Porterhouse Vs. T-Bone: BBQ Showdown

T-Bone and porterhouse steaks are both popular cuts of beef that are quite easy to identify. They also have a lot in common. How similar are T-bone and porterhouse steaks and how much do they differ? Is there any benefit to one over the other? We answer these and other questions below in another BBQ Showdown. 

Where on the steer do you find porterhouse and T-bone steaks?

t-bone steak
T-Bone Steak

porterhouse steak
Porterhouse Steak

T-Bone and porterhouse steaks are both carved from the same section of cattle. Both cuts come from the short loin area. The only difference between the two is that porterhouse steaks come from a larger section.

Both of these steaks consist of two smaller steaks separated by a T-shaped bone. Without the bone, what you would have is a filet steak on one side and a New York strip on the other. Both steaks are highly rated among steak lovers with the New York strip being prized for its texture and the filet steak for its leanness.


What is the size difference between a T-bone steak and a porterhouse steak?

In order to be classified as a T-bone steak, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that a steak must be no less than 0.25 inches at its widest point. A thinner steak would have to be classified as a club steak. To be considered a porterhouse steak, a steak must be no less than 0.25 inches thick at its widest point.

Which of these steaks is best for the grill?

Grilling is the best cooking method for both of these steaks because of the T-shaped bone in the middle. The bone can make pan-frying difficult since it keeps the steaks from making good contact with the bottom of a pan.

The big difference between the two will be cooking time. A porterhouse can take much longer to cook because of the what can sometimes be a dramatic size difference.

Along with the cooking time, remember that both of these steaks are actually composites of two different types of steak. Furthermore, the two steaks are best eaten at different levels of doneness. This means that you will have to adjust your grilling method for each side. Filet steaks are best eaten rare, which mean that you will need to give the New York strip side more time over the coals without overcooking the filet side. The proportions of each can vary from steak to steak, so you will have to be careful with your positioning on the grill. Having a hot side and a cool side can make things easier.

Which steak is the most expensive in the grocery store?

Porterhouse steaks are more expensive per pound than T-bone steaks because of the larger portion of filet steak. However, there can be considerable variation in size on either side of the bone with either steak. You may be able to find T-bone steaks that have more filet steak than some porterhouse steaks but at a lower cost. Bear this in mind when selecting your steaks.

When are T-bone steaks the right choice and when are porterhouse steaks the right choice?

After the cost, the biggest factor in your decision should be size. How much meat do you want? If you are choosing a steak for two or more people, a porterhouse may be the way to go. If you want everyone to have their own steaks, T-bones may be the more economical option.