Remember the best steak you ever ate or made? The best steak I ever made (and ate) was a reverse-seared prime grade ribeye. Slowly warmed with indirect heat and kissed with post oak smoke then seared and served. Wait. Now that I think about it. Maybe the best steak I ever made was a prime ribeye seared in a cast iron skillet and bathed and basted with butter, oil, garlic, and herbs. Hmmmm. This is tougher than I thought it would be. I really loved both recipes. I wonder if I combine the two methods I can top them both. Take the best of both recipes to make the ultimate steak! I don’t know if this will be the greatest steak recipe for all eternity, but it’s close. And if it isn’t? Hey, I can always try again next week!?!

How to Grill a Tomahawk in a Cast Iron Pan Ingredients:

1 tomahawk beef steak (preferably choice or prime grade and approximately 3 lbs)

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/2 cup oil-divided (I used olive but prefer grape seed or avocado for high heat)
1/2 lb butter (two sticks)
1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
3 whole cloves of garlic
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme (sub rosemary if you prefer)
1 chunk of favorite smoke wood (I used post oak)
To begin the search for the most awesomest steak recipe ever, we’re going to need a steak, a really big steak! Don’t even try this with anything on the shy side of 1.5 inches.  2 inches would be better. And if I’m going to go big here, I might as well go with a tomahawk! Because nothing says awesome like 18 inches of bone that cost $19.99/pound that nobody will eat!? OK, it looks good in the pics and on the Gram! We’re not afraid to admit that. 
Tomahawk Rib Eye Standing on End
Can your steak do this??
Let’s check this steak out. Will it fit on my grill?
Measuring a tomahawk steak with a yardstick
It’s OK to have steak envy
We’re also going to need a cast iron pan. If you don’t have one, here is my go to pan that’s less than $25. That’s a steal considering it will last many lifetimes. And to maintain your cast iron, we highly recommend this stuff called Crisbee. It looks like deodorant but it is amazing at keeping the rust off the cast iron. One stick of this stuff should last many years. 
The tomahawk was brought to room temperature then seasoned with simple kosher salt and coarse black pepper. It’s OK to add in a bit of granulated garlic too. A light application of oil will aid in the seasoning adhering to the meat. Usually a high heat oil such as canola, grape seed, or avocado oil works best for this recipe.
A tomahawk steak with a couple mounds of seasoning
Let’s season this bad boy up!
And just because we love this monster steak, let’s feature it one more time:
MASSIVE tomahawk steak
Hey! Does this pic make my steak look even bigger?!
Here’s the steak with the seasoning applied. Often, I’ll salt the steak a couple hours prior to grilling for a quick dry brine.
Seasoned tomahawk
With as thick as this is, lay the seasoning on thick because the exterior to meat ratio is pretty low.
Seasoning the outer edge of the steak
Don’t forget to season the edge!
Ready for the grill:
Seasoned steak and eager for the heat!
Seasoned and eager for the heat!
Set up the grill for two zone cooking with coals on one side and nothing on the other:
This is your standard indirect, or two zone grilling set up: coals on one side, nothing on the other.
This is your standard indirect, or two zone grilling set up: coals on one side, nothing on the other.
Place the tomahawk on the cool side. Now would be a good time to toss in a chunk of smoke wood. I’ve found that post oak works really well with beef but other hardwoods would work also:
The tomahawk barely fits on the grill
Here’s what was used for the skillet finish of the big ole hunk of beef. Butter, oil, garlic, shallots, and fresh thyme sprigs:
Ingredients for a butter bath for the steak
This is the added touch that really takes our rib eye steak to the next level
Cook/smoke the steak until it reaches 110 degrees internal temperature. I overshot the target temp a bit but it still turned out fine. Remember to always cook to temperature not time. A handy dandy instant read probe thermometer is a must have (and HIGHLY recommended by the Grillin’ Fools):
The steak reads 115 internal
110, 115, whatever it takes (Mr. Mom reference)
***Editor’s Note ~ That 115 reading is at the outer edge of the steak. I bet a reading closer to the middle would’ve shown the steak was at 110 or even a few degrees lower***
Heat the cast iron skillet on the hot side of the grill and add the oil:
A cast iron pan heating up over the coals next to a massive steak
Time for a bath! A scalding hot, oh so delicious, oil bath!
When the oil is hot, quickly sear the steak on both sides. Next add in the butter, garlic, shallot, and thyme. Using a spoon, continually baste and bathe the beef with the melted mixture until the desired temperature is reached. I usually target 125-130 for medium rare:
A tomahawk steak in a butter bath with garlic and herbs
Keep pouring the butter, herbs, garlic and shallots over the steak, one spoonful at a time.
Remove the rib eye from the cast iron and set on a cutting board to rest:
A tomahawk rib eye topped with herbs and garlic, resting on a cutting board
For a steak this size, a minimum of a five minute rest is needed, if not 10
Sliced and plated:
The steak sliced on a bed of greens
How does this look?
Where’s the bone? Probably in my hand that isn’t holding the camera. Save the pan juices and drizzle over for a delightful buttery finish. So was it the ultimate steak recipe? Well, that’s for you to decide. As for me, I’m going to keep trying to perfect perfection. I think I need to get a bigger skillet though.
If you have any questions or comments (or your own favorite steak grilling method), feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

How to Grill a Tomahawk in a Cast Iron Pan

A tomahawk steak reverse seared and finished in a cast iron pan with butter, garlic, shallots and herbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Steak


  • 1 tomahawk beef steak (preferably choice or prime grade and approximately 3 lbs)
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup coarse ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup granulated garlic
  • ½ cup oil divided (I used olive but prefer grape seed or avocado for high heat)
  • ½ lb salted butter (2 stick)
  • ½ cup shallots finely sliced
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 6 to 8 sprig fresh thyme (substitute rosemary if you prefer)
  • 1 chunk your favorite smoke wood (I used post oak)


  • Season the steak liberally with salt, pepper and garlic, being sure to hit the top, bottom and the sides
  • Set up the grill for indirect or two zone grilling which means coals on one side and nothing on the other, or coals at the bottom and a plate setter in the middle in the case of a kamado grill
  • Toss in a chunk of hardwood for smoke flavor (oak and pecan work beautifully here)
  • Smoke the steak on the cool side until it reaches 110F
  • Stoke up the fire and place the cast iron skillet over the heat and pour in the oil
  • When the oil is piping hot, sear the steak on both sides and then drop in the butter, garlic, shallots, and herbs
  • Spoon the butter mixture over the steak over and over, basting it in flavor
  • Flip the steak over and repeat on the other side
  • When the steak reaches 125-130 (rare), remove from the heat to let it rest. If you like your steak a little more well done, continue to baste until it is where you like it
  • Let the steak rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes
  • Slice and serve
Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas

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