Right before Mother's Day, my friendly neighborhood purveyor of fine meats, Mini's Prime Meats of Bronxville, informed me that he would be getting tomahawk steaks in as a special order item for the holiday. I immediately put my name on the list and began to formulate how I would cook this behemoth cut of beef. Would it be smoked and/or seared on the Kamado Joe? Would the Memphis Grill get the opportunity to work its magic on it? Or would the Alfresco 42" grill be called into play? I had never cooked a tomahawk before but had seen them in various grilling cookbooks, including my favorite, "Hot Coals" where the authors opted to cook one directly over coals "caveman style".
As you can see from the pictures that follow, the cut looked as if it came from a dinosaur. It measured nearly 3" thick at its tallest point and was well-marbled and partially sheathed with a beautiful layer of fat that would provide immense flavor. Due to it's marbelization I knew that I was going with a very simple approach when it came to prepping the steak for flavor. This meant no exotic rubs or "(God forbid) marinades. The formula would be as follows:
- thick coating of olive oil massaged into the beef
- light coating of butter massaged in as well
- generous coating of coarse kosher salt
- generous coating of black pepper
So, unlike my typical ribeye recipe, I would NOT be using any coffee rub. I wanted to taste as much as the beef as possible, along with the smoke from the grill setup.
Alfresco Grill Setup
Using an Alfresco ALXE-42SZ grill and my Alfresco Solid Fuel Insert (SFI-POD), my plan was to load the insert with about 10 pieces of Kamado Joe lump hardwood charcoal and one chunk of hickory wood in order to get a nice taste of smoke. There is ample room in the solid fuel insert to load it up far more than this amount but I did not want the steak to taste like a solidified mass of smoke. After turning the gas on high, my lump coal and wood was ignited within 5-7 mins (a hell of a lot faster than my Kamado Joe!). I let them burn a little and once the flame subsided and I saw a semblance of embers, it was time to sear the steak.
Due to the size of the tomahawk my grilling times were turned upside down. Usually I sear for 1 min per side, then 2-3 mins on the normal burner then I've reached medium rare.
For this dino-steak I seared on the solid fuel insert for 2 mins per side at a temp over 1000F ( my infrared gun could not register a temp as it stops at 999F). I then moved the monster down to the normal Alfresco grates which had been set at medium temp and cooked for about 7 mins on each side. When I did the poke test I was still way too rare so I threw the steak back up on the solid fuel insert for some intense heat. I would say I added another 90 seconds on each side (tops) then took the steak off for temping. I was getting instant read temps ranging from 125F-135F.
Result - beautiful medium rare with quite a nice bark!
The Tomahawk was conquered and enjoyed by all who sampled it.