Now and then, I must seek out the thickest cut of beef I can find for a manly meal. It is a primal urge. Cooking steaks portioned in gargantuan slabs are not really about the quantity of the meat, but rather it is all about the quality of the outcome. Let me explain.
Over the years of trial and error cooking beef steak, I have found that there are secrets to achieving perfection. First, is selecting the right cut of beef with a significant enough fat content, or marbling, that ensures a juicy and tender outcome. Next, is forming an outer crust that creates texture and taste, but also seals in those flavorful juices. Then, in achieving steak nirvana, it is important to cook a steak to perfect medium rare and to cook by temperature, not by sight. In my book, 125ºF is perfectly rare and time to remove a steak from the heat. The residual carryover will continue to cook the meat internally to juicy pink medium rare. And finally, the thicker the steak, the more precise you will be in achieving a crusty outer shell without overcooking the center.
My wife swears by filet mignon. Many others I know—gourmands among them—insist that the New York strip sirloin is the “king of steaks,” and I have had some spectacular versions of that cut. But, for my money, ribeye tops them all. More specifically, I search for the bone-in cut, usually referred to as the cowboy ribeye. But, every now and again I stumble upon the cut of all cuts—the tomahawk ribeye. With a perfect two-inch-thick cut of marbled beef connected to the long, extended rib bone, this tomahawk ribeye is a dramatic presentation and one that will elicit oohs and aahs of gastronomic delight.
But, how do you cook a slab of beef this size? My friend Jay Owen knows. I call him the “steak master,” and I can assure you from firsthand knowledge, this guy knows his way around a grill. I’ve cooked with him on numerous occasions, and I am consistently impressed with his knowledge and expertise. Jay’s specialty is 28-day, dry-aged porterhouse steak, and the method he uses—reverse searing—results in beef perfection.
Following Jay’s lead, I am using the reverse sear method for cooking my Tomahawk Ribeye to perfect doneness before searing to form a crust. With standard-size steaks, I would simply apply a rub and toss on the hottest part of the grill, and by the time the exterior crust forms, the inside is a pink and rosy medium rare. But, with larger cuts like my tomahawk ribeye cut, as well as prime rib roasts, it is essential to reverse the method by cooking low and slow until the internal temperature reaches 125ºF, and then you can finish it off over high heat.
To achieve maximum flavor and that crusty exterior for my Tomahawk Ribeye, I use a rub that I have developed for grilling beef of all types—steaks, short ribs, and burgers, too. Finely ground Community coffee beans, when blended with garlic powder, kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and dark brown sugar creates a coating that balances out as a dark and rich, salty, yet sweet, peppery punch. The ingredients are a simple infusion of umami-inducing earthiness to achieve that primal and basic beef flavor.
When I eat a steak like my Tomahawk Ribeye, I do not want to be distracted with salads and vegetables, but rather a simple side of my simplistic shaved potatoes bathed in a dab of horseradish, a splash of crema and a sprinkling of grated Swiss. Oh, and of course, a glass of bold Cabernet to compliment the heft of this manly meal.
Let’s cook steak.
- ½ cup dark roast whole bean coffee, finely ground, such as Community Coffee
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup garlic powder
- ½ cup coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon horseradish
- 2 tablespoons grated yellow onion
- ½ cup grated Swiss cheese
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (2-pound) tomahawk-cut bone-in ribeye steaks
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- In a mixing bowl, add coffee, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and mix well to combine evenly. Cover and move to the side.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Peel the potatoes and discard the peels. Using the peeler, thinly slice the potato in short 1-inch lengths.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the potato slices with horseradish, grated onion, cheese, and cream. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.
- In individual ramekins coated with non-stick spray, pack the potato mixture and press down to compact the mixture. Invert the dishes to let any moisture escape.
- Place the ramekins bottom side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes until the potatoes are browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and salt them liberally with kosher salt. Place on a tray lined with paper towel and let them rest for 1 hour until they come to room temperature. Remove the paper towels (they should be wet from residual moisture pulled from the steaks during salting), and wipe off any remaining salt from both sides of the steak. Place the steaks on a baking tray and position on the center rack of the oven.
- Roast uncovered until the internal temperature (use a wire probe thermometer if you have one) reaches 125ºF, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Brush only 1 side of each steak with the oil and liberally coat with the dry rub.
- On a gas grill set to high heat (use the infrared heating element if you have one), place the steaks on the hottest part of the grill. Without turning, watch to see that the rub is set and has formed a crust, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- For serving, move the steaks to a cutting board and cut the meat away from the bone and into thick slices. Serve with the shaved potatoes.
YOUR SEAT AT THE TABLE: If you like this Cajun cooking story and Cajun recipe then accept my personal invitation to subscribe by entering your email at the bottom or top right of this page. It’s quick and painless. You will receive an email alert and be the first to see when new Cajun cooking stories and Cajun recipes are added. Thanks, George.