Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Steak

If you’re a steak aficionado, you may have heard of cowboy and tomahawk steak. Both are large, impressive cuts of meat that will impress your dinner guests. But how do they differ? The cowboy steak is known for its tenderness and juicy flavor, while the tomahawk is known for its robust texture and bold flavor. In this article, we’ll look at these two steaks to determine which is right for your next dinner party. We’ll compare their size, texture, flavor, cooking methods, and cost so that you can make an informed decision when selecting your next meal. So grab your hat and get ready to learn all about cowboy steak vs Tomahawk!

What Is Cowboy Steak?

What Is Cowboy Steak

I came across a cut of steak that I had never heard of before; it’s the cowboy steak. Intrigued by the name and curious about the taste, I decided to research and learn more about this unique cut of meat. To put it simply, it is a bone-in ribeye steak that is cut specifically for one person. The name comes from the fact that it is a hearty, substantial cut of meat reminiscent of the meals enjoyed by cowboys out on the range.

One of the defining features of a cowboy steak is the bone that runs through the center of the meat. This adds flavor and moisture to the meat and makes for an impressive presentation when served. The bone is usually quite large, adding to the overall size and weight of the steak.

In terms of preparation, cowboy steaks are often grilled or seared over high heat to achieve a delicious crust on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Because of its size, it is important to let the steak rest for a few minutes before cutting into it to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

When it comes to seasoning, cowboy steaks are often seasoned simply with salt and pepper to allow the meat’s natural flavors to shine through. However, some people like adding seasonings or marinades to further enhance the flavor.

While cowboy steaks may not be as well-known as other meat cuts, they are worth trying if you are a fan of hearty, flavorful steaks.

What Is Tomahawk Steak?

What Is Tomahawk Steak

Tomahawk steak is a type of ribeye steak that is cut with a long bone still attached. The bone is left long, resembling a tomahawk, hence the name. The tomahawk steak can be large, usually weighing 2 to 3 pounds, making it perfect for sharing. It is also quite a showstopper, with its impressive size and unique appearance.

But what sets the tomahawk steak apart is its flavor. Because it is a ribeye steak, it has a high amount of marbling, which results in a juicy and flavorful steak. The bone also adds to the flavor, imparting a rich, meaty flavor to the meat as it cooks.

When it comes to cooking a tomahawk steak, many people prefer to grill it. The long bone makes it easy to handle on the grill, and the high heat helps sear in the flavor and create a crispy crust outside the steak.

Of course, cooking a tomahawk steak can be intimidating, especially if you are not an experienced grill master. But with some practice and guidance, anyone can learn how to cook a perfect tomahawk steak.

Overall, the tomahawk steak is a unique and delicious cut of meat that is perfect for any meat lover. Whether you are grilling it up for a special occasion or enjoying it with friends and family, the tomahawk steak will surely impress.

What Are The Key Similarities Between Cowboy Steak And Tomahawk?

What Are The Key Similarities Between Cowboy Steak And Tomahawk

There are a few key similarities when comparing cowboy steak and tomahawk.

Both cuts of meat come from the ribeye area of the cow and are typically served medium-rare to medium-well. Both are also ideally grilled or pan-seared to achieve the perfect flavor and texture. While there are differences in size and fat content, both cuts of meat are known for their tenderness and are quality choices for any steak lover. Additionally, cowboy steak and tomahawk feature marbling, a key indicator of tenderness and flavor in the meat.

Despite the differences between cowboy steak and tomahawk, they are both delicious choices that offer a unique taste and texture. Ultimately, the decision between the two will depend on personal preference.

What Are The Key Differences Between Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk?

What Are The Key Differences Between Cowboy Steak Vs Tomahawk?

The main differences between the two cuts of meat are size and fat content. Tomahawk steak has a larger fat content, resulting in a more intense, rich flavor. On the other hand, cowboy steak is leaner and contains less fat, producing a more beefy taste.

The most striking visual difference is the long, frenched bone on tomahawk steak, while cowboy steak has a shorter bone handle. Cowboy steak is typically cut from the ribeye and smaller in size after removing the fat. These steaks are ideal when served medium-rare to medium-well, and both can be grilled or pan-seared to perfection. While cowboy steak is best cooked to the bone, tomahawk steak must be cooked on indirect heat to reach its desired level of doneness without drying out.

Both steaks are great-tasting meat cuts that are tender and delicious when cooked correctly. Ultimately, the choice between cowboy steak vs tomahawk depends on personal preference and dietary restrictions.

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The history of cowboy steak and tomahawk steak dates back to the cowboy era when cattle drives were common in the Midwest. Cowboy steaks were popular among cowboys because they were easy to cook over an open fire. These steaks were usually cut from the ribeye of the cattle and were thinner than the modern-day cowboy steak. On the other hand, tomahawk steaks were named after the Native American weapon and were first introduced in the late 19th century. These steaks were popular in restaurants and were considered a luxury item due to their larger size and higher fat content.


Cowboy steak weighs around 2.5 lbs, whereas Tomahawk weighs more and can be up to 3.5 lbs. The larger Tomahawk steak is perfect for sharing, while the slightly smaller Cowboy steak is ideal for one person. Both steaks are also different in thickness. Cowboy steaks are usually 2-3 inches thick, while Tomahawk steaks can be up to 4 inches thick. The thicker the steak, the longer it takes to cook correctly.

So when choosing between the two, it’s essential to take the time and skill level required to cook the steak correctly into account. In conclusion, the size difference between Cowboy steak and Tomahawk steak is significant and should be factored in when selecting which type of beef to enjoy.


Cowboy steak is a bone-in ribeye cut with a 5-6 inch frenched bone that adds flavor and is usually shorter than five inches. In contrast, Tomahawk steak gets its name from its bone, which is long and frenched, similar to a hatchet handle. Another difference is that Cowboy steak is cut from the ribeye and has less fat content, while Tomahawk steak is cut from the rib primal, contains more marbling and fat, and has a more intense flavor.

Flavor Profile

When it comes to the flavor profile, the main difference between Cowboy steak and Tomahawk steak is the amount of marbling, which is the fat streaks that run through the flesh. Tomahawk steak tends to have more marbling than Cowboy steak, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful taste. However, this also makes Tomahawk steak higher in fat content, making it a less healthy option. On the other hand, Cowboy steak has less marbling, resulting in a leaner and more subtle taste.

Additionally, the presence of bone can also affect the flavor profile. Cowboy steak has a smaller bone handle on one side, providing a slightly smoky flavor and a handle for easier grilling. In contrast, Tomahawk steak has a longer, more eye-catching bone that adds a unique visual appeal to the dish.


Cowboy Steak is known for its dense and beefy texture, which comes from the pure muscle of the cow and is less fat than Tomahawk Steak. This texture makes Cowboy Steak perfect for grilling, as it retains its shape and doesn’t fall apart on the grill. On the other hand, Tomahawk Steak has a more tender, buttery texture due to its higher fat content. The marbling of fat in Tomahawk Steaks makes them more succulent and flavorful, and they are best suited for slow-cooking methods like roasting and baking.

Overall, the texture of these two steaks depends on the fat and muscle content present in each cut, making them distinct in terms of taste and texture.

The Shape

Cowboy steak usually has a shorter bone handle, while tomahawk steak has a long, frenched bone that adds to its visual appeal and flavor. Cowboy steak is a bone-in ribeye cut that has 5 to 6 inches of rib bone. The bone is usually frenched to reduce its length to less than 5 inches. In contrast, tomahawk steak has a bigger handle that is often compared to a hatchet. This difference in shape is due to the location of the cut.

Fat Content

Regarding the fat content of Cowboy and Tomahawk steaks, it is essential to note that both cuts have similar amounts of marbling and fat. However, there are slight differences between the two; Cowboy steaks tend to be trimmed more cleanly, leaving only a small piece of bone and a large hunk of pure marbled muscle. On the other hand, Tomahawk steaks sometimes include slightly more fat left around the edges to ensure a nice flavorful char. Additionally, Tomahawk steaks have almost identical marbling to Cowboy steaks, but the latter tends to have more of a pattern, affecting the taste and juiciness.

Which Steak Has A More Vibrant Red Color: Tomahawk Or Cowboy?

Which Steak Has A More Vibrant Red Color: Tomahawk Or Cowboy

Regarding the color of Tomahawk and Cowboy steaks, both cuts tend to be similarly red since they are derived from the same section of the prime rib roast. The main difference in color may be in the amount of visible white fat left around the edges of the meat. Cowboy steaks tend to be trimmed more cleanly, resulting in a larger hunk of marbled muscle and a smaller piece of bone. On the other hand, Tomahawk steaks may have slightly more exterior fat left in place, which can contribute to their flavor and marbling. However, the differences in color between these two steaks are minimal, and both boast the classic beef flavor and soft texture of the prime rib cut.


Marbling refers to the number of fat streaks running through the flesh, a sign of taste and juiciness. Cowboy Steaks tend to have less marbling compared to Tomahawk Steaks. This means that Cowboy Steaks will be a leaner cut of meat, which is a good choice for those looking for a healthier option. On the other hand, Tomahawk Steaks have more marbling running through the meat, which means they will be a juicier and more flavorful cut. However, the extra marbling in Tomahawk Steaks can also make them a fattier cut.

Cowboy Steak and Tomahawk Steak are excellent cuts, but the marbling content can play a role in determining which is the better choice for certain dishes or tastes.


Regarding price, cowboy and tomahawk steaks tend to be more expensive than boneless ribeye steak. However, tomahawk steaks generally command a slightly higher price than cowboy steaks due to their increased marbling in some cuts that earn this name. This added marbling adds to the depth of flavor, making it a more desirable cut for meat lovers. Furthermore, tomahawk steaks sometimes include a slightly larger cut of meat, allowing for a more generous serving size.

Overall, both steaks are high-quality cuts of beef that are tender and delicious when cooked correctly, but tomahawk steak is generally more expensive due to its unique traits.

Cooking Method

Both cuts of meat are ideally served medium-rare to medium-well, whether on the grill or pan-seared. However, the tomahawk steak’s larger size and higher fat content may require longer cooking times and lower temperatures to ensure the fat properly renders, and the meat doesn’t become tough. Cowboy steak may require less cooking time with its leaner cut, but it still benefits from a generous amount of seasoning to bring out its flavor.

Both cuts of meat are best when cooked with indirect heat and finished with direct heat for a nicely seared exterior. Ultimately, the choice between cowboy steak and tomahawk steak comes down to personal preference and dietary restrictions, with the tomahawk steak’s higher fat content and larger size appealing to some while the leaner cut of the cowboy steak being a better fit for those on a restricted fat diet.

Cooking Time

Because of the larger size and higher fat content, tomahawk steak may take longer than cowboy steak. It is important to keep an eye on your steak’s internal temperature to ensure it is cooked to your desired level of doneness. Cowboy steak should be cooked for around 12-14 minutes per inch of thickness, while tomahawk steak may require 18-20 minutes per inch of thickness. It is vital to factor in the thickness and weight of the steak, as well as the cooking method, to determine the appropriate cooking time.


First and foremost, the most striking visual difference is the tomahawk’s long, frenched bone that adds flavor, while the cowboy steak has a shorter bone. Additionally, tomahawk steaks tend to have more marbling and fat content, resulting in a more intense and rich flavor. In contrast, cowboy steaks usually have the fat cut off, so all that’s left is the meat and bone, resulting in a leaner cut.

The tomahawk steak is also larger, with more meat and a bigger handle compared to the shorter bone handle of the cowboy steak, which resembles a hatchet. In terms of color, tomahawk steaks have more vibrant red hues and white along the edges where the fat is, while cowboy steaks have no fat and less marbling throughout the meat.


Cowboy steak, a leaner meat cut, requires generous seasoning to bring out its flavor. On the other hand, tomahawk steak has more marbling and fat content, which means it already has a more intense flavor. However, since both steaks are ideally served medium-rare to medium-well, it’s important not to overwhelm their natural flavor with too much seasoning. Seasoning cowboy steak usually involves a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and other herbs and spices. Tomahawk steaks can handle a simpler seasoning, such as salt and pepper, or a light marinade.

Which Steak Has A Beefier Taste: Cowboy Or Tomahawk?

Which Steak Has A Beefier Taste: Cowboy Or Tomahawk

Both steaks are cut from the ribeye and have similar size, marbling, and color characteristics. The main difference between them is the length and shape of the bone. The Cowboy steak has a shorter bone, while the Tomahawk steak has a longer bone that runs along the length of the meat. Some steakhouses believe this extra bone may contribute to a more flavorful taste. However, the taste is subjective, and both steaks are known for their rich, beefy flavor.

Are There Additional Seasonings Or Marinades That Can Enhance Either Cowboy Or Tomahawk Steak?

There are a variety of seasonings and marinades that can enhance the flavor of cowboy or Tomahawk steak. Here are some popular options include:

  1. Garlic Butter: One of the simplest and most popular ways to enhance the flavor of Cowboy or Tomahawk Steaks is to add garlic butter. Melt butter in a saucepan and add minced garlic. After cooking the steak, brush the garlic butter over it while it’s resting to allow the flavors to infuse the meat.
  2. Rosemary and Thyme Marinade: A classic herb marinade, rosemary, and thyme add an earthy, savory aspect to the steak. Blend the herbs with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and let the steak marinate in the mixture for at least an hour before grilling.
  3. Coffee Rub: A coffee rub adds a unique depth of flavor to the steak, which complements the meat’s richness beautifully. Mix ground coffee, brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper, and rub the mixture onto the steak before grilling.
  4. Chimichurri Sauce: Hailing from Argentina, chimichurri sauce is a tangy herb-based sauce that pairs perfectly with grilled meats. Made with parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil, drizzle it over the steak before serving for freshness.
  5. Blue Cheese Compound Butter: For those who love blue cheese, compound butter is an excellent way to elevate the flavor of the steak. Mix softened butter and crumbled blue cheese, then place a dollop on the steak before serving. The butter will melt, and the blue cheese will ooze into the steak, giving it a creamy, tangy kick.
  6. Soy and Ginger Marinade: If you’re looking for a different flavor profile, a soy and ginger marinade provides an Asian-inspired taste. Soy sauce, honey, grated ginger, and garlic blend salty, sweet, and tangy perfectly. Allow the steak to marinate for a few hours before grilling for maximum flavor.
  7. Red Wine Reduction Sauce: Make a red wine reduction sauce for a decadent, rich topping. Simmer red wine until it reduces and thickens slightly, then add a touch of butter and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the steak before serving for an indulgent treat.

Plenty of additional seasonings and marinades can enhance the Cowboy or Tomahawk Steaks flavor and take them to the next level. Experiment with different flavors to find your favorite, and enjoy these delicious cuts of meat even more!

How to Cook Cowboy Steak

If you’re a steak lover like me, then you know that cooking the perfect steak is an art form. It’s not just about throwing a piece of meat on the grill and hoping for the best. There are certain techniques and tips that you need to follow to ensure that your steak is cooked to perfection. Today, I will share my favorite recipe for cooking cowboy steak, complete with all the steps and tips to ensure your steak is juicy and delicious.

  • First things first, make sure that your steak is at room temperature before cooking. This will help it cook more evenly and prevent it from being tough. Let it sit out for about 30 minutes before you start.
  • Next, season your steaks with your favorite seasoning blend. I highly recommend trying our Chicago Steak Seasoning for the perfect flavor mixture. Make sure to coat both sides of the steak evenly with the seasoning.
  • Once your steaks are seasoned, it’s time to preheat your grill on high heat. This will help you get that perfect sear on the outside of the steak. You want the grill to be as hot as possible before cooking.
  • Now it’s time to place your steak directly over the hottest part of the grill. Let it sear on each side for about seven to ten minutes. You want to get a nice crust on the outside of the steak, but you don’t want to overcook it. Keep an eye on your steak and make sure it doesn’t burn.
  • Once your steak is seared, it’s time to move it to a lower heat to allow it to finish cooking through. Depending on your steak’s thickness, this process will take 11-15 minutes on each side. Make sure to cook your steak to your desired level of doneness. For a medium-rare cook, don’t cook any more than 130 degrees internally using a meat thermometer.
  • Once your steak is cooked to perfection, remove it from the grill and rest for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the steak, making it even more flavorful and juicy.
  • Now it’s time to enjoy your perfect cowboy steak! Serve it up with your favorite side dishes and enjoy the deliciousness. Cooking the perfect steak takes practice, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and seasonings until you find the perfect recipe.

How to Cook Tomahawk

I’m not a professional chef, but I enjoy cooking and experimenting with different recipes. Here, I’ll be sharing my step-by-step guide on how to cook a Tomahawk steak to perfection.


  • 2 Tomahawk steaks
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Compound Butter
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon parsley finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  • First things first, you’ll need an outdoor grill. You want to heat it to the highest heat possible. While the grill is heating up, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Next, season your steak generously with salt and pepper. I’m talking about 1 teaspoon of each per pound of steak. Don’t be shy with the salt – this is a thick steak we’re talking about here.
  • Once your grill is hot, sear the steak on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Let the flames lick up the sides to get that perfect char. You’ll know the steak is ready to flip when it releases easily from the grill.
  • Once you’ve seared both sides, transfer the steak to a baking sheet and pop it in the oven. You’ll want to bake it until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees. This should take about 30 minutes, but I always use a meat thermometer just to be sure.
  • Once your steak reaches the desired temperature, rest for 5 to 10 minutes. This is important – it allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a perfectly juicy steak every time.
  • While your steak is resting, whip up some compound butter. Combine butter, garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Mix until well blended.
  • When your steak has rested, spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of compound butter onto it. Slice and serve immediately.

How Much Does A Typical Cowboy And Tomahawk Steak Weigh?

How Much Does A Typical Cowboy And Tomahawk Steak Weigh

The ribeye Tomahawk steak is particularly expensive due to its size and weight. It comes with an enormous bone and strip of meat, making it a hefty chunk of meat. The weight of the Tomahawk steak can vary, but generally, it weighs around 1-3 pounds. The average is about 2 pounds, roughly 2 inches wide, 3 inches tall, and 5-6 inches thick. This cut is tender due to lacking fat and is taken from the cow’s hip bone or small plate area. The Tomahawk steak’s weight comes from the bone and lack of fat, making it a heavy and delicious cut of beef.

A typical cowboy steak is similar to a Tomahawk steak in that it comes from the rib primal and is a very thick cut of meat, weighing 1-3 pounds. The cowboy steak is usually served bone-in, making it a flavorful and meaty cut.

Both cuts are popular and expensive, but their size and tenderness make them worth it. Generally, one Tomahawk or cowboy steak can feed more than one person, making it perfect for sharing or leftovers.


What Types Of Knives Are Best For Cutting Both A Cowboy And Tomahawk Steak?

Having the right knife is essential when cutting a Cowboy or Tomahawk steak. These steaks are thick, bone-in cuts that require a sharp, sturdy knife that can easily slice through the meat and bone.

The best type of knife for cutting these steaks is a high-quality, heavy-duty steak knife. The knife should have a sharp, serrated edge that can easily cut through the meat without tearing or shredding. A good steak knife should also have a comfortable handle that provides a good grip, allowing for precise and effortless cutting. In addition to a steak knife, it may also be helpful to have a sharp chef’s knife or boning knife to trim any excess fat or meat before cooking.

Are Both Tomahawk And Cowboy Steaks Ribeye Cuts?

Are Both Tomahawk And Cowboy Steaks Ribeye Cuts?

As a lover of ribeye steaks, I have often wondered if Tomahawk and Cowboy steaks are ribeye cuts. After researching and gathering factual data, I can confirm that both steaks come from the ribeye cut.

The main difference between these two steaks is the length of the bone and the fat content. The Cowboy steak has a curved rib bone that connects to the ribeye, giving it a handle and added flavor. On the other hand, Tomahawk steak has a long, frenched bone that adds flavor and has more exterior fat left in place, resulting in a richer taste.

While Tomahawk tends to have more visible marbling and redness due to the fat content, Cowboy steak tends to be smaller with a cleaner trim and a smaller bone handle. Both steaks are priced higher than the boneless ribeye steak due to their bone-in cut, which supposedly offers a greater depth of flavor.

Are Cowboy Steaks Usually Cut From The Ribeye Or Primal?

Cowboy steaks are typically cut from the rib eye, a specific cut of meat taken from the short loin primal. However, it is important to note that the nomenclature of cowboy steaks can vary from restaurant to restaurant, and some may use the term to describe other cuts of meat as well. In addition, there is also a difference between cowboy steaks and tomahawk steaks. Cowboy steaks are leaner and have a shorter frenched bone, while tomahawk steaks are fattier and have a longer frenched bone.

What Does Marbling Mean In Regards To Steak?

When it comes to steak, marbling refers to the white flecks and streaks of fat within the lean sections of the meat. This fat is called intramuscular fat and can add flavor to the meat, making it more tender and juicy. The amount of marbling in a cut of beef is largely determined by the animal’s diet, with cattle raised on grain having more marbling than those raised on grass.

Certain cuts of meat naturally have more marbling than others, with the beef rib and short loin among the most marbled sections. Marbling is a key factor in determining the quality of a cut of meat, with more marbling generally indicating a better cut. However, marbling can be subjective and arbitrary, as it is up to the individual inspector to determine what constitutes a moderate amount versus slightly abundant marbling.


In conclusion, the debate between cowboy steak vs Tomahawk will likely continue for years. Both of these cuts have unique qualities; ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference. Whether you’re a fan of the classic cowboy steak or the impressive Tomahawk, one thing is certain: both are delicious and a must-try for any meat enthusiast.


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