As anyone who listens to the Andy Griffin Show in the mornings on KDXU already knows, I love to smoke meat and feed family and friends whenever I can.

Most of my life I have enjoyed grilling hamburgers, sausage, chicken and hot dogs, among other things. I started smoking maybe a 15 years ago and the results were tasty, but the process was slow. It involved buy wood chips, soaking them in water, using charcoal or propane to heat the wood up, then faithfully monitoring the whole system so you got enough heat, but not too much.

I mean, the results were good, but it was a long and somewhat tedious process.


But one of the great innovations over the past decade has been the arrival of the pellet smoker. Traeger was the first to put the process together in an effort to make meat smoking easier and more accessible to the general public.

Others copied Trager's game plan, bringing the smoker into great popularity, with wood pellets and an auger slowly cranking the pellets through in a controlled burn. A small amount of smoke flavor was lost from the original wood-soaking ways, but the ease and convenience was well worth the trade-off.

Thanks to Troy Poll and the guys at BBQ Pit Stop I was able to get a Yoder Smoker, the Cadillac of smokers. I have smoked pretty much every weekend since (three years, I think).

I've smoked brisket, steak, pork shoulder (for pulled pork), pork roast, ham (Sliced and pulled), chicken (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings), turkey (whole, breasts and tenderloins), pig shots (bacon sausage concoctions), Chex mix, Cheez-Its, cookies (actually skookies -- cooked in a skillet on the smoker), cheesecake, pizza, mac and cheese, cheese, cheese queso, and ... well a lot of things.

But until last night, I'd never smoked a Tomahawk Steak.

What is a Tomahawk steak, you ask?

"A tomahawk steak is basically a ribeye beef steak, but different, because at least five inches of rib bone is left intact. The extra-long bone is French trimmed, a culinary technique also used to give a rack of lamb its unique shape."

Because it is a very expensive cut of meat, I just didn't feel like it was worth the effort when other cheaper meat can turn out so deliciously.

But yesterday I found one on clearance for 22 bucks and decided to take the plunge.

Using nothing more than olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, I smoked the steak for 90 minutes. I wasn't sure on timing as several different websites had smoking time from 40 minutes to three hours (Note, wrap the Tomahawk" bone so it doesn't turn black)

I decided to let internal temperature dictate the length of smoke time, and I pulled mine at 145 degrees.

Then, using a method called reverse searing, I put butter and some garlic in the pan and seared (Searing, or pan searing is a technique used in grilling in which the surface of the meat is cooked at high temperature until a browned crust forms) the Tomahawk and then wrapped it for a few minutes to rest (this lets much of the meat's juices reintroduce themselves back into the meat).

After the rest, I cut into the most tender and delicious steak my wife and I had ever had.

Was it worth the money?

For what I paid, yes.

But I don't think I could plop down 60 or 70 bucks for one. For that much, I could get a brisket and feed 15 of my friends. Or five pork shoulders and feed the whole neighborhood.

Am I glad I did it.



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