Cowboy Ribeye Steaks with Coffee Ancho Dry Rub

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These Cowboy Ribeye Steaks, or in this case thick cut bone-in Ribeye steaks, are packed with incredible flavor and great for feeding a crowd. Find out how to cook this impressive looking steak perfect every time to truly wow your guests!

Reverse Seared smoked thick cut cowboy ribeye steak with a coffee ancho dry rub on a sheet pan
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We all love a great steak dinner! And these days there are so many fantastic cuts to choose from. Ribeye steaks are always a winner at our house, but there is some terminology to be aware of these days when finding the perfect steak for your taste buds and party needs!

Cowboy Steak versus a Tomahawk Steak

What part of the cow is a Tomahawk Steak or Cowboy Steak? Let’s demystify something for a second. Cowboy steaks are typically a bone-in thick cut Ribeye. A Tomahawk is synonymous with Cowboy Ribeye but depending on where you buy it, the rib bone may be much shorter on the Cowboy cut. The bones on a Tomahawk, for example, tend to be 5 inches or more in length.

photo of two raw cowboy ribeye steaks on a sheet pan

Pro Tip: When choosing between Tomahawk or a shorter bone-in Ribeye, go with the shorter thick bone-in Ribeye. The long bone looks awesome, don’t get me wrong(!), but you do end up paying for that extra weight in the end.


Simple kosher salt and pepper in equal parts is a simple way to season. We love to enhance the flavor profile of these steaks by using a coffee and chili based rub. The addition of coffee flavor is subtle and we use fresh (not used) finely ground coffee.

  • Season the steak an hour or two before you cook it. You can do it the night before, but seriously, who plans that far ahead?
  • If Grilling only, let the seasoned steak come to room temperature.
  • If Smoking or Reverse Searing you can put the seasoned cut right onto the smoker from the fridge.

Grilling Method

We use the reverse sear method for Ribeye. This is especially true for thick cuts of meat, because simply grilling can be a challenge with flare ups. More importantly, adding a smoke flavor element to the steak is simply amazing, and not much extra work. Using the reverse sear method on these thick steaks will ensure the meat is cooked to your preferred temperature every time. We love the Thermoworks Thermapen One products for all things around here.

Learn more about the reverse sear method in our guide. But simply put, reverse sear is:

  • Smoking the meat at a low temperature
  • Searing to get the crust until your final desired internal temperature
  • Resting to allow the juices to redistribute

How to Slice a Bone-In Ribeye Steak

When slicing a bone-in ribeye, especially a Cowboy Ribeye:

  • Important: Let the meat rest at least 15 minutes to let the meat finish cooking and to allow the juices to settle in the meat.
  • Slice along the Bone.
  • Slice against the grain perpendicular to the bone (you can move the bone so you have the freedom to cut) in pencil width slices.
Grilled cowboy ribeye steaks on a sheet pan, one is whole and the other is cut into strips showing the right way to cut a large ribeye

The best way to finish the steak is with a compound butter.

Herb Compound Butter

One of our favorite ways to finish a steak is to add a dollop of compound butter. The easiest way to make a compound butter for steaks, especially this recipe, is simply use room temperature butter, and then your favorite diced herbs, garlic, and salt. You can make in advance and have in the fridge ready to go. Our ratio:

  • 4 Tablespoons Room Temperature Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Finely Diced Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Clove Finely Diced or Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

It’s that easy. Combine the ingredients together, mix, and then portion as desired. We’ll add about 2 tablespoons of the butter per steak given how big they are.

We add the butter while the steak is resting.

Wine Pairing

Reverse Seared Cowboy Ribeye sliced into thin strips with french fries and wine

Cooking Ribeyes using a reverse sear method like this one, allows the steak to soak in those sweet wood flavors, and then finishing hot and fast to sear the exterior and attain the flavor crust. This method opens your options up to some fun bold wines. Ribeye also maintain a good fat to meat ratio, which means it’s safe to go with something a little tannic (the fat will soften the wine’s tannins).

Something big and smoky works for this king of steak. Cabernet Sauvignon is a standard and great go-to for this cut. A bolder style Merlot also works well. But this where you can open that Barolo or Sagrantino di Montefalco that you’ve been saving for the right occasion!


Want to know where to get Cowboy Ribeye or Tomahawk Steaks? You can get at most box stores and specialty grocers. Call ahead to be sure they have them. We get and love our beef and pork from Snake River Farms. They are based and source in the Pacific Northwest, as well as have Double R ranch for Prime.

Sides Dishes Perfect for Cowboy Ribeyes

With any great cut of beef, like these steaks, add the perfect side dish to complement the flavor. Below are a few of our stand out sides for Cowboy Ribeyes:

If you like this recipe we’d truly appreciate it if you would give this recipe a star review! And if you share any of your pics on Instagram use the hashtag #vindulge. We LOVE to see it when you cook our recipes.

Grilled Cowboy Ribeye Steak
5 from 4 votes

Cowboy Ribeye Steak Recipe

This recipe for Cowboy Steaks with a Coffee Ancho Chili Dry Rub will wow your guests! Using the reverse sear method for the perfect thick cut ribeye steaks!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours
Servings: 4 people
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  • 2 Bone-In Cowboy Ribeye Steaks, 2 1/2 – 3" thick
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil (1 per steak)
  • ¼ cup Ancho Chili Coffee Rub


  • Prep: Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (F) using fruit wood. We like apple or cherry.
  • Season: While the smoker preheats, coat the steaks with 1 tablespoon of oil then season the two Cowboy Ribeyes with dry rub liberally.
  • Smoke: Place the steaks on the smoker, and insert a meat probe if you have one. Smoke for approximately 90 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 115 – 120 degrees F. Remove the steaks from smoker and prepare for direct/indirect grilling.
  • Grill: Once the grill is hot, place steak over direct heat and keep lid closed. This will minimize flare ups as the fat runs onto coals by minimizing airflow. Grill each side for additional 3 – 5 minutes or until you see desired crust. If there are big flare ups or the grill runs hotter, sear each side and move to indirect heat to finish to desired temperature. We like 125 degrees F for rare.
  • Rest: Let the meat rest, and add 1 tablespoon of compound butter to the top, and let the meat rest for 15 minutes uncovered, while the butter melts, and then slice to serve with your favorite sides.



Optional: While resting add a fun compound butter to the steak for added flavor. Recipe in post.


Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 0.3mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 389IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, BBQ, Barbecue, Grilled/Smoked Meat
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 108
Keyword: cowboy ribeye, Cowboy Ribeye Steak, cowboy steak recipe, Grilled Ribeye Steak
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    I just posted a photo and tagged vindulge on IG. This really hits the spot! It did end up being well done. But I learned how to reverse sear on my Traeger and it’s still tender and juicy which I have never experienced in a well done steak, especially a cut I’ve never had before. I bought the steak from Walmart, and I wonder if it’d be even better if I bought it from the local meat market next time. I just needed to up my iron intake today to donate platelets. I have a coffee rub from Aldi of all places that I’ve never used. I was so glad to finally use it and it was delicious! The butter topping was top notch too. I just used my food processor to get the garlic incorporated instead of the microblade. I followed your compound butter recipe. Thank you so much for the recipe.

    1. Nathan – thanks so much for the feedback. Regarding quality – I think marbling is the most important part of selecting meat no matter where it’s from. The more marbling the more you have fat that renders giving moisture to the meat. Leaner or less marbled cuts will cook faster and potentially overcook but still be tender. So I’d say we always love supporting our local butcher community and when selecting meat whether there or walmart take a look and buy the most marbling you can afford for the best steaks.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi. Your website and your recipes are just great, and make me look really good when i am out grilling for family and guests. I have followed a lot of your recipes with much success. In several of your photos of your steaks, you show nice looking french fries. Do you have a recipe for making these as well? I have looked but havent found. Thanks …and again a fantastic site.

    1. Thank you! And secretly the fries are frozen fries we’ve made in the oven 🙂 But we can try working on one! We’ve wanted to do some duck fat fries for a long time. You may have motivated us to get on that!