Porterhouse vs. T-Bone Steak

If you are a meat lover, you probably know that porterhouse and t-bone steaks are some of the most popular steak varieties. However, the fact that they both have the signature “T” shaped bone doesn’t mean they are the same. All porterhouses are T-bones, but not all T-bone steaks are porterhouses, which is a bit confusing.

So, what is the difference between porterhouse vs. t-bone steak? Is there a way you can differentiate them? While they both come from the same part of a cow, there are significant differences in size and preparation.

We will show you how to identify their unique characteristics, helping you make the right choice when ordering meat for the main course or buying from the local butcher shop.

T-Bone or Porterhouse: Which Is Better?

We have gathered a few pieces of information about each type of steak, including what makes them unique. Read on to learn more about these tasty beef cuts.

The Porterhouse Steak Overview

Raw fresh porterhouse steak

The first contender is the porterhouse steak – the king of the steakhouse. It is a composite steak derived from where the top loin and tenderloin meet. If you cut out the steak and remove the bone, you will get a top loin (also known as New York strip steak) and a tenderloin steak.

If you order a porterhouse steak in a restaurant, expect a big portion. Depending on how you prefer it, restaurants serve the porterhouse steak sliced and whole.

For those with a big appetite, it is a delicious but challenging meal. Most steakhouses market the porterhouse as a meal for two, so if you don’t think you can handle it yourself, it might be better to share it. One porterhouse steak can weigh up to two pounds, so make sure you have a big appetite before ordering this cut.

The T-Bone Steak Overview

Raw T-bone Steak Dry Aged for Grill or BBQ on Vintage Cutting Bo

The second contender is the t-bone steak, cut from the short loin of the cow, where the tenderloin narrows. T-bone steaks contain a piece of the top loin and a small part of the tenderloin, which are popular cuts on their own. The bone separates the two pieces.

The top loin size is usually larger and contains more fat. At the broadest point, it should be at least 1 1/4 inch to qualify for serving in elite restaurants. Professional cooks use precise techniques to get both sides equal.

The famous t-bone steak contains the flavor of the New York strip and the tenderness of the filet mignon.

Porterhouse vs. T-Bone

Meat Size

There is a reason why the Porterhouse steak is served with the tenderloin and the strip portions removed. The amount of meat is more than enough to feed two hungry people, and it is an ideal option if you don’t want to cook multiple steaks for a small group of friends.

The filet size can also differentiate a porterhouse from a t-bone. Porterhouse steaks have more filet while the t-bone steak contains less.

Porterhouse vs T-Bone Steak
T-Bone vs Porterhouse

The porterhouse steak should be 1.25 inches thick as they are derived from the short loin. The t-bone is ambler and thinner in size, making it a better option for an individual portion and an ideal candidate for grilling. While it lacks the sheer size of a porterhouse, the t-bone can be prepared quickly without leaving the center raw.

Preparation and Cooking Method

If you want to enjoy the most authentic steak flavor, cook the porterhouse on the grill. You can also get excellent results when cooking a porterhouse steak on the stovetop. No matter the method, make sure to use a small amount of salt and don’t cook the steak beyond medium-rare or 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

The perfect way to grill a porterhouse steak is to start fast and hot. Cook it until right before the fat begins to get a brownish color, then flip it to the other side. Once the meat browns on both sides, place it on the grill’s cooler side until it’s cooked to perfect the doneness.

For those who prefer a richer flavor, you can add a small piece of butter in the porterhouse’s center and put it back on the hot side of the grill. Add chili, garlic, or chipotle powder, wrap it in a plastic bag, and put it in the refrigerator to absorb the spices. Before you serve the porterhouse steak, grill it for a few minutes and serve it warm.

While the porterhouse steak can be grilled or cooked on the stovetop, the t-bone is made for grilling only. It is the favorite piece of meat for outdoor chefs, and you often see it in commercials for backyard grills.

The bone provides a perfect handle to grab and flip the steak without losing tenderness or flavorful juice. You should also apply the same technique as with porterhouse – cook the meat hot and fast. For an even more delicious taste, add a little oil and spices.

In terms of preparation and cooking time, the porterhouse steak requires more time, depending on how you want it done.

Steak Appearance

At first glance, the porterhouse and t-bone steaks look the same. If you don’t pay close attention when eating one in a restaurant or at home, you probably won’t notice a significant difference in appearance.

While both steaks may have a t-shaped bone, the porterhouse differs by having a larger strip steak and extra tenderloin on the other side of the bone. It is different from the t-bone steak because of its tenderloin amount and thickness.

Nutritional Benefits

Both t-bone and porterhouse steaks are high in protein, vital for muscle growth, recovery, and a metabolism boost. Red meat is also high in vitamin B-12 and iron, which helps the immune system fight bacteria and diseases and keeps red blood cells in balance.

A t-bone steak contains around 23 grams of protein and a third of your recommended daily vitamin B12 intake. It also includes amounts of niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, and selenium. Because the t-bone is also high in fat and cholesterol, you should consume it in moderation.

The porterhouse contains around 20 grams of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. However, with more than 1,000 calories per one pound, you should be careful about how often you consume it.

Cost

We want to complete our porterhouse vs. t-bone debate by identifying the price difference between these two steaks.

Porterhouse steaks have a higher price than t-bone steaks. However, some steaks that qualify as porterhouses might contain a filet that is thicker in one section and thinner in the other section, so make sure to pay attention to the size of the filets when buying a porterhouse steak.

The cost difference depends on various factors, including weight, quality, and the butcher shop or restaurant you are buying from.

Conclusion

If the price is a deciding factor, you can try the t-bone first, which has a similar taste as a porterhouse with less meat.

Regardless of what you want to try after our porterhouse vs. t-bone debate, one thing is for sure – you will enjoy your meal. Sooner or later you will try both steaks and can decide for yourself which one you like more.

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.