Learn how to perfectly cook a tomahawk (and ANY thick cut steak) using a smoke and sear method.
It can be intimidating to face an enormous steak and be tasked with the responsibility of cooking it perfectly. But it shouldn’t be intimidating, because it’s extremely simple. It just takes a smoker, a charcoal chimney, a beautiful piece of meat and a couple of easy steps. And I promise – you WILL end up with a perfectly smoked steak.
For thick steaks, the most reliable cooking method is the reverse sear. Put simply – that means applying low heat for the majority of cooking, then finishing with a hot sear at the end. For this recipe, we use the smoker as the low heat, and a super cool (and EASY) chimney hack for the sear stage. Using the chimney will also achieve an incredible crust, which is important for the development of extra flavor layers. If you prefer not to use the chimney hack, you can sear the steak over a HOT grill or skillet.
The reverse sear method can be done a number of different ways (you can see how to do it with an oven here), and is quite flexible. The MAIN thing to consider is that you will need an accurate meat thermometer to nail the doneness of the steak. To achieve a perfect medium rare, you’ll want to pull it off 10 degrees lower than your final desired doneness (in this case, medium rare 135f) to account for residual cooking. Please note – though this recipe calls for a pull temperature of 125f, the USDA recommends steaks be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F.
To get the gorgeous contrast color and seasoning you see in the photo, I used Hardcore Carnivore Black. If you don’t have it (though you can easily grab it online!) you can sub this out for 2-3 teaspoons of kosher salt.
How to smoke and sear a tomahawk steak
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: Serves 2-4 1x
1 x 2-3lb tomahawk steak
2–3 tablespoons Hardcore Carnivore Black seasoning
- Preheat a smoker to 250f.
- Cover the steak thoroughly with Hardcore Carnivore Black seasoning, then place it into the smoker.
- Smoke the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 125f, about 90 minutes. The time is approximate, and will depend on many factors, so it’s important to monitor the temperature.
- Remove the steak from the smoker, and rest under foil for 15 minutes.
- While the steaks rests, fill a charcoal chimney halfway full with charcoal, and place a grate/rack on top. Be cautious that the chimney may not be very stable.
- Once the coals are all ignited and creating a hot vortex, sear the steak for 30-60 seconds over the chimney, ensuring to sear the sides of the tomahawk too.
- Serve immediately either whole, or by slicing off the bone then cutting the remainder into half inch pieces.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 90 mins
Keywords: tomahawk, BBQ, smoked