Cowboy Steak vs Tomahawk: What’s the Difference?

For those who like their meat well-done, the word “tomahawk” probably brings to mind a mean-spirited, hatchet-wielding person from the old Western movies. After all, the word is synonymous with violence and bloodshed.

However, for those who are fond of cowboy food, the word “tomahawk” means a lot more. In its original context, the word “tomahawk” designated a specific type of steak.

Nowadays, the word has come to mean a particular cut of steak. However, what is the difference between the “cowboy steak” and the “tomahawk steak”? And more importantly, what’s the difference between these steaks and which one should you go for? Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between these cuts.

The Primary difference between the Cowboy steak and the Tomahawk steak is the size of the bone. The former has a shorter bone, while the latter has a longer bone. Thats it.

What is a Cowboy Steak?

A cowboy steak is a flank steak that is cut from the rib section of the cow. It is sometimes sold as a “choice cut” or a “prime cut”, which means that it is more expensive than other steak cuts.

The term “cowboy steak” was first used in the United States around the late 1800s. In the western film industry, it was used to refer to steak that was well-aged (e.g., 12 months old).

In addition, it came from a cow that was bred in the US and lived on US farmland. As such, it was a cut that was associated with American values – quality, freshness, and wholesomeness.

What is a Tomahawk Steak?

A tomahawk steak is essentially a bone in ribeye.

Which Steak is Right for You?

For many people, the choice between the cowboy steak and the tomahawk steak comes down to personal preference. Personally, I like the “cook-ability” of the cowboy steak, which makes it easier to prepare for a crowd. However, others may prefer the juiciness and tenderness of the tomahawk steak.

There are a few other factors worth considering when making this choice. First, the cut of steak itself isn’t the only thing that matters. The way that you cook the steak is just as important. Therefore, when shopping for steaks, be sure to take into account the type of grill that you plan to use. A gas grill is generally better suited for steak than charcoal.

Which Steak is Better for Grilling?

Although the cowboy steak and the tomahawk steak are both excellent for grilling, there are a few differences worth highlighting.

First, the flavor of the meat itself is what makes a steak good for grilling. Therefore, the type of steak you purchase is largely irrelevant – as long as you purchase a good steak.

Second, when it comes to marinating or seasoning the steak, there is some difference of opinion. While many people like to use a combination of salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce on their steaks, others believe that this is unnecessary.


Ultimately, the choice between the “cowboy steak” and the “tomahawk steak” comes down to personal taste. As mentioned the only differnce is the size of the bone.