What is the difference between a Tomahawk and a Cowboy Steak?

What is the difference between a Tomahawk and a Cowboy Steak?

The meat section at any grocery store can quickly become a meat maze. After the primal cuts, we move into sub-primal cuts and retail cuts, we know – it gets tricky to tell it all a part. One of our most often asked question revolves around the tomahawk steaks. “What is the different between a tomahawk and a cowboy steak? We’ll teach you a thing or two below!

What is a tomahawk steak:

In simple terms, the tomahawk steak is essentially a ribeye steak. However, butchers intentionally cut with at least five inches of rib bone left to give it the tomahawk name. The extra-long, french trimmed bone utilizes is a culinary technique. “Frenching” means trimming the bone of meat and fat to the point where it looks like a handle.

There are a few key differences between a tomahawk and a traditional ribeye though, and we’re not just talking about the bone. The tomahawk is cut according to the thickness of the rib bone, and is generally about 2 inches thick, while typically weighing between 30 and 45 ounces, compared to ribeyes that average 12 to 15 ounces.

What is a cowboy steak?

The main difference between the two is that a cowboy steak has a short frenched bone while the tomahawk has a long frenched bone. It’s simply what the cowboys eat because when compared to a classic ribeye, cowboy steaks are larger, containing more meat beyond the eye. 

While a ribeye, cowboy steak, and tomahawk steak all come from the same cut of beef, the butchering process varies. When picking out any of the three cuts, look for generous marbling throughout and your tastebuds will thank you for the rich and juicy flavors.

How do I tell them apart?

If the length of the bone is less than 5 inches, it’s a cowboy steak. If the bone exceeds 5 inches, it’s a tomahawk. 
cowboy steak
Cowboy Steak
tomahawk steak
Tomahawk Steak

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