Tomahawk Ribeye Steaks with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Do you want to impress your guests at your next barbecue? Then grill these tomahawk steaks, fireman’s axes, cowboy steaks or the “Fred Flinstones” of steaks; they all mean the same thing. These steaks are a sight to behold with their long rib bones attached. They are an on-the bone Rib Steak, cut from the Fore-rib with the entire rib bone left which is 18 inches. The long bone is French-trimmed leaving an amazing presentation.

However, this might be too long for your grill – it certainly would not fit on mine. My butcher was selling these steaks with only a 6-inch bone which was fine for me. If you want the full tomahawk experience and your grill has room go for the 18-inch rib bone. Go here if you want to see a couple of pictures of an 18-inch rib bone


DSC_9795I first saw these steaks at the grocery store and now  I am seeing recipes online and in my favorite grilling source, Weber’s Grills.  Weber’s has a number of cookbooks authored by Jamie Purviance and I also get regular emails/recipes from them. These are my “grilling bibles” where I always refer to anything related to grilling. The cookbooks are full of great recipes and the ones I have tried turned out delicious.


One of these emails contained this version “Big Cowboy Steaks with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce”.  It just sounded plain good; I mean whiskey and maple syrup –  I knew I had to make this recipe. I am a big fan of beautiful beef tenderloin filets and even though ribeyes are very flavorful with their marbled meat they are just not a favorite. I don’t like fat on anything – I think it’s from being on Weight Watcher’s so long! These steaks are unique and looked like fun to make so I ventured out of my grilling shell  and gave this steak a go.

Now, to grilling this lovely piece of meat. I have mentioned I no longer use a gas grill but have two Weber electric grills that I keep in my garage and use them regularly for grilling for 2 or grilling for a crowd.  So, I have read a few recipes, assembled directions and ideas and decided to “wing it” on my larger Weber grill.  This is a recipe you will have to experiment with based on your grill type and the thickness of your “tomahawk steaks”. There are recipes online for both charcoal, gas, the oven and in Weber’s latest cookbook.

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The cooking method is called the “reverse sear“. Instead of searing your steak in the beginning you do it at the end. The trick is to avoid having a cold and rare center or overcooking it to get the middle warmed up. It is preferred that you have a two zone heat (indirect and direct heat) which charcoal and gas grills have. The oven or electric grill does not have this feature.

You slowly bring your steak(s) to temperature and finishing with a hot sear. The result is an evenly cooked steak with a crust to die for. This method is supposed to yield a better end result. I can say it smelled heavenly cooking and the taste was even better, especially with a little whiskey sauce on top!

Tomahawk Ribeye Steaks with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Whiskey Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (I used 1-1/2 tbsp.)
  • 1 cup onion, minced (I would use less and maybe  some cooked, crisp bacon)
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup whiskey (use your good stuff – I went middle of the road with Four Roses – see comment below on different whiskeys – like I’m an expert, right?)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Michigan maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, to taste (I used Sriracha)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper (I used 1/4 tsp.)

Cook the onion in oil for about 5 to 10 minutes; add garlic and cook another minute. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in whiskey. Be careful as it could create flames.  I did not have any problem but it is always best to be safe! Return pan to heat and cook a couple of minutes until the whiskey almost evaporates.

Stir in the tomato paste, syrup, vinegar, mustard, paprika, hot sauce and pepper; simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

This sauce is absolutely delicious as I knew it would be. Good booze and maple syrup along with sriracha – how can you go wrong.

Recipe by 


COMMENT: As I was looking for any bottle(s) of whiskey I had in my liquor cabinet I came up with four. They ranged from very cheap (Kessler), reasonable (Four Roses), kind of expensive (Canadian Club) to very expensive – I mean my Haig Dimple should be stored in my safe deposit box. LOL! Actually, my Haig Dimple is in a locked curio cabinet as it is such a pretty piece and does cost a pretty penny!


The Haig Dimple may be the oldest whiskey in the world. This was the dram of choice for James Bond 007 in the original Bond books by Ian Fleming. Dram basically means a unit of measure not often used in the U.S. This whiskey is named after the bottle’s trademark shape. My bottle is special (just found this out as it was Gene’s) because it has been encased in a limited edition pewter covering with a pewter cap. Stamped on the bottom is “Royal Holland Pewter Dralderop“.

Grilling Tomahawk Steaks on my Electric Grill

  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Because I am serving this steak with a whiskey barbecue sauce I only seasoned the steak with salt and pepper. Feel free to add whatever spices/herbs you might like.

  • tomahawk steaks (recipes seemed to use 2 to 2-1/2″ steaks)
  • olive oil
  • coarse kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • instant read thermometer such as Thermapen  

Trim some of the fat from the steak(s) if desired. Pat dry the steaks and brush both sides with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.

I decided to place the steak in an aluminum pan and put it on the grate in a cold grill. Remember I am slowly getting the meat warmed up. I turned it on to medium and every 10 minutes I moved it around.   Keep this in mind that the steaks are ready for searing when they reach 110 degrees for rare; 115 degrees for medium rare; 125 degrees for medium. So, I either turned the heat up or down depending on how quick the meat was getting to temperature – I was aiming for medium rare.

After my Thermapen hit medium rare I turned up the grill to high, or 450 degrees and seared each side, with the lid closed, for 5 minutes or so. Looking at the meat below I think I did a pretty good at reaching my goal! By the way medium rare is 145, medium is 155 and medium well is 165.

I am by no means an expert on the grill, this is just my experience grilling a fun piece of meat for the holiday weekend.

Allow the steak(s) to rest for 10 minutes or so before carving.

Recipe by 

This is week 135 of Fiesta Friday where Angie is once again our host of a favorite blog party. The co-hosts this week are Jhuls @ thenotsocreativecook and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.

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30 thoughts on “Tomahawk Ribeye Steaks with Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

  1. What a beautiful steak Judi. John does a sear at the front and the back. That sauce is so intriguing. I had to laugh that you actually had 4 types of whiskey at your disposal to choose from. The Dimple is a work of art! You just don’t see craftsmanship like that anymore. John and I stood with James Bond (Cardboard cutout) on top of the Schilthorn mountain in Switzerland and actually hiked down it 6 years ago.


    • Thank you Julie. LOL I only drink wine and an occasional “special drink”. I have Gene to thank for my “booze” – it lasts forever you know. I’m happy I did the post as I found out about this special “Dimple” bottle of whiskey. What fun Julie – there really is a cardboard cutout of James Bond. I loved the stories and especially Sean Connery in the movies (sp?).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know if they sell it where you live, but a great book on cooking meat is ‘Low and Slow’ by Neil Rankin. I love the sound of your sauce.


  3. I will always choose bone-in meat rather than the boneless ones. The whiskey sauce sounds really fantastic and electric grilling also sounds good for somebody like me who hates outside grilling. Thanks for taking this with you at this week’s FF, Aunt Juju. I hope you are having fun and have a fab week ahead. 🙂 x


  4. That is one good lookin’ steak Judi! OMG mouth watering. I am forwarding this recipe to my grill man and it will be the first thing we cook when we get back to our grill at home when we get to move back! I had not seen this kind of cut but will look for it. Whiskey sauce is just the perfect way to serve it.


    • Thanks Johanne – I was very pleased with my grilling abilities. I cooked it slow and then “bam” with a good sear. When I first saw it in the butcher’s case I had to buy one – the long bone got my attention. It was fun and the whiskey sauce was so good 🙂


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