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How To Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak

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There are few steaks bigger or badder than the Tomahawk ribeye. This cut is full of flavor and Traeger Pro Team Member Matt Pittman knows how to do it best. He’s teaching his steak secrets in BBQ classes across the country and has shared some of his tips and tricks in this how-to guide. Make dinner epic with the perfect reverse seared Tomahawk. Trying out our tips on your Traeger? Share your Tomahawk photos on social media with #TraegerGrills.

How to Choose a Tomahawk

Not all beef is created equal. Using a higher-grade, quality steak will make all the difference when it comes to taste. While some steaks may be cheaper, you don’t always know if the cattle have been treated with hormones or antibiotics, so it’s important to source your beef from somewhere you trust.


Tomahawk Prep

Like other steaks, Tomahawks don’t require a ton of prep work. You shouldn’t have to do much or any trimming since the butcher should have taken care of that for you. Next, it comes down to seasoning your steak just right. Make sure to give yourself enough time to season the Tomahawk properly and let it get to room temp from the fridge before you start cooking.

"There’s a big difference in taste when it comes to grass or grain-fed cattle. Knowing where your beef comes from will help ensure you get the best flavor possible." -Matt Pittman



1, 2"-Thick, 32 oz. Bone-In Tomahawk Ribeye

Meat Chuch Holy Cow BBQ Rub or Traeger Rub

Kosher Salt

3 Tbs. High-Quality Butter

Cast Iron Griddle or Skillet

"I recommend using a compound butter with herbs such as basil or even roasted parsley to top your steak with." -Matt Pittman


How to Reverse Sear a Tomahawk Steak

1. When ready to cook, set your Traeger to 225. If using a WiFIRE ®-enabled grill, turn on Super Smoke mode.

2. Apply a liberal coat of kosher salt to all sides of the steak. Allow the steak to sit at room temperature for one hour. After an hour thoroughly rinse all salt off the steak and pat completely dry.

3. Liberally season the steak with Holy Cow BBQ Rub on both sides. Then flip the steak and apply rub to the other side.

"I prefer to season one side and let it set a few minutes before seasoning the other." -Matt Pittman

4. Place the steak directly onto the cooking grate. Don’t touch it, flip it, or spritz it. Just leave it. Cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees F. This should take 45 minutes or so depending on the thickness.

5. Pull your steak off the grill and let it rest 10 minutes while lightly tented with aluminum foil.

6. Place a cast iron skillet or griddle on the grill grate. Increase the temperature of your Traeger to 450 degrees F (500 degrees F if using a WiFIRE ®-enabled grill). Allow it to get as hot as possible.


7. Place the steak on the hot cast iron.

Tip from Matt: You can put an oil with a high smoke point (such as canola oil) or butter in the skillet if you wish, but a dry griddle is fine.

8. Sear the steak for 1 minute. Flip it and sear the other side for 1 minute. Doing this should bring your steak to no more than 130 degrees F internal temperature.


9. Pull the steak off the grill and top it with a heavy amount of butter. The steak will continue to cook another 5 – 7 degrees due to carryover cooking while the butter melts over it.

We are targeting 130 – 135 degrees °F internal temperature for a perfect medium-rare tomahawk.

10. Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!


Tomahawk Steak Internal Temperatures

  • For rare, aim for 120-130 °F internally.
  • For medium-rare, aim for 130-135 °F internally.
  • For medium, aim for 135-145 °F internally.
  • For medium-well, aim for 145-155 °F internally.
  • For well-done, aim for 155-165 °F internally.

Now you’ve mastered your new favorite steak. Make this Tomahawk for a special occasion to celebrate in smokin’ style. Looking for more of Matt’s recipes or want to search the entire Traeger recipe arsenal? Check out all of our wood-fired recipes.

Learn more about Matt’s passion for BBQ and story.

Keep up with what’s happening at Meat Church by following Matt on Instagramand if you want to sharpen your BBQ skills with Matt or one of our other Traeger pitmasters, sign up for a Traeger Shop Class near you.

Grilled Tomahawk Steak

by Traeger Kitchen

Prep Time

5 Min

Cook Time

1 Hr





It doesn’t get better than a massive tomahawk steak on the Traeger. Start by smoking the rib-eyes until the internal temp reaches 120˚F, then crank up the heat, sear both sides, and serve up some beefy wood-fired flavor.

2 Tablespoonkosher salt
2 TablespoonGround black pepper
1 Tablespoonpaprika
1 1/2 Teaspoongarlic powder
1 1/2 Teaspoononion powder
1 1/2 Teaspoonbrown sugar
1 Teaspoonground mustard
1/4 Teaspooncayenne pepper
2 Largetomahawk rib-eye steaks
  • 1

    In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, ground mustard, and cayenne.

  • 2

    Season the steaks liberally with the rub, then let sit while the grill preheats.

  • 3

    When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 225°F and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.

  • 4

    Insert the probe into the center of a steak, avoiding the bone. Place the steaks directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 120°F, 45-60 minutes. Remove the steak from the grill.

  • 5

    Increase the grill temperature to 450°F.

  • 6

    Return the steaks to the grill and re-insert the probe. Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches 130°F, 7-10 minutes per side.

  • 7

    Remove the steaks from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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