Prime Rib vs Tomahawk; What’s The Difference?

We’ll be discussing the hot topic of prime rib vs. tomahawk because most people regularly ask me “is prime rib and tomahawk steak the same?”

Actually the answer is yes, prime rib and tomahawk steak are the same same cut of meat.

Prime rib beef is a classic beef cut made from a prime rib cut with a bone in the middle. The word “prime” is a big name and refers to the fact that the beef is graded prime by the USDA.

The name tomahawk steak may be new to you, but it also has another name, which is also known as bone-in ribeye or tomahawk chop. It has a finely marbled, rich, and buttery large, thick ribeye with a long bone attached to it.

What is a Tomahawk Steak?

The primary characteristics USDA inspectors look for when specifying the age of the cow, along with the fat content of food classes of meat. These criteria mean that prime rib beef cuts will be tender, moist, and flavorful.

Marbling is a source of flavor and moisture. Thus more marbling means a higher grade of meat will be obtained.

The other main factor is the age of the animal; Smaller animals provide more tender meat. To be considered dominant, beef cattle must be 10 to 30 months of age, although most are under 24 months of age which affects the taste.

Not all prime ribs are ready for bone-in, but the bone adds moisture and flavor. Plus, rib bones make it easier to roast prime ribs because they work well as a natural roasting rack.

Still, when you cook to perfection, a boneless prime rib delivers as sublime as a bone.

What is a Prime Rib Steak?

Tomahawk steak is a bone-in ribeye steak that is cut from a beef rib and trimmed to give it a tomahawk shape. This is a cut that includes the eye of the ribeye, the complexus, and the ribeye cap.

The long bone that is left whole and trimmed gives the tomahawk ax-like ‘handle’. Without the handle, this steak is also known as a cowboy steak.

Tomahawk steaks typically weigh about 1.5 pounds and are up to about 3 inches thick, but can be as large as 2 pounds if the animal is good.

It is a delicious cut of meat that is best cooked over high heat to bring out its natural flavor. You need to cook it properly to get a rich taste and tender texture.

Tomahawk steak is great not only for grilling, but also for roasting, broiling, searing, and more. You should cook it to an internal temperature of 140°F.

Prime Rib vs Tomahawk; What’s The Difference?

Prime rib is just the ribeye that holds it together. You can see the similarities – because on each cut you get the Spinalis Dorsi. Prime rib is generally one of the most demanding cuts of beef.

However, tomahawk steak is really just a ribeye with a long beef bone. So basically, to give this steak a “handle” the butcher cut off the meat and fat around the bone.

Tomahawk steak presentation is spectacular, with handles, but in terms of what you’re actually eating, it’s basically a glorified ribeye steak.

Now, time to wrap up. Well, as you understand, you can buy this other boneless or bone-in. This prime rib is really accurate. This means we cut the ribeye steak off the bone.

But why? Because after cooking it becomes easy to serve. Plus, bones add a ton of flavor to meat!

How to Grill Prime Rib Steak

There’s nothing better than a prime rib roast bite, especially if you can find USDA prime. The problem is that it carries financial risk if it is made vulnerable. You can solve this problem by making a great recipe from my method.

Grill prime rib steak from start to finish, this takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Wouldn’t it be exciting to know about the most expensive meat cuts out there?


  • 3 USDA Prime rib-eye steaks (each about 2 1/2 pounds and 1 3/4 to 2-inches thick)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 lemons

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat your grill.
  2. Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator and let the steak come to room temperature.
  3. Generously season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Gently press salt and pepper into the steak.
  4. Place a small skillet on medium heat and add 4-5 tbsp oil to it. After adding the garlic cloves, let the oil come to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add 2 sprigs of chopped rosemary leaves to garlic and cook cloves until golden brown, stirring occasionally with tongs.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.
  6. Now mash the garlic and make a paste. Toss the mashed garlic with the reserved oil and rosemary. Make sure the paste is not less than 1/2 cup.
  7. Place prime rib cut on a hot grill and cook until nicely browned on both sides, about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side.
  8. Brush and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the lemon on the grill with the steak and serve with the steak.
  9. Smear 2 tablespoons of the paste on the pre-roasted side of each steak. Place steak, paste side up, on the grill rack.
  10. Finish cooking on the cold side of the grill, with a lid on, or in the oven until cooked to your liking, 10 to 12 minutes for rare (remove when the thermometer shows 120°F).
  11. Remove steak from the grill and allow steak to rest on a rack for about 15 minutes. Cover and keep warm while you rest.
  12. Transfer the steak to a cutting board. Cut between the bone and flesh of each steak. Cut each steak crosswise into 1″ slices.

How to Grill Tomahawk Steak

One of the more bland beef cuts is the tomahawk steak which will taste great when used properly to grill over charcoal.


  • 2 Piece tomahawk ribeye steak with 2-inch thick
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Take out your Weber charcoal grill and starts to heat up
  2. Season the steak: At least an hour before cooking, sprinkle the meat evenly with salt and pepper. If this can be done for the whole night then it will give a great taste.
  3. Set grill to indirect high heat: Set grill to indirect high heat; Grill half over direct high heat, and the other half without heat. The internal temperature of the grill should be 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Cook the steak with the lid closed; After ten minutes, turn the steaks over and swap them so that the steak that was off the heat is now closer.
  5. Steaks are ready to fry when they reach 115°F in about 20 minutes in the thickest part of indirect cooking.
  6. Quickly fry the steak over direct heat. With the bones hanging over the indirect heat part of the grill, move the meaty side of the steak directly over the coals.
  7. Every minute or two, flip the steaks until brown and crusty, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large serving platter.
  8. CARVE AND SERVING TIME: Let the steaks rest for ten minutes, then show them to your guests.
  9. Place the steak on a cutting board and run a sharp knife along the curve of the bone to scrape the meat off the bone.

Where do you find These Steaks?

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Here is a reputable company that serves fresh and high-quality beef cuts and whatever you want. Visit Chicago Steak Company, they invite you to taste the tradition from 1865.

Final Verdict

I hope by now you are fully aware that prime rib and tomahawk have debunked the confusion.

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