in ,

Beefsteak Tomato: Kitchen Basics

Tomato heirloom beefsteaks1
Brandywine beefsteak tomato
Brandywine beefsteak tomato

Beefsteak tomatoes are meaty and tasty in an old-fashioned tomato flavorful way. Serve beefsteak tomatoes on a tomato sandwich, BLT, or picnic-sized hamburger.

The beefsteak is perfect for a stand-alone tomato side dish: slice, lightly drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle to taste with sea salt and shredded basil and serve.

Mortgage Lifter beefsteak tomato
Mortgage Lifter beefsteak tomato

About Beefsteak Tomatoes

  • The beefsteak tomato is more than a variety of tomato; it is many varieties (dozens) and a class of tomato. Beefsteaks are one of the largest varieties of tomatoes growing. Some easily weigh more than 2 pounds (1 kilogram)
  • Beefsteak tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors: red, pink, yellow, orange, green, and purple-black for starters.
  • Beefsteaks are not round; they’re fat and saucer-shaped in a squatty sort of way. Oblate is a descriptor for the beefsteak.
  • Slice a beefsteak and you will find a tomato filled (filled!) with lush seed cavities (many). There’s no core like you might find in smaller slicing tomatoes. The beefsteaks’ seedy interior maze is Byzantine but an architecture of amazing strength. The beefsteak is made for slicing and eating raw and staying together.
Big Beef beefsteak tomato
Big Beef beefsteak tomato

Notable Beefsteak Tomato Varieties

  • ‘Big Beef’ is a great beefsteak, flavorful and consistent.
  • ‘Brandywine’ is many-colored– pink or yellow or purple-black. It tops many tomato flavor lists.
  • ‘Cherokee Purple’ and ‘Black Krim’ are purple beefsteaks.
  • ‘Beefmaster’, ‘Big Bite’, ‘Heavy Weight’, ‘Goliath’, and ‘Watermelon’ are descriptive names of beefsteak varieties.
  • Mortgage Lifter’ is the best beefsteak for storytelling. During the Big Depression, a West Virginia farmer by the name of Mr. Byles was about to lose the farm. Farmer Byles crossed several fat beefsteaks until he came up with a new beefsteak variety so big and so flavorful that his tomato sales paid off the mortgage, the ‘Mortgage Lifter.’
Yellow Brandywine beefsteak tomato
Yellow Brandywine beefsteak tomato

How to Choose a Beefsteak Tomato

  • Look for beefsteaks that are firm but give to gentle pressure and are smooth-skinned.
  • Avoid any tomato that is too soft, wrinkled, has broken skin or is blotchy colored.
  • Size is not the end-all with beefsteaks. A flavorful beefsteak can weigh 8 to 12 ounces.
Cherokee Purple beefsteak tomatoes
Cherokee Purple beefsteak tomatoes

How to Store a Beefsteak Tomato

  • Do not refrigerate tomatoes. Keep tomatoes at room temperature.
  • If a tomato is a tad green, it will ripen on the counter at room temperature.
Watermelon beefsteak tomato
Watermelon beefsteak tomato

Beefsteak Tomato Serving Suggestions

  • Eat the beefsteak raw and sliced on sandwiches and hamburgers.
  • Dice the beefsteak for salads or salsas or to top chili.
  • The beefsteak can be broiled or grilled or stuffed or used in stews or casseroles or gumbos and jambalayas.

Also of interest: Nine Ways to Cook Tomatoes

Midseason tomato plant
Beefsteaks growing midseason

How to Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes

  • Beefsteak tomatoes require upwards of 90 days to maturity.
  • Tomatoes demand warm weather with the optimum temperature between 65ºF and 85ºF.
  • Start beefsteaks tomatoes indoors 10 to 12 weeks before planting out.
  • The soil must be fertile and well-drained; work in plenty of well-rotted manure and compost to the planting bed in the fall.
  • Keep the soil moist during the growing season; don’t overwater or water from overhead
  • Use a garden scissor to harvest beefsteak tomatoes.

Also of interest:

How to Grow Tomatoes

How to Harvest and Store Tomatoes

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes



Blackberries on vine1

Blackberries: Kitchen Basics