This is not a complicated recipe. It’s really only got two ingredients. Well, a third is optional if you don’t have the same black garlic seasoning I do. Although, even with all of three ingredients, it’s extremely simple. And sure, that tomahawk probably required a credit check and a kidney as a down payment. Nevertheless, don’t sweat it if you’ve never cooked one before. A tomahawk is a ribeye steak which means it has a lots of fat. That fat gives us a rather large window to make sure the steak is cooked correctly. In other words, it’s hard to mess up this Reverse Seared Black Garlic Tomahawk.
Reverse Seared Black Garlic Tomahawk Ingredients
- 1 Tomahawk ribeye steak
- Black garlic seasoning
- Salt to taste, optional
I’m using Prime IV Black Garlic Steak seasoning, the espresso variety. I’m a big fan of using coffee in recipes and rubs. I used it in a rub I made on this steak, and on ribs and wings and even salmon and bison. it adds a wonderful earthy flavor to rubs and recipes. I highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t a huge coffee person. It isn’t overpowering. If it is a no-go for you, Prime IV makes other varieties that don’t have any coffee in them. I’m a huge fan of the Prime IV. I use it on all sorts of things from potatoes (and potato cakes), eggs, pork, and even grilled cheese!
Go ahead and get the grill lit and while it is warming up, let’s season the tomahawk:
Don’t forget the other side:
Make sure to run the side edge of the steak through the seasoning that is sitting on the cutting board. Before we hit the grill, let’s explain what the reverse sear process is:
How to Reverse Sear a Steak
In the simplest terms we will season the steak then smoke it until it is 10-20 degrees shy of our desired temperature. Then we will stoke up the fire followed by a sear of both sides of the steak. That sear should bring us up our last 10-20 degrees. After the sear, pull the steak from the grill and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving (and of course savoring!). We reverse sear all the time on GrillinFools.com. And not just steaks, How about chicken lollipops or fish? The reverse sear works on just about any protein but is particularly amazing when done to steaks.
Back to the specifics from our run down in the paragraph above.
We cooked this steak on our Hasty Bake Legacy 131 charcoal grill. We set up for two zone or indirect grilling with hot coals and smoked wood on one side and the tomahawk ribeye going on the other. In this case the charcoal is on the far side of the grill underneath the Grill Grates. The steak starts on in front there (the left side if facing the grill). The goal is to not have any direct heat hitting the steak at this point in the process (we’ll get to the direct heat later).
Target temp inside the grill is 225F-275F and we used oak wood for the smoke. If you don’t have access to oak and are wondering what woods you have access to pair with which proteins, we can help with this list of smoke woods and what they pair with.
Close the lid till the internal temp on the steak is 100F if you want to make it a rare steak in the end. If you want medium rare, take it to 110F-115F before searing. If you want medium, then go to 120F-125F. Medium well, take it to 130F-135F. And if you want to go to well done (trying not make a shoe leather joke here) then take it to 140F-145F before searing.
My tomahawk is sitting at 100F according to my instant read thermometer on the left:
The Thermapen was the one tool that helped to improve my cooking skills more than any other. Grills differ, but the target temps always stay the same. Don’t guess at the proper temp.
Back to the cook. With my Hasty Bake, I can simply open the lid and turn the crank that raises the charcoal bed to right below the Grill Grates. Which leads us to this pro tip:
Pro Tip ~ When reverse searing anything, remove the protein from the heat source while stoking up a grill to sear.
So in this case, by opening the lid, the heat is no longer trapped around the steak and it will not cook much if at all. Some folks have a smoker and maybe a gas grill that is usually better at searing than a dedicated smoker. In that case, if the gas grill is not warmed up ahead of time, then take the protein off the smoker while the grill warms up. The last thing we want is for the steak to go up another 10 degrees before the sear and thus overshoot our desired doneness by a full level.
Oh, almost forgot a pic of just before we sear. You can see the fat has yellowed and the oak smoked steak has browned a bit on the way to 100F:
Once the grill grates are north of 400F (and even better at higher than 500F), slap the steak down on the direct, hight heat. We are going for two things here. We want those tasty grill marks and we want the steak to come up another 10F-15F:
The “grill marks” in the pic above are really just indentations from the grill grates from a close to 2 lb steak pressing against the wire grates.
Depending on the heat of the grill grates, it should only take 2-3 minutes of searing to get actual grill marks:
How to Flip a Steak Properly for Perfect Grill Marks:
For years I slapped the steak down on the grill and seared for 2-3 minutes then rotate 90ish degrees for those pretty diamonds of grill marks. The flip didn’t happen until after two sear sessions on one side. That was then. NOW, I get the first set of grill marks, THEN FLIP over and get the first set of grill marks on the other side. THEN flip back over to get the second set of grill marks on the first side THEN flip back over again to get the second set on the second side. So the correct order is sear, flip, sear, flip/rotate, sear, flip/rotate, sear. The old method was sear, rotate, sear, flip, sear, rotate, sear. Why is that? Because if we sear for 4-6 minutes on one side, we can get that grey band around the outside of the interior of the steak. By searing and flipping we give the first side of the steak some relief from the heat before searing again.
So now let’s finish up the searing on both sides of the oak smoked steak:
Halfway through searing and we are about halfway through the temperature rise we are looking for (the temp reading is upside down on the Thermopen. The newer version (Thermapen One) now has a rotating display. We are showing 112F:
At 125F we have some nice char:
Keep in mind, this steak was seasoned with black garlic. Thus, the entire steak is going to have a darker color than most other steaks. This means the grill marks don’t stand out quite as much, but you get the idea.
How to slice a Tomahawk Steak:
Slice along the bone to separate the rib from the steak. I always make sure to leave a good deal of steak on that bone because I enjoy that more than the rest of the steak. Lop off the knob of fat at the bottom. That chunk might require a second look later as there can be some nice nuggets of meat in there. Then slice into strips or simply drop that monster onto a plate and kick the crap out of your arteries!
Here that knob of fat is circled in red:
Then slice the steak like so:
Don’t forget to leave some meat on that bone:
Because this is the best part:
I think that picture above, says it all!
Reverse Seared Black Garlic Tomahawk Run Down
This recipe allows the beef of that expensive steak to shine. The black garlic, smoke and sear simply complement the steak rather than overpower it. As it should be.
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Reverse Seared Black Garlic Tomahawk
- 1 Tomahawk Steak
- Black Garlic Seasoning
- Salt to taste Optional
- Season the steak with black garlic on both sides and the outer edge
- Season with salt if necessary
- Get the grill/smoker set to between 225F-275F
- Set the tomahawk on the smoker, away from the direct heat
- Smoke the steak until it reaches 100F if you want it to be rare after the sear.
- Remove the ribeye from the grill while bringing up the grill to north of 400F
- Sear the steak on one side for 2-3 minutes, flip over and sear on the other side for 2-3 minutes then flip back over and rotate 90 degrees to get those diamond shaped grill marks and then flip back over and rotate after another 2-3 minutes
- Once we have diamond grill marks on both sides, remove from the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving
- Be sure to leave a good amount of meat on the bone as that's my favorite part of the steak