What’s the difference between the T-Bone steak and the porterhouse steak? We’ll go through the similarities and differences of these two popular chunks of meat. At first glance, these steaks may look the same. But there are a few key differences and, depending on your tastes and preferences, knowing these nuances can help you choose the best steak for you.
What is a porterhouse steak?
The porterhouse steak comes from the rear of the short loin, which contains the thickest layer of tenderloin. Like the T-Bone steak, porterhouse steaks also have the “T” shaped bone.
Several organizations have established guidelines around T-Bone and porterhouse steaks. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, porterhouse steaks include any cut featuring the tenderloin section that’s at least 1.25 inches across at its broadest point. The thickness does not affect the classification- just the width of the tenderloin.
Porterhouse steaks are T-Bone steaks, but a T-Bone steak isn’t a porterhouse steak. I know, sounds a little like a riddle. And while that’s technically true, it’s important to know that they cut the two steaks from different areas of the short loin—making each slightly different in price, preparation, and taste.
What is a T-Bone steak?
A T-Bone steak is taken from the front of the loin and features a “T” shaped bone going through the middle. The T-Bone separates the sirloin and tenderloin parts of the steak, with the sirloin side being slightly larger and fatter.
The cuts of meat with a tenderloin section of 0.51 inches to 1.24 inches is classified as a T-Bone steak. Cuts of meat that have a tenderloin section less than 0.5 inches are considered a bone-in strip steak, and not a T-Bone.
Since each side of the T-Bone is not exactly the same, cooks must take care to ensure all sides are cooked evenly.
Differences in Appearances
T-Bone steaks are identified by the T-shaped bone with sections of meat on each side of the bone. The primary difference between porterhouse and T-Bone comes down to the size of the filet. There are smaller amounts of tenderloin than a porterhouse steak and are sliced closer to the front. The Porterhouse steak will have a large strip steak and more tenderloin. For some, it may be hard to tell if it’s a T-Bone or porterhouse steak by just looking at it.
Nutrition Differences of T-Bone Steak and Porterhouse Steak
When you’re looking at the nutrition of beef, serving size will vary depending on your cut of meat. But generally, we say 3 oz of cooked meat (or 4 oz of raw steak) is a serving size and nutrition facts are based on that amount. That’s about the size of a small iPhone or the palm of your hand.
The average number of calories per serving of steak is around 160 calories. Keep in mind this will vary depending on preparing the steak (added butter or flavorings). Both types of steaks are rich in fat (about 8 grams of fat per serving) and protein (roughly 24 grams per serving).
Porterhouse is high in good-for-you polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, but it’s also got a dose of saturated fats. Some people trim the beef prior to grilling if they want to reduce the overall fat contents of their meat. Just remember, this will affect how your meat cooks and the tenderness of your final steak.
Keep in mind a serving size gives us an accurate measurement for nutrition facts. It’s not necessarily how much you should eat in one sitting because every person’s nutrition needs are different.
Differences in Price
A porterhouse steak typically costs more than a T-Bone. The tenderloin part of the steak affects the price. Since there is more tenderloin on the porterhouse cuts, it is higher cost. This is where it’s important to take time to examine the piece of meat since these cuts of meat can get mislabeled.
How much does a porterhouse steak cost?
The price will depend on where you purchase the meat and the quality of the cut. The average cost is between $15 and $28 per pound. Look for cuts of meat that have thick edges with lots of fat on its perimeter. Don’t buy a steak that’s less than 3/4″ thick, as thinner ones won’t be as flavorful or juicy. Prices are constantly changing.
How much does a T-Bone steak cost?
T-Bone steaks are cheaper than a porterhouse steak. The average cost is $8.55 per pound. Some factors may affect the price, including if it’s organic, antibiotic-free, or wagyu. Again, prices are constantly changing.
Where to Buy T-Bone and Porterhouse Steaks Online
As with other types of meat, these steaks are available widely online. Snake River Farms is known for their American Wagyu ranches in the USA. They offer Porterhouse steaks – from American Wagyu Black Grade to American Wagyu Gold Grade to USDA Prime.
Snake River Farms also carries quality American Wagyu Black Grade T-Bone steaks.
USDA Prime T-Bone Steak for Sale Double R Ranch – Snake River Farms
Prime is the highest rating the USDA gives for beef cuts. Waygu is a breed of cattle and because of the cow’s diet, the meat is highly marbled.
A T-Bone steak does well on the grill, where the tenderloin can stay tender. It gets more flavorful with the smoke and heat. Plus, the generous bits of fat keep the steak moist. The T-shaped bone is unique and provides a sturdy place to grab and flip the steak without puncturing through the meat.
T-Bone steaks should be cooked hot and fast. They don’t require a lot of pre-work. Don’t use a microwave to defrost your steak. Instead, leave it in the refrigerator for a day so it can slowly come up to the right temperature.
All you really need is to season your beef with generous amounts of salt, preferably Kosher. But add other seasonings before placing on the grill. Only add pepper after the steak is done. Pepper burns easily. So many people do not know this.
The strip side and the filet side of the steak are different enough that you’ll want to cook the strip side on the hotter section of the grill. The filet side has less fat, so it will cook faster.
You can also cook a porterhouse steak on the grill, but it does even better in a hot cast-iron skillet on the stovetop or boiler. Placing the meat in a hot skillet gives the outside of the meat a good sear.
The different cooking methods can change how tender the meat is so it can be worth experimenting with the equipment you have to find the right one.
Different cooking methods will also influence your other ingredients. Some methods use more butter or oils than others to keep the steak from sticking or to help hold in moisture.
Depending on how you’re going to eat, your meat should also dictate how long you cook it. A well-done piece of meat will taste good in a chili or stew. But if you’re looking for a grilled T-Bone, cook it rare and tender.
Read our guide on how to cook the perfect steak.
Tips for Buying a Porterhouse Steak
Finding the right piece of meat can take some practice. Start with a trustworthy butcher; one that you can talk with and ask questions.
Make sure the strip side of the steak has a generous portion with no significant clumps of connective tissue going through the steak. Connective tissue is tough and lacks flavor. Instead, look for dense, white marbling.
Thickness matters too! Make sure they cut the meat at an even thickness. Thicker cuts are going to be easier to cook and render more flavor.
Other types of Meat
Most people associate T-Bone and porterhouse steaks with cows. And while beef is the most common, you can also find T-Bone or porterhouse cuts of lamb, veal, or pork. The characteristics of these steaks stay the same no matter what animal you choose.
Final Thoughts – Which is better?
T-Bone and porterhouse steaks are very popular cuts of meat. And although they may appear to be the same cut of meat, they are not.
Ultimately, the better cut of steak should be determined by your personal taste, needs, and preferences. If you’re feeding over two people, get the porterhouse steak because you can cut the filet in half and have enough for both people. If you’re looking for a smaller size or just one person, go for the T-Bone steak.
If you’re looking for more of a memorable experience, get the Porterhouse steak.