What’s cooking today: Rosemary smoked ribeye on the bone

What’s cooking today: Rosemary smoked ribeye on the bone
Tony Jackman’s tomahawk steak (ribeye on the bone) cooked over the coals. Plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A tomahawk steak is a ribeye on the bone with the rib bone French-trimmed as you would a rack of lamb. I grilled it on low coals covered in rosemary branches to give it a smokey herbiness, then finished it on super-hot coals.

I learnt the reverse-sear method of cooking a thick-cut steak from Gordon Wright who wrote about it in his book Karoo Food. It involves first cooking the steak slowly, on a grid high above low coals, then doing that hot sear.


1 x 1 kg ribeye steak on the bone/ a.k.a. tomahawk steak

3 or 4 large rosemary branches

Coarse salt

Ground black pepper

Olive oil


I made a fire to one side of the braai and pushed a modest amount of coals over to the furthest side, and spread them out, mostly to the edges of the area over which the steak would cook.

Position the grid high above the sparse coals. Place several sizable rosemary branches over the coals so that they will emit herby smoke to float upwards and flavour the steak. Their presence also slows down the cooking further, which is the point of the “reverse sear”.

I’m not one for a meat thermometer, preferring to taste and touch and gauge by the senses. For a more technical approach have a look at Gordon’s method here. I seasoned my steak and cooked it gently for about 40 minutes in this way, turning about 20 minutes in.

I then banked up plenty of hot coals while the steak was resting and finished it with the grid close to the coals for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, followed by 8 minutes’ resting before serving.

This was one to share, cut into strips, served with 2 large brown mushrooms and two halved courgettes cooked on a pink salt rock preheated over hot coals on the braai grid. DM/TGIFood

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]

SUBSCRIBE: There’s much more from Tony Jackman and his food writing colleagues in his weekly TGIFood newsletter, delivered to your inbox every Saturday. Subscribe here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options