

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Let the steaks smoke cook until they reach an internal meat temperature of 100-110°F, I highly recommend using a leave-in thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks to monitor the temperature while the steaks cook. You can also just watch them very carefully and use a Thermapen to check the temperature every 30 minutes or so. Once it gets close, you'll need to check it more often.

This should take about 1.5 hours at 225°F.

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Reverse Sear to Medium Rare

Before the steaks are finished cooking, fire up the grill or even a charcoal chimney starter so you can reverse sear these once they have reached the target temperature of 100-110°F.

Note: You can also reverse sear these on both sides in the oven under the broiler if that is easier or the only option you have available. Be sure to place the steaks on a pan to prevent grease from dripping onto the bottom of the oven.

Once again, monitor the temperature carefully using a leave-in thermometer such as the “Smoke” by Thermoworks or by using a quick reading digital thermometer such as the Thermapen.

Once the steaks are the color you like and have reached your desired level of doneness (medium rare or less is best) remove them from the heat immediately.

I usually shoot for 130°F based on my family's preference.

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Rest for 10 Minutes

Sit the finished steaks on the cabinet top with foil tented over it for about 10 minutes to rest. This allows the juices in the meat to redistribute throughout the entire steak.

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Serve and Be Proud

Slice the meat into thin pieces that are about ¼ inch thick or the thickness of a pencil. (I somehow failed to get pictures of the glorious edge to edge medium rare that was produced in the smoker.. it was so beautiful I had tears in my eyes!)

Well, don't just stand there.. let the hungry crowd dig in!

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
Jeff's Rubs and Sauce

✅ If you haven’t ordered my rubs or sauce yet you can do that HERE. They are the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!

We ship blazingly fast and orders over $50 ship free!

Check them out! | Read the reviews

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You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books
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Smoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

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Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Printable Recipe

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Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Smoked Tomahawk Steaks: Reverse Seared to Perfection

Smoked tomahawk steaks are a thick, flintstone-like hunk of ribeye with the "handle" still attached and they taste just as awesome as they look right out of the smoker!
Prep Time4 hrs 10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Servings: 4 -6

Ingredients

  • Tomahawk steaks
  • Coarse kosher salt (((for dry brining)))
  • Olive oil (((helps the rub to stick to the meat better)))
  • Jeff's Texas style rub

Instructions

  • Sprinkle coarse kosher salt onto the top side of the tomahawk steaks.
  • Set the steaks on a cooling rack over a large pan in the fridge for 2 hours to let the salt melt and soak in.
  • Flip the steaks over and repeat the salt and fridge time for 2 hours on the reverse side.
  • Brush olive oil onto the top and sides of the steak and season liberally with Jeff's Texas style rub. Repeat the oil and seasoning on the reverse side of the steaks and they are ready for the smoker.
  • Preheat the smoker to 225°F and once it's ready, place the steaks directly on the smoker grate.
  • Let the steaks cook for about 1.5 hours or until they reach 100-110°F in the center.
  • At this point, sear the steaks on a hot grill, over live coals or under the broiler of your oven. The idea is to get a good browning on the outside of the steaks for flavor.
  • Let the steaks rest under tented foil for 10 minutes then slice ¼ inch thick and serve.