Tomahawk Steak with Black Mamba Rub and Mango & Habanero Dipping Sauce


Get in touch with your inner cavegirl and dazzle your guests with this bomb-proof preparation for the dramatic tomahawk steak. Sure, it’s a mite intimidating at first to work with a roaring-hot fire and a chunk of pricey beef, but, hey, you’re a cowgirl.  You got this, gal.

Mango/Habanero Dipping Sauce:

Preparing this a day or two ahead allows the flavors to meld and frees you up to tend the grill. You’ll also want to drizzle this on fish tacos and serve it with chicken or pork.

Yield: about a quart

2 tablespoons safflower oil

2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 1/2 cups diced peeled fresh mango (about 2 medium mangos)

1 cup mango juice

1 cup tomato sauce

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons cane syrup

2 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice (about 4 limes)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

2 teaspoons habanero chiles, seeded, finely chopped (about 2 chiles)

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the sauce: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in mangoes, mango juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, honey, vinegar, molasses, lime juice, Worcestershire, mustard, habanero, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until mangos have completely softened and sauce has slightly thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pulse the mixture with an immersion blender or in a standard blender to desired consistency. Transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator for up to a month. Serve warm.

Black Mamba Steak Rub:

The brown sugar helps caramelize the exterior and the addition of charcoal, along with the black salt and black pepper, adds a sexy contrast to the redness of the steak.

1 tablespoon black lava Hawaiian sea salt

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, freshly ground

1-1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder (split dried ancho chiles, removes seeds and stems, and toast in dry skillet until fragrant. Let cool, and grind in spice mill or coffee grinder)

1 teaspoon food grade organic coconut husk charcoal powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Prepare the rub: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to blend. Store unused portions in a tightly sealed glass jar in a cool place.

Tomahawk Steaks:

Serves four

This cut definitely requires a meat thermometer, as going from “perfect” to “overcooked” is a matter of merely a few degrees. I like the Kizen model, which is less than 20 bucks and comes up to temperature in a matter of seconds. This technique is called a “reverse sear,” meaning that you partially cook the meat over indirect heat, followed by a fast, hot sear. A finished interior temperature of 130° F. will deliver a perfect medium-rare.

2 Tomahawk-cut ribeye steaks, with the long rib bone still attached (I like the ones from, which are about 32 ounces apiece—plenty to serve four people.)

2 tablespoons salted butter (I like Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter)

Fresh herbs for garnish (rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, or a combination)

Prepare the meat: If the steaks are frozen, thaw them slowly in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. About an hour before placing the meat on the grill, remove from refrigerator and season both sides with Black Mamba Steak Rub. Let rest and come to room temperature on a wire rack over a drip pan.

Grill the steak: If you have a charcoal grill, build your fire with a chimney starter on one side and bring the coals to the white-ash stage. If you’re using a gas grill, only light one side, setting it on medium-high. Although using lump charcoal in a charcoal grill will give you better flavor than with a gas grill, the technique is the same. Just make sure that the grill surface is large enough that you can fit your steaks comfortably on just half of it, as the steaks will cook over indirect heat before the final sear.

To cook the steaks over indirect heat, place them on the cooler side of the grill (not directly over the heat). Start with the bone side facing the heat, and then flip the steaks every 5 minutes—not just over but by rotating them, too. Close the grill in between flipping the steaks. Keep the meat as far away from the heat source as your grill allows.

Check the temperature after the first 15 minutes of rotation and every few minutes after that, still rotating the meat every 5 minutes to allow it to heat evenly all the way through. When the centers of the steaks reach 100° F., remove them from the grill and cover them loosely with foil to allow them to rest, while retaining heat. (We want them a bit undercooked to allow for putting on a flashy finishing sear.)

The grand finale: While the steaks rest, get your grill super-hot by either adding more lump charcoal to your charcoal grill or turning all of your burners to high on a gas grill. Sear each side for about a minute, and then (wearing fire-resistant gloves) hold the steak by the bone and carefully sear the fat on the edges. Check the interior temperature: 130° F. is a perfect medium-rare, so if you need to sear for another 30 seconds or so, go ahead.

Present these primal beauties whole on a stone, an oval platter, or a wooden cutting board, with a knob of butter melting over the tops of each. To serve, cut the bone away with a sharp knife and then carve into thin slices.

Serve with warm mango/habanero dipping sauce.

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