How to Cook a Porterhouse Steak

Porterhouse steak enjoys a fantastic reputation among meat lovers, and it is one of the most popular steaks in fine steakhouses across the world. But perhaps you’ve been wondering: How do I transfer those unique flavors to the dinner table at home?

We will help you learn how to cook a perfect, juicy porterhouse steak like a professional chef. Read on for our guide on porterhouse steaks, including a delicious pan-fried porterhouse steak recipe at the end.

What Is a Porterhouse Steak?

A Porterhouse steak is a premium cut of steak coming from the short loin portion of the cow. The porterhouse is a composite steak since it consists of meat from two distinctively different parts of the animal: the tenderloin and the top loin (also called the New York strip). Separating the two kinds of meat is the distinctive T-bone in the middle.

It is similar in many ways to the T-bone steak, although it is usually larger and thicker. The two cuts are from opposite ends of the short loin, so the proportion of tenderloin is higher with the Porterhouse while the proportion of New York strip is smaller.

Due to the nature of the cut, porterhouse steaks are rather large and often classified as meals for two. They also provide meat lovers with the unique experience of tasting two different types of steaks (the tenderloin and the New York strip) in the same meal, given that each type has a rich, distinctive flavor.

The top sirloin (New York strip) contains more marbled fat, giving it a famed robust flavor and juiciness. The tenderloin, however, which is leaner, is the most tender and can almost melt in your mouth when cooked to perfection.

Where to Buy a Porterhouse Steak?

Buying a porterhouse steak is a bit more challenging than some other steak types. You’ll need to find a local butcher who carries high-quality beef and who can give you the perfect cut you are looking for. Grocery stores and large chain supermarkets tend to sell pre-cut steaks, including porterhouse steaks, but they sometimes offer no flexibility in the cut and thickness.

After you find a reputable butcher, stop by and check out the meat. Looking for steak cuts that have a vibrant and rich color with no visible browning. The fat on the cut needs to be bright white, with little to no yellowing. Also, look for marbling (thin veins of fat in the meat) in the cut, especially in the top loin portion of the Porterhouse.

Finally, a porterhouse steak is a large cut, and it should be at least 1½ inches thick. This will allow the steak to get a fantastic searing or golden crust when cooked yet remain tender and juicy on the inside.

How to Cook a Porterhouse Steak

Before moving to the main event, our recipe for a perfect Porterhouse steak, let’s cover the different methods for cooking it. Each method has its advantages, so we encourage you to experiment with different recipes.

  • Grilling – Cooking a steak on the grill remains one of the most popular methods. The added flavors from the charcoal, flames, and that perfect golden crust are a hit with the barbecueing crowds.
  • Pan-Frying – Like grilling, pan-frying provides a nice, crispy crust but in a closed environment, requiring just a quality iron skillet.
  • Oven Cooking – Cooking in the oven may be the lazy method, but it leaves little mess.
  • Reverse Searing – This slow-cooking method involves both the oven and an iron skillet.
cooked porterhouse steak

Pan-Fried Porterhouse Steak Recipe

We decided on a pan-fried porterhouse recipe that requires the least in terms of cooking equipment and tools—and gives you the best control over the cooking process. 

So, let’s get started.

Prepare the steak

Remove the steak from the freezer or fridge and let it defrost entirely or allow it to reach room temperature before starting the cooking process. Usually, taking out the steak anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour before cooking should be enough for the steak to reach room temperature.

Add Seasoning

We’ll leave the choice of seasoning up to you. You can find many steak seasoning mixes for sale or find recipes online. Some general advice is to be generous when applying seasoning since the large porterhouse steak cut will absorb the spices during cooking. Spicy rubs, like Southwestern mixes, also work exceptionally well with porterhouse steaks.

Leave the steak to soak up the seasoning while you heat the pan.

Preheat the Skillet

An iron skillet is the best pan for cooking a porterhouse steak. It provides a fantastic sear and keeps the inside of the steak tender and juicy. Turn on the stove to medium heat and pre-heat the skillet for about 5-6 minutes before adding the steak. 

In general, you do not need to add any butter or oil to a cat iron skillet, but if you do, a little goes a long way—so don’t overdo it.

Cooking Time

Once the skillet is hot, add your steak. Depending on your steak’s thickness, a medium-rare steak takes anywhere from 13 to 17 minutes to cook. Our recommendation is to go for 15 minutes for a standard 1½ steak. Cook one side for approximately 7 minutes, then flip the steak and cook for another 8 minutes. 

A useful hack is the use of a instant-read meat thermometer. Check the meat, and once it reaches 130°F, remove from pan and allow to rest for 10~ minutes before serving.

Let It Rest and Serve

Resting a steak is very important. When cooked, the juices from the steak flood to the meat’s surface, and if you cut the steak right away and serve it, they will flow out to your plate, leaving the meat dry and less tasty. Let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes after cooking to allow them to soak up the juices inside.

You can serve your steak whole or use a sharp knife to slice up the steak for a nice presentation presentation.

Bon appetit!

Written by:
Adam Wojtowicz
Adam Wojtowicz

Adam can tell you the difference between a flank steak and skirt steak and any other cut of meat. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.