A raw tomahawk steak in a cast iron pan

Wow! That’s a lot of words in the title of this grilling post and I even left out one, “inverted.” More on that in a minute.

I love grilling a tomahawk steak. There’s something primal about the cut and it really wows my dinner guests when I present that beast. I also love the even browning of a cast iron pan. There’s only one problem. Do you see the gap between the steak and the side of the pan because the bone has the steak propped up at the bottom? It makes it kind of hard to get that even sear on a 3 pound hunk of beef in the cast iron skillet. Are you with me here? Don’t worry. We have a fix for this. And it’s so incredibly simple.

Well,”First Things First,” according to Mr. Covey, so we need the basic fire and we’d like it fast. This is where the Electro Torch just became my new best fiery friend. This is the next level in terms of these electric fire starters. Instead of describing what it does I will show what it does with this video of Scott lighting the charcoal for this cook. Notice this is all in real time and the video is just a whisker over 2 minutes:

Using the dual ignition switch in the first position of the Electro Torch yields coals quickly considering it blasts 1500 degrees (don’t mistake this for your hair dryer – ouch!). The second position sends high velocity air flow to fan the flames and produce a kick ass fire in 2-3 minutes. No chemicals or matches needed just plug ‘n play. Now that I think of it, if the Electro Torch can reach 1500 degrees, perhaps I could/should sear a steak with it? Another post maybe?

Reverse Sear Tomahawk Ribeye Ingredients

  • 1 massive tomahawk (at least 2 inches thick)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cast iron pan

So why reverse sear? Why not sear first then smoke? Because once we sear the steak, it won’t take on much smoke. But we need to do the searing because the browning of the meat creates that beautiful flavor crust but also caramelizes the proteins (which is the key to the char tasting so great). So instead of searing first and then smoking, we imbue the meat with smoke, THEN sear.  The meat comes up to temp much more slowly than searing first and we get a more even cook with that beautiful coast to coast color. And with using a cast iron pan, we get coast to coast char as well. Win, win, win! Don’t believe me on the reverse sear? I’m not the only one! 

Let’s get after it

Reverse Sear Tomahawk Ribeye Prep and Grilling Instructions

Season the tomahawk with salt and pepper and wrap the bone with some aluminum foil.  Next up get the grill going. The kamado grill is set up for indirect cooking with a plate setter installed. Target temp inside the grill is 250-275. Before we get to the searing on cast iron, we’re going to put some good old oak smoke flavor into this massive chunk ‘o beef:

A tomahawk steak smoking on a kamado grill
Our tomahawk getting a kiss of smoke

Once the steak reaches 120 degrees internal temperature we’ll pull it and prepare for the sear action:

A tomahawk steak smoked to 120f and ready to be seared
The reverse part is done, the sear is next.

At this point the steak was removed, the grill grate lifted and the plate setter removed to achieve direct fire grilling. We opened the vents but breaking out the Electro Torch again to fan the flames gave us a raging fire in a heartbeat, or two.

The trick to searing a tomahawk steak on a cast iron pan

So what is this trick to getting an even sear on a massive tomahawk? We placed the cast iron pan in the inverted position (upside down) to yield maximum surface contact for the beef without having to struggle with an unbending bone:

An inverted cast iron pan at 550 degrees
How slick and simple is this?

The target temperature was 550 degrees and it was HOT! The seasoning of the skillet was pretty much baked off. If you don’t have an infrared thermometer to give you the temp, hold your hand a couple inches above the cast iron pan, if you can hold it there for just one Mississippi, then it’s hot enough. If you can hold it there for 3 or 4 Mississippi then it’s not hot enough, so keep stoking that fire. Also, some really good hand and arm protection might be a good idea. Welding gloves that go to the elbow are a good idea here.

Once it’s hot enough slap that slab of beef down on the bottom side of the pan:

A tomahawk steak smoking furiously on the bottom side of a cast iron pan on a grill
See how grey the pan is? All the seasoning is gone. Scott had to reseason the pan after this cook because that fire was that HOT

The tomahawk was dropped onto the blazing cast iron pan bottom. The reaction was quite sensational. Here’s some video of that magic:

Please use caution when flipping as the hot juices can ignite and splatter at this temperature.

Wanna closer look at that steak fog?

A tomahawk steak searing on the underside of a cast iron pan
Mmmmmmm, steak fog!

How was the sear action? Just look at that flavor crust! Mr. Maillard himself would be proud:

A beautifully browned tomahawk steak
A beautifully browned tomahawk steak

How did the tomahawk ribeye steak turn out? I’ll wait while you zoom in. Yes, it was as good as it looks.

A sliced tomahawk steak
Coast to coast red!

Reminds me of some of the steaks I’ve seen done with the trendy sous vide method then grill finished. Edge to edge beautiful color but with the bonus of that delightful smoky and charred flavor that one can’t get with sous vide. If you give this a try I’d suggest only attempting this with a steak 2 inches thick or more. Thin steaks will likely be overcooked, unless of course you’re going for medium, medium well or well done. Then, knock yourself out.

It all begins with starting a hot fire. Thanks Electro Torch!

Reverse Seared Tomahawk Ribeye
How does that look?

One more bonus pic:

Reverse Seared Tomahawk Ribeye
How many slices would you eat?

Reverse Seared Tomahawk Steak Summary

If you need other steak recipes, click here

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

We are very proud to partner with the Electro Torch from HomeRight on this post. We honestly use this torch every single time we grill and we also use them to stoke the fireplace in the winter time when huddled around the hearth.

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page and Instagram.

Reverse Sear Tomahawk Ribeye on a Cast Iron Pan

An ingenious way to get edge to edge browning on a tomahawk steak on a cast iron pan
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Steak



  • 1 massive tomahawk steak at least 2 inches thick
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Season the steak with salt and pepper and wrap the bone in foil
  • Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with a target temperature of 250-275 and smoke the steak until it reaches 120f
  • Once the steak reaches 120f, remove the tomahawk from the grill, and in this case, remove the smokin' stone and stoke up the fire
  • Next, place a cast iron pan upside down on the grill, directly over the fire, and close the lid to heat up the pan
  • Wait for the pan to register at least 500f degrees (if you don't have an infrared thermometer, hold your hand a couple inches above the cast iron pan, if you can hold it there for just one Mississippi, then it's hot enough. If you can hold it there for 3 or 4 Mississippi then it's not hot enough)
  • Place the steak on the bottom side of the cast iron pan and sear
  • It should take less than a minute to brown the steak and maybe only 30 seconds
  • Sear both sides along with the fat along the edge of the outside to crisp it up and then plate (platter?), carve and serve after a 10 minute rest time


Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas

Latest posts by Greg Thomas (see all)


Wow! You nailed this one, Greg! Love the steak fog, the skillet flip and the video of the ElectroTorch. Beautiful steak and wonderful post!


Great father’s day present!!


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