What’s the Beef? T-bone v.s. Porterhouse

As the weather gets warmer, the idea of heating up the BBQ instead of the kitchen becomes more appealing.  On hot days I will put just about anything on the BBQ.   There are the classics like, burgers and grilled vegetables, but I have roasted chickens and even baked bread. However, when I am looking for a guaranteed crowd pleaser nothing beats a great steak.  

diagram-beef-cut-1500Any cut of meat that is tender enough to be cooked quickly can be a steak.  The price of steak varies depending on the cut and the quality of the meat.  Each type of steak is defined by the muscle it is made of.  Generally, the least used muscles on the steer are the most tender and therefore the most valuable. The loin is a group of muscles situated in the back of the animal and makeup all of your most expensive cuts including; the sirloin, tenderloin and short loin.  In the case of the celebrated T-bone and Porterhouse steaks, you are really looking at the same muscles in different proportions.

Both steaks are taken from the short loin of the steer, making them a very tender cut.  They are comprised of two muscles: the tenderloin (or filet) and the strip loin.  These muscles are divided by the characteristic T-shaped bone. If you removed that bone you would be left with two separate steaks: the filet and the New York strip steak. These are the first and second most expensive steaks, the difference comes in the size of the steaks that are found on either side of the bone.  

prorter vs t-boneA T-bone steak is cut from closer to the front of the animal where the cone shaped tenderloin muscle is smaller.  Steaks with a filet from 0.5″ to 1.25″ at the widest point are considered a t-bone steak.  As you move down the tenderloin the filet gets larger, once it exceeds 1.25″ the steak is now called a porterhouse or ‘The King of the T-bones.’  Often large enough to feed 3-4 people!  It is this large portion of the best cut of meat, that makes the porterhouse steak so valuable.  There is also a better meat to bone ratio, which means that pound for pound you are getting more meat on a porterhouse.  With two steaks in one, joined by that classic t-bone, both of these steaks make a great choice for cooking in the kitchen or on the barbecue.


Now you know, What’s the Beef!

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