How To Reverse Sear A Tomahawk Steak In An Oven And Cast Iron Skillet

Tomahawk steaks are some of the finest cuts of beef out there, with some of the highest-quality ones selling for upwards of $100.

How To Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak in an Oven and Cast Iron Skillet

If you’re spending that much money on a premium piece of meat, you’ll definitely want to know how to cook it to perfection.

You might have heard about people reverse searing their steaks, but most people don’t know what this actually means.

Today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about this cooking process and how to get your tomahawk steaks to come out perfect every time!

Everything You Need To Know About Tomahawk Steaks

Before we look at cooking this gorgeous piece of meat, we first need to understand all the essentials about it.

This cut is taken from the rib section of the steer of the animal. Essentially, you can think of it as being the same as a bone-in rib-eye steak.

The part of the cow that this cut is taken from doesn’t get a lot of use while the animal is alive, so the meat tends to stay pretty tender.

It comes from the longissimus dorsi muscle which doesn’t get as toned as tough as other muscles in the cow.

This tender texture is one of the reasons that this particular steak is so popular.

Another reason for its popularity is its striking appearance. It gets its name from its physical likeness to the tomahawk weapon, which was first used by Native Americans.

The bone that protrudes from the steak looks like a handle for the gorgeous piece of meat that sits on the end of it.

Tomahawk steaks can be pretty sizable too. Most cuts end up being around 2 inches thick and weighing roughly 2-3 pounds!

If you want to find a really high-quality tomahawk steak nearby, you should avoid looking in supermarkets or regular grocery stores. In fact, a lot of local butchers won’t even have them in stock for you.

If you’re really struggling to find a specialty butcher that sells tomahawk steaks nearby, your best bet is to look online to get one delivered.

Of course, you’ll likely have to pay a little extra for shipping fees, but it’s definitely worth it for the quality of the meat.

What Does Reverse Searing Mean?

Reverse searing is a technique where you sear the steak in an oven or cast-iron skillet before finishing it off over high heat.

This method produces a lot more flavor than just pan frying because the steak absorbs all the flavors from the oil.

This method also gives the steak a nice crusty exterior which helps keep the inside moist. Also, this makes it ideal for medium-rare steaks.

If you want your steak cooked through, you can always finish it off in the oven after you’ve finished cooking it in the skillet.

In order to do this right, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough space in your oven or skillet to fit the entire steak.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t put the steak directly into the oven if you’re using an electric oven.

Instead, place it on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil. The foil will help prevent any grease from dripping onto the oven walls.

Reverse Searing A Tomahawk Steak

Now, it’s time to put everything we’ve just learned about tomahawk steaks and the reverse searing process into action.


First thing’s first, get your tomahawk steak in a good condition to be cooked. This means removing it from your refrigerator and allowing it to come up to roughly room temperature. You should allow at least 30 minutes for this.

While you wait for your steak to acclimatize itself with the ambient temperature in the room, you can get your other ingredients ready.

We recommend using compound herb butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper to flavor your steak. Of course, this is also time you should spend preparing any other ingredients you want to serve the steak with like vegetables and potatoes.

The only other thing to do is preheat your oven and your cast iron skillet. Set your oven to 225 °F and leave the skillet at the bottom to heat up with it.

Seasoning The Steak

Once the steak has come roughly up to room temperature, use a small, sharp knife to remove a little sliver of the fat around its edge.

Place this excess fat on a plate and cover it in plastic wrap, to be stored in the fridge and used later on.

The next step is to season the steak and pack it full of flavor that will be enhanced as it cooks. Sprinkle plenty of salt and pepper over the top, along with any other kind of steak rub you like using.

Once the steak is completely covered in your seasoning, insert an oven-safe food thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. This will give you the most accurate indications for when the meat is done cooking.

How To Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak in an Oven and Cast Iron Skillet

Baking The Steak

Like we said before, you don’t want to place your steak straight onto the shelf of your oven. Instead, line a baking tray with baking paper and a layer of aluminum foil on top. Then, place a wire cooling rack on top of that.

The sheets underneath the rack will help you out massively with the cleanup job later on!

Lay the tomahawk steak on the wire rack and leave it in the oven for roughly 45 minutes or until the thermometer reads 122 °F.

This temperature indicates a medium-rare steak, though you can adjust how long you leave it in, depending on how you like your steak cooked.

Leave It To Rest

This is a crucial step that many people forget about. Once you remove the steak from the oven, you need to allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes on the wire rack.

You don’t have to worry about covering it with foil or anything, the residual heat inside the steak will cause the temperature to rise slightly, even once it’s out of the oven.

You can expect the internal temperature of the steak to rise to about 130 °F after 8 minutes or so.

Preparing The Skillet

Remember the skillet you left in the oven and the fat that you left in the fridge earlier? Now it’s time to put them to use!

While the steak is resting, take your skillet out of the oven and place it on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Take the fat you cut off the steak out of the fridge and place it in the cast-iron skillet as it heats up.

This fat will render down and become a cooking lubricant that will stop the steak from sticking to the pan, as well as give it some incredible flavor.

Searing The Steak

Now it’s time for the real action to take place on your stovetop. Check your steak’s internal temperature

periodically as it rests and when you see it peak and then start to drop, add the rosemary to your skillet and put the heat up to max.

Then, place the steak into the ripping-hot skillet to sear on one side. After 30 seconds, flip it onto the other side but try not to move it around too much while it’s searing.

We want a nice crust to form on the exterior of the steak and this is achieved by keeping the steak still.

Repeat this process of flipping the steak and leaving it alone for roughly 5 minutes or until it looks nice and crispy on the outside.

There’s no need to check the internal temperature at this point because we’re not trying to cook the interior of the steak, rather create a crust on the outside.

Once this crust has been created, it’s time to serve the steak up immediately. This is why it’s important to make sure all your sides and other ingredients are ready at the same time as the steak.

Top it with your herb compound butter, which will melt all over it and add to the already immaculate flavors of your steak.

Now, there’s nothing left to do but dig in and enjoy all your hard work!

Other Methods For Cooking Tomahawk Steaks

If you prefer something different, here are a few more ways to cook a tomahawk steak:

How To Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak in an Oven and Cast Iron Skillet

Grill Method

Set up an outdoor grill and follow these steps:

  1. Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper
  2. Place the steak directly on the hot coals
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, turning every minute or two
  4. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing

Pan Method

  1. Place the steak in a large sauté pan and sear it over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side.
  2. Then transfer the steak to a plate and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
  3. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Slice and serve.

Stove Top Method

  1. Place the steak in a large skillet and brown it over high heat for 4-6 minutes per side.
  2. Remove the steak from the skillet and set it aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds.
  4. Return the steak to the skillet and turn the heat down low.
  5. Cover the skillet and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Turn the steak again and continue to simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove the steak from the skillet, slice, and serve.

Tomahawk Steak Recipe

Here’s one of our favorite tomahawk steak recipes for you to try:

Steak With Mushroom Sauce


  • 1 pound tomahawk steak
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • White Wine
  • Tomato Paste
  • Water
  • Brown Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cream


Season the steak generously with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is smoking hot, add the steak and sear for 4-5 minutes per side.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the pan. Continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes per side or until the meat reaches desired doneness.

Remove the steak from the pan and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. While the steak rests, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl,

combine the mushrooms, onions, garlic, rosemary, tomato paste, water, white wine, lemon juice, cream, and brown sugar.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, remove it from the stovetop and season with salt and pepper.

Carve the steak into slices and arrange them on plates. Pour the mushroom sauce over the steak and garnish it with fresh herbs if desired.

Different Levels Of Steak Doneness

When it comes to beef, we’re pretty picky when it comes to how well done our steaks should be.

We like our rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done.

The best way to tell when your steak is cooked to your liking is to use this handy guide:

  • Rare – If you can easily poke through the center of the steak with a fork, it’s ready.
  • Medium Rare – You’ll see some pinkness around the edges but not much else.
  • Medium – The steak will have a little more color than medium-rare. It may even start to look like it’s starting to get tender.
  • Medium Well – This is where most people would stop. At this point, the steak will be very tender and there won’t be any resistance when poked with a fork.
  • Well Done – This is the level that most restaurants go to. At this point, your steak will be so tender that you could eat it without a knife.


If you want to learn how to cook perfect tomahawk steaks at home, these are the things you need to know:

  • You must use a good quality cut of beef.
  • Make sure to remove the steak from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Use high heat to sear in the skillet.
  • Be patient.
  • Use a thermometer.
  • Don’t overcook the steak.

Feel free to come back and refer to this guide any time and have fun cooking!

John Rinder
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