Understanding Tomahawk Steak Price: Factors Impacting Cost

A Tomahawk Steak is pricey due to its large size, specific preparation, and high demand. It’s a ribeye cut with a long bone for presentation, typically costing between $90 and $200.

Why Is a Tomahawk Steak So Expensive

A Tomahawk Steak is expensive because it’s a large cut of beef ribeye that includes at least five inches of the rib bone, which adds to its weight and presentation value. It also requires specific butchery skills to prepare, and the high demand combined with limited supply can drive up the price.

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How much does a Tomahawk Steak cost?

The cost of a Tomahawk Steak can vary widely depending on the quality of the meat and where it’s purchased. A Tomahawk steak price typically ranges from around $90 and $200 per steak.

Reason – Tomahawk Steaks are made from High Quality Primal Cuts

The main reason tomahawk steak is so expensive is that the Tomahawk steak cut is prepared from the ribeye (just like the similar Cowboy steak). Bone-in ribeyes are large, hearty steaks cut from the forequarter rib section of the beef.

Scheme of Beef cuts for steak and roast. Vector

This beef cut is super tender because of the marbled fat spread throughout the meat. Marbling equals tenderness and flavor (similar to other expensive options like Wagyu Picanha). 

Also, the rib meat is not as muscular as other parts of the beef, which makes for a deep, savory, and moist delicacy.

Reason – Tomahawk Steaks Need Extra Processing & Preparation

The bone-in ribeye steak (side note – a boneless ribeye is often called a Spencer Steak) transforms into a tomahawk steak when it’s French trimmed. This means the meat is scraped off about 5 inches of the rib bone.

This makes the steak look like it has a handle, thus the tomahawk name. For those primal eaters, it actually can be a handle to grab onto for eating this juicy steak right off the bone.

Once it’s frenched, the ribeye is known as a tomahawk steak. Some people refer to it as a  cote de boeuf or a cowboy steak.

Although the cowboy steak is a ribeye, it has a shorter bone than a tomahawk steak making it a slightly less impressive steak.

Reason – Tomahawk Steaks are Usually Large & Heavy

Raw Tomahawk Steak Understanding Tomahawk Steak Price: Factors Impacting Cost

Authentic tomahawk steaks are easily 1 to 2 inches thick and, with the bone, at least a foot long. They usually weigh about 3 to 4 pounds, which is a much larger portion than most cuts of steak.

Reason – Tomahawk Steaks are Novel, Fun & Well-Marketed

So, the main reasons tomahawk steak is so expensive is it’s a prime, massive cut of marbled, flavorful meat. The dry-aged bone-in rib eye adds more value to the steak.

But finally, it’s well-marketed and novel in a way that a “regular” expensive steak (like filet mignon or porterhouse steak) is not.

It’s an Instagram ready steak in ways that other expensive steak options like a filet mignon or a Porterhouse steak is not, and it simply makes for a fun dining experience. That experience adds value & expense to the steak.

What is a Tomahawk Steak Anyway?

A Tomahawk Steak, often referred to as a bone-in ribeye or cowboy steak, is a large cut of beef known for its Frenched bone that extends from the center of the meat and resembles a single-handed axe, which gives it the name “Tomahawk”.

This bone, often left long for presentation purposes, can range from 6 to 8 inches in length. The steak itself is essentially a ribeye beef steak specifically cut with at least five inches of rib bone left intact.

The Tomahawk Steak comes from the rib primal, situated under the front section of the backbone on the cow. This area is known for producing some of the most tender meat due to its lack of connective tissue. The steak is rich, juicy, and full-flavored with generous marbling throughout.

One of the reasons it’s so popular is because of its large size and dramatic presentation, but it’s also loved for its tenderness and rich flavor profile. Cooking methods for the Tomahawk Steak typically involve grilling, broiling, or roasting.

Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk

Cowboy Steak and Tomahawk steak are both popular cuts of beef that originate from the rib section of a cow. The Cowboy Steak, also known as the Cowboy Ribeye Steak or Bone-In Ribeye Steak, is a larger version of a classic steakhouse favorite. It contains more meat beyond the eye and features a frenched bone, which is cleaned of meat and fat, protruding from one end.

Cowboy Ribeye Uncooked Understanding Tomahawk Steak Price: Factors Impacting Cost
Cowboy Steak – note the lack of the Tomahawk “handle”

On the other hand, the Tomahawk steak is characterized by its large fat content and a long frenched bone, which contributes to its rich, intense flavor. The main differences between these two cuts lie in their size, fat content, and the length of the bone.

While both steaks are flavorful due to being bone-in cuts from the prime rib roast, some argue that the Tomahawk’s extra bone makes it more flavorful, although this is subjective. In terms of preparation, both steaks are best cooked by searing on a grill over high heat and then finished in the oven.

Porterhouse vs Tomahawk

Porterhouse and Tomahawk are both high-quality cuts of beef, each with their unique characteristics. The Porterhouse steak is a large cut that combines the tenderloin and the top loin (New York Strip), separated by a T-shaped bone. It is known for its rich flavor and tenderness, making it a popular choice for grilling or broiling.

On the other hand, the Tomahawk steak, named for its resemblance to a tomahawk axe, is essentially a ribeye steak with the full rib bone left intact. This gives it an impressive presentation, often used in high-end restaurants. The Tomahawk is well-marbled, leading to a very flavorful and juicy steak when cooked properly. Both cuts are typically cooked on high heat to achieve a seared crust while keeping the inside tender and juicy. And both are truly delectable cuts.

How Much Is A Tomahawk Steak At A Restaurant?

The price of a Tomahawk steak varies depending on the location and the restaurant’s prestige. On average, the price range for a Tomahawk steak typically falls between $90 and $200, as reported on August 21, 2023. However, prices can go as high as $195 or more in some steakhouses. For those with a taste for luxury, the most expensive steak in the world is a Japanese A5 Wagyu tomahawk called the Papi Steak, which costs a staggering $1,000 and is served at the Aragawa restaurant in Tokyo, Japan.

How to Choose a Tomahawk Steak in the Store

Whether you buy your steak at the local butcher, the grocery store, or online retailer like Porter Road, a good way to increase your chances of finding a decent tomahawk steak is to know what piece to choose for your culinary journey.

Cuts of Steak(1)

Since tomahawk steak is a luxury cut, you should call ahead to your butcher or grocery store to order it. Make sure to ask for a steak cut from the loin end of the rib roast. They’re the most tender.

Here are a few tips on selecting a full-flavored tomahawk steak:

Examine the Cut

Spend some time inspecting the rib eye steak. If you see any gray or brown on the steaks, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve gone bad.

But, it could mean that they’ve been on the shelf for a while. The freshest tomahawk steak will be red.

Keep in mind that ribeye might not be as red as cheaper cuts of flank or chuck. This is because the cuts from thicker muscle have more myoglobin, which makes the red color.

Another note is that thicker steaks like the tomahawk are fresher on the inside because less meat is exposed to the air.

Look for Fat & Marbling

Even though many people are conscious of fatty foods, when it comes to steak, it’s a good thing. The whole point of marbling is that it adds flavor and tenderness to the meat.

You don’t want too much fat around the outside of the meat, but some fat helps it cook evenly.

Check the Labels

The labels placed on meat packages today are confusing. You might see labels for ‘grass-fed,’ ‘organic’, and ‘pasture-raised.’ So, how do you decide which is the best?

  • Dry-Aged – Premium grades of meat like tomahawk steaks are sometimes dry-aged. The meat is aged under controlled conditions that improve flavor, tenderness and add value. The drying concentrates the flavor. Most likely, you won’t find dry-aged steaks at the grocery store. They’re usually offered at restaurants and specialty meat markets.
  • Grass-Fed –  This doesn’t necessarily mean that grass is the only thing the cattle ate. Completely grass-fed cattle is ideal, but the USDA only requires the beef to eat 50 percent grass. So, the USDA label for grass-fed doesn’t mean it’s fully grass-fed, but it still indicates higher quality..
  • Pasture-Raised – You might think this label means the cattle only ate grass, but this isn’t true. It actually means that the cattle lived in a pasture or meadow. It doesn’t mean that they only ate grass.
  • Organic – When you see the USDA organic label, it means the cattle weren’t exposed to any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. They can also graze in a pasture year-round. The only grain they can eat is hormones and antibiotic-free. Organic meat is the most regulated and demanding, so this would be your best choice when selecting tomahawk steaks.

If you’re buying from a butcher, you can ask about the labels for your steaks.

How to Cook a Thick Tomahawk Steak at Home

Since the tomahawk steak is so incredible both in flavor and visual plate appeal, you want to keep the preparation simple.

Just a little coarse salt, pepper, and a dab or butter, olive oil or blue cheese will unlock the flavor.

Tomahawk Steak

Although everyone has a favorite way of cooking steak, reverse searing is one of the best methods for tomahawk steaks. Reverse searing is a method for indirect grilling at a low temperature to cook the inside of the steak.

This also allows you to smoke the steak if you like the smoked flavor. Be sure to make use of a good meat thermometer.

Tomahawk Steak

After the indirect cooking, place the steaks directly on the high heat part of your grill grate or cast iron pan. Sear them until they’re sizzling with the melted fats, and become crusty. This usually takes from 2 to 4 minutes on each side.

How to Get the Most from a Restaurant Tomahawk Steak

Enjoying an evenly charred tomahawk steak at a high-end restaurant is like eating a little piece of paradise.

To get the most out of your steak when ordering at a restaurant, you want to make sure they’re transparent about where they purchase their steaks. This way, you’ll know the quality of the meat.

If you’re lucky, the restaurant will let you choose your steak. Then, you can check the color, marbling, and size.

For those with hearty appetites, you can select a rack of tomahawk steaks that can weigh as much as 100 ounces.

Make sure you give instructions about how you like your meat cooked. Tomahawk steaks are delicious when grilled to medium-rare.

Alternatives to the Tomahawk Steak

Don’t worry if you’re on a budget, or you just want a flavorful steak to grill for your friends and family. You can find great ribeyes and other cuts of meat that are tender and juicy.

Here are a few alternative steaks you can grill in place of tomahawk steaks:

  • Ribeye Steak – Usually without the bone, tender and juicy
  • T Bone Steak – Two steaks in one, top loin and tenderloin
  • Strip – One half of a T-bone
  • Sirloin – Fast cooking and flavorful
  • Rump – A bit tougher but full of flavor

As you can see, you don’t have to give up the flavor of steak if tomahawk steaks aren’t in your budget (or you could just buy a whole cow).

Is a Tomahawk Steak Worth the Price?

Tomahawk steaks are huge cuts of meat, which increases the cost. Also, you’ll pay more if it’s dry-aged. Whether tomahawk steak is worth the price is a matter of individual taste.

If you’re all about steak and love them tender and juicy, then splurging on a tomahawk steak would be worth the price for you.

If you get one that’s cooked right either in a restaurant or at home, it will be one of the best steaks you’ve ever eaten.

FAQs About Why Is a Tomahawk Steak So Expensive

Here are a few FAQs about Tomahawk Steak.

Are tomahawk steaks worth the money?

Tomahawk steaks are undeniably delicious, novel, and interesting. They are not a “classic” or primal cut, though (i.e., ribeye is a primal cut). We think they are a fun dining experience, even if it’s not something we’d buy regularly.

What’s the point of Tomahawk Steak?

The point of Tomahawk steak is to enjoy a large, meaty cut of steak that is cooked to perfection. This cut of steak comes from the rib section and has a lot of flavor. Tomahawk steak is perfect for those who love their meat big and juicy. It’s novel, fun, and different.

Yes, there’s a lot of marketing that goes into the Tomahawk Steak, but that’s exactly what makes it fun and different.

Is Tomahawk Steak a good cut?

A tomahawk steak is not a cut of beef – it’s a style of a cut (usually ribeye). However, they are generally cut from a good cut of beef.

What’s so special about a tomahawk steak?

A tomahawk steak is special because of its unique shape. The long, thick cut of meat is similar to a ribeye, but features a large bone running down the center that makes it look like a tomahawk axe. This interesting presentation makes the steak an impressive addition to any dinner table.

How do you get a good Tomahawk Steak?

Make sure you are paying for a good, fresh primal cut of beef (like rib eye) that will be made into a tomahawk. A good Tomahawk Steak should not be marinated. It should just be season and cooked properly.

Is Tomahawk steak better than ribeye?

They are usually the same thing. A tomahawk steak is a beef dish usually served in steakhouses. The cut of meat has nothing to do with being better–it’s the presentation and uniqueness that makes it special.

Why wagyu tomahawk is expensive?

Wagyu tomahawk steak is expensive because Wagyu beef is a high-quality, luxury meat. The cattle that produce Wagyu beef are bred for superior marbling and typically yield a much higher percentage of intramuscular fat than other breeds.

This higher level of marbling results in a more tender, juicy and flavorful steak. Additionally, the extra processing and presentation of a tomahawk makes it that much more expensive. Be sue to pair it with an amazing meal.

What’s the difference between tomahawk and cowboy steak?

There’s no real difference, except the Tomahawk is usually cut to have a longer bone for its “handle” than the cowboy.

How many will a tomahawk steak feed?

A tomahawk steak will probably feed 2-3 people, depending on how hungry they are. It’s a pretty hefty piece of meat!

However, that all depends on how large the cut is. Look at the total ounces and divide by 6oz.

How much does a Tomahawk steak cost?

A tomahawk steak can cost up to $119 at a steakhouse. It is a ribeye steak that is cut from the shoulder blade and has a long, thick bone running down the center.

What is the most expensive steak in the world?

The most expensive steak in the world is the Japanese Wagyu beef, known as Kobe beef. It is derived from Tajima-gyu cattle raised in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture and is famous for its exceptional marbling, tenderness, and delicious buttery taste. The exorbitant cost of Kobe beef can be attributed to various factors.

Is cowboy ribeye same as tomahawk?

The cowboy ribeye is not the same as the tomahawk. The cowboy steak is leaner and has less fat, while the tomahawk steak is fattier and more marbled, resulting in a more intense and rich flavor. One notable visual distinction is that tomahawk steaks have a long frenched bone that enhances the taste, whereas cowboy steaks have a shorter bone.

How much is the average tomahawk steak?

The average price of a tomahawk steak varies between $35 to $70 per pound, depending on your location in the States. Additionally, you can find tomahawk steaks available for purchase at your local butcher.

How long does a tomahawk steak last?

The tomahawk steak can last for 3-5 days when stored in the refrigerator. It is important to consider the sell-by dates and expiration date. Although the steak may still be fresh a few days after the sell-by date, it is advisable to freeze it before the expiration date if you do not plan to use it by then.

Is tomahawk steak medium or rare?

The tomahawk steak is recommended to be cooked to a medium-rare level. To achieve this, broil the 2-inch steak in the oven for approximately 19-21 minutes, flipping it around 1 minute before reaching the halfway mark. It is important to ensure that the meat thermometer reads 130°F.

Which is better tomahawk or T-bone?

The Tomahawk Steak is a great choice if you enjoy bone-in steaks like T-bone or Porterhouse because it features the same primary muscle, the longissimus dorsi (back muscle).

What is a tomahawk steak equivalent to?

The tomahawk steak can be considered as an equivalent to a bone-attached beef rib in United States cuisine. It is also known as a rib steak, beef rib, bone-in beef rib, bone-in rib steak, ribeye steak, or cowboy cut.

Can you eat a tomahawk steak rare?

A tomahawk steak can be enjoyed rare, but it is recommended to cook it to medium rare or medium in order to fully savor its range of flavors. To achieve your desired level of doneness, use a meat thermometer and aim for a temperature of 120ºF for rare.

What is the average price of a tomahawk steak?

The average price of a tomahawk steak can range between $35 to $70 per pound, depending on your location in the United States. Additionally, you can also find tomahawk steaks available for purchase at your nearby butcher.

Does a tomahawk steak taste better?

The tomahawk steak offers a superior taste experience due to its premium quality. This exquisite cut, sourced from the rib cage of a steer, boasts a distinctive look, tenderness, and a delightful burst of flavor. Steak enthusiasts, in particular, will relish in the indulgence provided by this succulent beef.

Why are tomahawk steaks more expensive than ribeyes?

Tomahawk steaks are more expensive than ribeyes because the bone-in cut of the Tomahawk steak is believed to enhance the flavor, resulting in a premium price for these steaks.

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