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A sure-fire sign of summer being around the corner is that glorious smokey smell from yards all across your neighborhood. Yes, it truly feels like grilling season is approaching once again – though for those dyed-in-the-wool grill kings out there, grilling season never really ends! Of course, no grill king is worth the salt he seasons with without knowing the principles of grilling.
While many of us will be playing it safe with burgers and sausages this season – and don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing better than a piping hot burger in a bap – you might want to up your grilling game and push the boat out a little with a crowd-pleasing steak. But which one should you choose?
We’re going to carve up and decide between wagyu vs tomahawk to help you determine what showstopper you should be grilling this summer. First of all, let’s take a look at the main differences between wagyu vs tomahawk steak.
Main Differences between Wagyu vs Tomahawk
The Main Differences Between Wagyu and Tomahawk are:
- Wagyu is the name of a type of beef, whereas tomahawk is the name of a steak cut.
- Tomahawk is an excellent bone-in steak, whereas wagyu can encompass any style of the cut of meat.
- Wagyu is one of the most expensive kinds of beef, whereas tomahawk is slightly more affordable.
- Tomahawk can easily feed 2 or more people and still be cost-effective, whereas, with wagyu, you’ll want to be a bit more care due to its cost.
- Wagyu cuts often come with plenty of beautiful intramuscular fat marbling, whereas tomahawk steaks get their flavor from the bone they’re attached to.
- Tomahawk steaks can be trickier to cook on the grill, whereas wagyu cuts often lend themselves to being grilled with ease.
What is Wagyu? Everything You Should Know
Let’s sharpen those steak knives and get this first succulent candidate on the chopping block. You may have heard of wagyu beef discussed in hallowed and respectful tones and perhaps even seen it on your local steakhouse menu – and understandably, your jaw may have dropped when you see the price it goes for.
Wagyu is the Japanese word for ‘cattle’, and basically can be applied to just about any cut of steak – as long as the production of the beef meets the rather strict quality benchmark! Beautifully flavored and wonderfully tender, if you see wagyu anywhere, then you can be sure that you’re in for a treat.
What does Wagyu look like?
Wagyu can take many different forms – from tri-tip to T-bone, New York strip to Sirloin, prime rib to ribeye. Basically, any cut of steak you can imagine can be from a certified wagyu cow! However, there are definitely things to look out for that will give you absolute confidence in the acquisition of wagyu.
First of all, wagyu beef has the most glorious marbling across the steak. While some may balk at the marbling across cuts like tenderloin or sirloin, you should remember this isn’t any ordinary steak you’re dealing with. The animals are fed on the highest quality grains and cereals, which gives the meat this wonderful marbling.
Marbling is the biggest giveaway that you’re dealing with wagyu beef rather than anything else, so keep an eye out for that fine, glorious marbling across your meat.
What does Wagyu taste like?
There’s an excellent reason that wagyu beef costs as much as it does, and that’s because of the flavor you get from it. The gorgeous intramuscular fat marbling that is the hallmark of wagyu beef gives it the most incredible, buttery, meaty flavor. And on top of this, wagyu beef is probably the most tender, melt-in-the-mouth beef you can buy.
Buttery and beefy, but also moist and tender, wagyu covers every single possible base that you could possibly want from your steak. Other than the fact that it can burn a hole in your pocket, it’s pretty much perfect!
How much does Wagyu cost?
We’ve hinted at the cost of this glorious beef a couple of times now, and we’re not beating around the bush when we warn that it could be upsetting news for any of you grill enthusiasts who want a slice of this succulent steak.
Snake River Farms has a relatively wide selection of wagyu beef products, and as you can see, the price varies depending on what you buy and how big you buy it. To get your hands on a 6oz Black Grade Wagyu Sirloin will cost you only around $18 – the other products are on a sliding scale all the way up to a 14lb Gold Grade Wagyu Striploin Roast for a fairly eye-watering $599. Products to fit all price points!
Top sirloin might be the most recognized name in steak. This working-class steak is popular due to its excellent value and universal appeal. Their American Wagyu top sirloin steaks are elevated compared to conventional sirloins and have superior flavor and texture.
The Snake River Farms Gold Grade strip loin is an incredibly marbled and rare cut of beef that is reserved for our most discerning customers.
How do you cook Wagyu beef?
This is where you’ll want to take care – with prices as they stand for wagyu beef, you don’t want to risk ruining your beautiful cut! Ensuring that you have all of the best grilling accessories, as well as a good clean grill (have a look at our guide to the best grill brush you can get), will mean that you can cook your wagyu to perfection and get the biggest, boldest flavors from it.
Here are our top tips for making the most of your wagyu:
- Ensure you remove your wagyu cut from the fridge and its packaging and let it come to room temperature. You’ll want to leave it for at least an hour.
- Let your grill come up to the highest temperature it can reach. Season your wagyu with a bit of salt and pepper – you won’t need much more than that.
- Place your cut on the grill and leave it on one side for around 3 minutes. This will vary depending on what wagyu cut you have chosen, but 3 minutes is usually a good benchmark.
- Flip your steak over and repeat the process on the other side, grilling for 3 minutes.
- Depending on the size of your cut, you may also want to leave the steak cooking for longer. Larger steaks would benefit from 20-40 minutes on a cooler area of the grill with the lid down to ensure it is cooked through.
- Once you’ve finished grilling your wagyu, leave it to rest for 10 minutes. This is really important, as the meat continues to cook even off the heat.
Snake River Farms is an American pioneer of Wagyu, a style of meat that first came from Japan. It is celebrated by chefs and beef connoisseurs throughout the world and is featured in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants.
What is a Tomahawk? Everything You Should Know
Hands down one of the most impressive cuts out there, this beast may share the name of the pioneer’s favorite ax but doesn’t match up to their gritty lifestyles in any way, shape, or form! A tomahawk steak is a ribeye steak with at least 5 inches of bone still intact, creating the ‘handle’ for the tomahawk.
This adds a real wow factor to proceedings, as it makes the steak look very impressive – not only that, the bone imbues the meat with all sorts of gorgeous meaty flavors. You can find out much more about the tomahawk in our guide to tomahawk steak.
What does a Tomahawk look like?
A tomahawk steak is usually cut quite thick, matching the thickness of the rib bone. This means that you can often get tomahawk steaks that are around 2.6lb – which is pretty sizeable for a steak! It’s got a good bit of intramuscular fat present, thanks to the ribeye cut, so expect to see a good bit of gorgeous white fat throughout the meat.
In addition to this, you’ve got that iconic bone sticking out of it, making the tomahawk pretty tricky to miss!
What does a Tomahawk taste like?
The tomahawk is definitely one of the tastiest steaks we’ve tried. The bone that is the key feature of the steak gives the meat a wonderful, meaty, beefy flavor when cooked to perfection, and combined with the ribeye-style marbling throughout the meat, you get a wonderful butteriness too.
On top of all of this, as the muscle the steak is cut from is a muscle that doesn’t get a huge amount of use, the steak is beautifully tender and succulent. What’s not to love!
How much does a Tomahawk cost?
While it will cost you less than any wagyu cuts you might want to get your hands on, the tomahawk will still set you back more than other steaks.
Porter Road, one of our favorite meat delivery sites, offers a tomahawk steak for $75. This is, unbelievably, one of the cheaper options out there. Some sites offer up deluxe tomahawk steaks for over $300!
Also called a Cowboy Steak, Tomahawk Ribeyes have to be one of our most impressive cuts. This 2-inch thick Ribeye comes with the rib bone still attached, making for one hell of a presentation.
How do you cook a Tomahawk?
Grilling your Tomahawk steak is absolutely the best way of making the most of this gorgeous steak – bear in mind, it’s quite a large piece of meat, so you’ll want to take care when grilling it. If you’re in the market for a new grill, be sure to read our top tips on how to buy the best grill. One of our favorite grills is the Broil King Regal.
Entertaining Your guests is what Broil King specializes in. The Regal is designed to help you create mouth-watering dishes that will be the hit of the backyard party.
Here are our top tips for cooking Tomahawk:
- Let your tomahawk come up to room temperature. This should take about an hour. While you’re waiting, bring your grill up to high heat.
- Season it with some salt and pepper, and place your tomahawk at the edge of the grill – avoid having it in any direct heat.
- Close the grill lid and leave your tomahawk to cook for around 45 minutes, turning it over every 10 minutes.
- Using a meat thermometer, take the temperature of your tomahawk. We recommend the BFOUR meat thermometer, suitable for any grill king. You’ll want your tomahawk to be around 125oF.
- If your tomahawk is 125oF, turn up the grill heat to as hot as it will go, and put the tomahawk over the hottest area. Flip every 30 seconds or so for 3-5 minutes to get a good sear and a glorious brown crust on each side.
- Grab your trusty meat thermometer once more and take the temperature. You want it to be over 135oF. If it’s at this temperature, take the tomahawk off the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes or so. Then it’s time to wow your guests!
The wireless meat thermometer adopts the most advanced Bluetooth 5.0 that provides the strongest, reliable connection, allowing you to monitor meat up to 200ft away.
They’re both a little bit out of my budget. Are there any alternatives?
While it is a tricky choice between wagyu vs tomahawk, at the end of the day, you may not have it in the budget to fork out for either. Here are some alternatives that are more friendly to the wallet.
This Brazilian cut is taking the world by storm, and rightly so. Picanha cuts are tender, delicious, and don’t cost too much.
If you’re not a fan of a tomahawk bone, then try out the ribeye. It even gave the filet mignon a run for its money in our filet mignon vs ribeye article.
If you’re a fan of the bone-in steak, then the T-bone is the one for you. Have a look at our guide to T-bone steak if you’re looking for more info!
Wagyu vs Tomahawk – Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly asked questions when it comes to wagyu vs tomahawk.
Answer: Not at all! You can use a skillet on a hob, a broiler, and you can even try the sous vide method of cooking. Grilling will guarantee you get that glorious steakhouse succulent steak, though.
Answer: Absolutely. You can use any sort of seasoning you like to flavor your steak, but to get the full steak flavor, we recommend you only use a bit of salt and pepper.
Answer: Some people may be put off by a great big bone sticking out of their steak, but steak lovers will know all too well that the bone gives the meat some absolutely exquisite flavors.
Wagyu vs Tomahawk – Which One Is Better?
This is truly a battle for the ages, and the steaks are certainly high (pun intended!). Wagyu beef is one of the most unique types of meat you can find, but it comes with a price tag to match.
Tomahawk is slightly more reasonably priced but can also cost a fair amount – plus the gamble with ribeye is which part of the muscle it ends up being cut from. Very occasionally, you’ll get served up a tough, muscly bit of ribeye, so you have to be careful.
At the end of the day, it’s down to you. Are you celebrating a special occasion? Then treat that special someone to a cut of wagyu. Are you looking to show off to a crowd of purported grill kings? Knock ‘em dead with a tomahawk!
Which one would you go for? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to know.
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