If you’ve followed along with the Chicago Steak Company blog — better known as Steak University — you’ve probably seen some guides on sous vide cooking popular cuts of steak. This guide focuses on a cut that you don’t usually find in the grocery store, but one that’s just as worthy of being on your dinner plate: the tomahawk ribeye.
This cut is so much more than just looks. It’s full of flavor and has rich marbling, just like you’d expect from a regular ribeye. But its thickness can make cooking tricky, as the inside takes much longer than the outside to reach the right temperature. That’s why tomahawk ribeye is ideal for sous vide, which cooks it in a water bath held at a consistent temperature for even cooking.
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Preparation for Sous Vide Tomahawk Ribeye
Because tomahawk ribeye is so thick, it’s a good idea to allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Salt and pepper both sides generously and sprinkle your favorite seasonings on it or add a dry rub. Use a small towel to wrap around each bone to prevent them from puncturing the bags. Place one steak in each bag and seal it while removing as much air as possible.
Using the sous vide method, tomahawk ribeye takes about three hours to cook to medium-rare. It’s okay to let your steak cook for up to four hours. If cooking past medium-rare, allow the steak to cook between 4-6 hours.
Let the chart below guide you to getting the right temperature for your sous vide tomahawk ribeye. Set the water bath to the cooking temperature for your ideal doneness level. After searing and resting, your steak should reach the final temperature range.
Cooking to Medium Rare
To cook tomahawk ribeye steak to medium-rare using sous vide, start by setting the water bath to 130 degrees. Wrap a small towel around the bone of each steak. Then, add one steak seasoned to your liking per sous vide bag. Submerge each bag in the water. Cook for 3-4 hours. Remove steaks from their bags and let them rest for 5 minutes before searing in a skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side. Finally, rest at room temperature on a foil-tented plate for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Tomahawk Ribeye Sous Vide Tips
Use these helpful tips to get the best sous vide results for your tomahawk ribeye.
Wrap the Bone
Before placing the steaks in their bags, wrap the bone with a small towel. This prevents the bone from puncturing sous vide bags while cooking, which would interfere with the sous vide process.
Use High-Quality Bags Made for Sous Vide Cooking
There are some steaks that can sous vide in regular food storage bags just fine. However, tomahawk ribeye isn’t one of them. Choose quality sous vide bags to help prevent the bone from puncturing or the heavy cut from falling through.
Use a Thermometer to Check the Temperature
Always use a reliable digital thermometer to check the temperature of your steak after removing them from the precision cooker. Use the temperature chart above to see the temperature range your steak should reach for your preferred level of doneness. It can be slightly lower (no more than 5 degrees) than this range after cooking sous vide if you plan to sear the steak in a skillet after, as this will raise the temperature.
Choosing the Right Cut
Part of what you pay for with a tomahawk ribeye is its bone. Therefore, one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the most for your money is by choosing a cut with more meat and less bone. Next, determine the steak’s quality. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look for a label denoting the steak as Premium Angus, USDA Prime, or Wagyu. These are the top-tier designations for steak based on coloring, marbling, and overall quality. Cooking with these tomahawk ribeye cuts will typically yield the best sous vide results.
Sous Vide Tomahawk Ribeye Instructions
Here is a step-by-step guide to learn how to sous vide tomahawk ribeye:
Step 1: Prepare to Sous Vide Tomahawk Ribeye
Remove steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking to help them come to room temperature. Preheat the precision cooker to 130 degrees. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with garlic powder or your choice of seasonings. Then, wrap a small towel around each bone to prevent the sous vide bags from puncturing. Carefully place each steak in separate bags. Seal the bags, removing as much air as possible.
Step 2: Cook Sous Vide
Submerge the bags into the water carefully so that they’re fully covered. Cook for 3-4 hours for medium-rare. For higher doneness levels, leave in for up to 6 hours.
Step 3: Sear and Rest the Steak
Carefully remove the bags from the cooker and the steaks from their bags. Leave steaks on a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes. Pat them dry thoroughly. Meanwhile, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat. Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side until a golden-brown crust forms. Transfer steaks to a plate. Tent the plate loosely with foil and rest the steaks for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Sous Vide Tomahawk Steak Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3-4 hours
- 2 ½-pound tomahawk ribeye steaks
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- For medium-rare tomahawk steak, heat the precision cooker to 130 degrees. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides of steak. Add one steak per sous vide bag.
- Seal the bags. Carefully lower the bags into the water bath until they’re completely submerged and cook for 3-4 hours.
- Remove steaks from the bags and pat them dry thoroughly. Rest for 5 minutes. Preheat a cast-iron skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sear each steak for 2-3 minutes on each side. Rest for 5-10 minutes on a foil-tented plate.
Sous Vide FAQ’s
How long should you sous vide a tomahawk steak?
Tomahawk steak is a thick, large cut, so expect it to take more time than some smaller pieces of steak. For this cut, you’ll need 3-4 hours to cook to medium-rare. Steaks cooked to medium or above may need between 4-6 hours.
What temperature do you cook a tomahawk ribeye with sous vide?
If cooking tomahawk ribeye steak to medium-rare, set the water bath to 130 degrees. For each higher level of doneness, add another ten degrees (Example: Set it to 140 degrees for medium or 160 degrees for well-done).
Should you sous vide tomahawk steak?
It’s perfectly acceptable to sous vide tomahawk steak. The consistent temperature of the water bath helps the steak achieve your desired level of doneness throughout, resulting in a juicy and tender piece of steak.
Can you sous vide tomahawk steak from frozen?
Yes, you can sous vide a frozen tomahawk steak. Rather than cook for the usual 3-4 hours, sous vide tomahawk steak from frozen for about six hours for best results.
Sous Vide Tomahawk Steak
- 2 – 1/2 lb tomahawk ribeye steaks
- garlic powder
- olive oil
- For medium-rare tomahawk steak, heat the precision cooker to 130 degrees. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on both sides of steak. Add one steak per sous vide bag
- Seal the bags. Carefully lower the bags into the water bath until they're completely submerged and cook for 3-4 hours
- Remove steaks from the bags and pat them dry thoroughly. Rest for 5 minutes. Preheat a cast-iron skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sear each steak for 2-3 minutes on each side. Rest for 5-10 minutes on a foil-tented plate