Porterhouse vs T-Bone Steaks

Is this a porterhouse or t-bone? After reading this article, you’ll know for sure!

Note: this post is sponsored by Omaha Steaks.

Do you ever dream of a world in which one steak is actually two steaks? Or have you found yourself wanting a more tender cut of beef AND one that is a little more firm? Well that dream has come true (been a reality for about 200 years now, actually) with both the porterhouse steak and t-bone steak! Both of these cuts have the the tenderloin filet and the New York strip, but what makes the porterhouse and t-bone different? Let’s dive into the details!

Where do these steaks come from?

Porterhouse and T-bone steaks come from the short loin of the cow.

Both the porterhouse and the t-bone steaks come from the same section of the cow: the short loin. As seen in the diagram above, the short loin comes from towards the back of the cow, just past the ribs. This section has the internal abdomen of the cow. The tenderloin runs through this section, which provides the filet side of these steaks. The other side of the lumbar vertebrae (the t-shaped bone that makes the porterhouse and t-bone) we find the more firm strip steak.

What is the difference?

So if both steaks come from the same section, then aren’t they the same? The short answer is no. While they both come from the short loin (with tenderloin running through), the t-bone comes from the section closer to the front of the cow while the porterhouse comes from further back on the short loin where the tenderloin is bigger. And that, my friends, is what makes the difference between the porterhouse and t-bone: the size of the filet.

According to the USDA, this is a porterhouse because the filet is at least 1.25” wide.

According to the USDA’s standards, the size of the filet on a porterhouse steak has to be at least 1.25 inches wide, measured from the bone in the middle out to the widest part of the filet itself. Meanwhile, the t-bone steak is a filet between 1.25″ and half and inch in width.

How to cook a porterhouse or T-bone steak

A simple salt and pepper based seasoning is perfect for beef.

The tricky thing with the porterhouse and the t-bone is that they have two different cuts of beef on them that ideally cook at different speeds. The filet will finish faster than the strip, so keep in mind when gauging heat levels on your grill. I like doing a pan sear to get an even crust, but that means my filet will be a little more done than my strip but depending on the day, I don’t mind. I’d say the best thing to do to get a more even cook throughout would be to get one side of your grill hotter than the other and cook the strip side on the hotter section, flipping over top to bottom (instead of left to right) so the strip stays on the hotter side.

If you’re looking for medium rare, then finish between 135-145 degrees. Let rest about 10-15 minutes before slicing for maximum flavor to get those juices built up inside. And slice against the grain for a better bite.

Personally, I’m more of a filet guy so I love the porterhouse. But I sure wouldn’t turn down a t-bone! Which do you prefer?

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