If you’re a steak lover, you’ve probably heard of the tomahawk steak before. With its long, striking bone still attached, it’s one of the most visually impressive cuts of steak you can find. But all that bone and the premium quality meat means the tomahawk usually comes with a high price tag.
In this article, I’ll discuss exactly how much you can expect to pay for this specialty steak depending on where you buy it. I’ll also overview the factors that affect the price of tomahawk steaks, and provide some tips for getting the best deal on these show-stopping cuts of beef.
- 1 Average Retail Price for Tomahawk Steaks
- 2 What Factors Affect the Cost of Tomahawk Steaks?
- 3 How to Get the Best Deal on Tomahawk Steaks
- 4 Buying and Cooking Tips for the Perfect Tomahawk Steak
- 5 Is the Tomahawk Steak Worth the Price Tag?
Average Retail Price for Tomahawk Steaks
Let’s start with the main question: how much does a typical tomahawk steak cost?
There’s quite a range when it comes to tomahawk steak prices, but according to various online meat retailers, you can expect to pay $29 to $63 per pound for this cut.
To put that into perspective with a real steak price, a tomahawk weighing 2.5 to 3 pounds would cost around $88 at the grocery store. Compare that to a traditional boneless ribeye steak, which sells for about $22 per pound – making the tomahawk over twice as expensive per pound.
At high-end steakhouses, a 40 oz tomahawk (about 2.5 pounds) can cost $140 or more. At the grocery store level, you may pay less per pound, but the heavy bone means you’re getting less edible meat for the price.
So there’s no doubt about it – the tomahawk is one pricey piece of meat. But there are good reasons for the steep tomahawk steak price, which we’ll get into next.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Tomahawk Steaks?
Several important factors impact the retail price you’ll pay for a tomahawk steak:
The Butcher or Retailer
Where you buy a tomahawk steak is a major determinant of how much you’ll pay. High-end steak restaurants charge a premium, while local butchers may offer better deals than large grocery chains. Online specialty meat retailers have their own pricing considerations as well.
Quality Grade of Beef
Only high-quality beef cuts get turned into tomahawks. Most are Prime or Choice grade, the top two USDA grades. Prime tomahawks with ample marbling are the most expensive. The breed and diet of the cattle also affects quality. Wagyu beef , for example, costs way more and produces intensely marbled steaks.
Cut and Marbling
Tomahawks are cut from the rib primal, the section of ribs closest to the loin. More marbling in the cut results in a higher price, as does a thicker, meatier steak. Expect to pay more per pound for a 2-3 inch thick tomahawk than a thinner 1 inch cut.
Market Prices for Beef
When beef prices rise due to supply and demand, it gets passed onto consumers through higher steak prices. So seasonal factors, cattle shortages, climate conditions, and other market forces can all impact the cost of tomahawk steaks.
How to Get the Best Deal on Tomahawk Steaks
If all this talk of premium steak prices has you wondering how to get a good deal on a tomahawk, here are some tips:
- Check prices at multiple local butchers, especially small specialty shops that hand cut steaks. Avoid the convenience markups at grocery store meat counters.
- Look for sales and bulk “family pack” options at large retailers like Costco for better per pound pricing. Just split the pack with friends.
- Consider buying a whole rib primal and having your butcher slice tomahawk steaks to order. Buying whole cuts in bulk saves money.
- Don’t overpay for unnecessary hype. “Snake River Farms” branded steaks are very expensive but not necessarily higher quality.
- For the budget conscious, choose Choice grade over Prime, or select cheaper cuts like sirloin that still deliver good flavor.
Buying and Cooking Tips for the Perfect Tomahawk Steak
Once you’ve got your tomahawk steak, proper storage, preparation, and cooking are key to enjoying it at its best. Here are my tips:
- Have the butcher cut and wrap the steak right away to maintain freshness. Use within 2 weeks for maximum flavor and tenderness.
- Refrigerate below 40°F until 30-60 mins before cooking. Bringing meat to room temp prevents shocking the steak when it hits the hot pan or grill.
- Pat the steak very dry before seasoning. Wet meat won’t brown as nicely and may steam instead of searing.
- Season generously with coarse salt before cooking. For extra flavor, use a salty spice blend or fresh cracked pepper too.
- Sear over high heat to develop a flavorful crust. Tomahawks shine when grilled over a very hot charcoal or wood fire.
- Cook to no more than medium rare doneness, around 125°F internal temp. The ribeye cut stays most tender at lower doneness levels.
- Account for the bone when portioning. It should make up about 1/3 of the total weight, leaving 2/3 lbs for the edible steak portion.
Is the Tomahawk Steak Worth the Price Tag?
At two to three times the cost of a regular ribeye per pound, the tomahawk steak is clearly a luxury cut of beef. But in my opinion, it’s worth splurging on for special occasions like grilling for a big group or celebrating a birthday or anniversary.
There’s just something about presenting that giant bone-in ribeye at the dinner table that feels extravagant and indulgent. The wow factor of the tomahawk combined with its rich, beefy flavor makes it a truly memorable steak experience.
Just be ready to spend $60-100 or more on a single steak if you want to enjoy this premium cut. Or gather a group to split the cost and the meat. If you love great steak and can fit it into your budget, I highly recommend trying the tomahawk at least once. You won’t be disappointed by this king of steaks!