Taste Test Throwdown: Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk – Discover the Winner!

Are you a fan of indulging in a succulent, juicy steak? If so, you’ve likely encountered the debate between Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk. These two cuts of beef are often the top contenders for meat lovers seeking a truly impressive dining experience.

Both renowned for their large size and impressive presentation, the Cowboy Steak and Tomahawk are often featured as showstoppers on steakhouse menus. In this culinary showdown, we’ll explore these extraordinary cuts’ key characteristics, flavors, and cooking techniques, aiming to unravel the mystery behind Cowboy and Tomahawk Steak.

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What Are The Key Differences Between Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk?

  • History: Cowboy and tomahawk steaks have a historical origin related to Midwest cattle drives. Cowboys preferred the thinner cowboy steaks for their ease of cooking over a fire. These steaks were cut from the ribeye of the cattle. Tomahawk steaks, named after the Native American weapon, were introduced in the late 19th century. They were larger with more fat, making them a luxurious dish in restaurants.
  • Size: 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.
  • Bone-in: 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.
  • Flavor profile: The main difference between Cowboy steak and Tomahawk steak is the amount of fat streaks in the meat, called marbling. Tomahawk steak has more marbling, which makes it juicier and more flavorful, but also higher in fat. Cowboy steak has less marbling, so it has a leaner and more subtle taste. The presence of bone also affects the flavor. Cowboy steak has a smaller bone handle on one side, which adds a smoky flavor and makes it easier to grill.
  • Texture: 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.
  • 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.
  • Color: 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.
  • Marbling: Cowboy Steaks are leaner with less marbling, making them a healthier choice. On the other hand, Tomahawk Steaks have more marbling for a juicier and more flavorful option. However, this additional marbling can also make them fattier.
  • Price: Tomahawk and cowboy steaks cost more than boneless ribeye. Tomahawk steaks are pricier due to their extra marbling and richer flavor. They also come in larger sizes, making them a popular choice for meat lovers.
  • 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.
  • Seasoning: Cowboy steak, being leaner, benefits from ample seasoning to enhance its flavor. Conversely, tomahawk steak, with its higher marbling and fat content, already possesses a rich taste. Cowboy steak typically requires a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and other herbs and spices for seasoning. Tomahawk steak, on the other hand, can be seasoned simply with salt and pepper or a light marinade.

Comparison of Cowboy Steak and Tomahawk Steak

Aspect Cowboy Steak Tomahawk Steak
History Originated from the time of cowboys in the Midwest Introduced in the late 19th century, named after a weapon
Size Weighs around 2.5 lbs and 2-3 inches thick Weighs up to 3.5 lbs and up to 4 inches thick
Bone-in Ribeye cut with a 5-6 inch frenched bone Ribeye cut with a long and frenched bone
Flavor Profile Leaner and more subtle taste Juicier and more flavorful with higher marbling
Texture Dense and beefy texture, retains shape on the grill Less fat content, perfect for grilling
Shape Short bone handle Long, frenched bone handle
Color Similarly red Similar, with varying amount of visible white fat
Marbling Less marbling, leaner cut of meat More marbling, juicier and more flavorful cut
Price Generally expensive, slightly cheaper Generally expensive, slightly more expensive due to marbling
Cooking Time 12-14 minutes per inch of thickness 18-20 minutes per inch of thickness
Seasoning Requires generous seasoning Can handle simpler seasoning or a light marinade

What Are The Key Differences Between Cowboy Steak Vs Tomahawk?

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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.

What Is Cowboy Steak?

What Is Cowboy Steak

The Cowboy Steak, also known as a tomahawk or Delmonico, is a delicious and substantial cut of beef. It is a more impressive version of the classic ribeye steak, featuring a bone-in and larger size.

Unlike a regular ribeye, the cowboy-cut steak is twice as thick and has a portion of bone protruding from one end. The amount of bone can vary, with some versions even including most of the rib still attached to the meat, known as a tomahawk cut.

These steaks, usually ranging from 18 to 32 ounces, provide a dependably tasty option for steak lovers. So, the next time you’re at the butcher counter, consider trying a cowboy-cut steak for a truly delectable.

What Is Tomahawk Steak?

What Is Tomahawk Steak

A tomahawk steak is a unique and flavorful beef cut that will impress any meat lover. It is essentially a ribeye steak with an extra-long rib bone, adding flavor and giving it its distinctive tomahawk shape.

The bone is French trimmed, a technique typically used for rack of lamb, to enhance its presentation. The tomahawk steak is known for its succulence and tenderness, making it a sought-after choice for those looking to indulge in a restaurant-quality meal at home.

Whether you choose to barbecue it or oven grill it, the tomahawk steak is sure to be a true delight for your taste buds.

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!

FAQ: Cowboy Steak vs. Tomahawk

What Is The Difference Between A Cowboy Steak And A Tomahawk Steak?

The main difference between a cowboy steak and a tomahawk steak is the length of the bone. A cowboy steak is a tomahawk steak where the bone has been frenched or shortened. Apart from the bone length, both steaks are considered to be bone-in ribeyes and offer the same incredible taste.

What Are The Advantages Of Choosing A Cowboy Steak For A Special Occasion?

One of the advantages of choosing a cowboy steak is that it is meant to be shared due to its impressive size. Additionally, cowboy steaks tend to be trimmed more cleanly, ensuring a visually appealing presentation. The superior marbling in cowboy steaks sets them apart, offering exceptional tenderness and a flavorful dining experience.


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