Most people might think there’s no difference between a T-bone steak and a porterhouse steak. It’s a common misconception but for true steak connoisseurs, the idea that both are the same is sacrilegious. Whilst it’s true that the T-bone and porterhouse are cut from the short loin of the cattle and both hold the tenderloin and NY strip, the USDA has set strict guidelines about how much beef belongs on a T-bone and on a porterhouse.
So what actually sets the T-bone apart from the porterhouse? The main difference between both steaks come down to the filet size. Porterhouse has more filet than the T-bone.
Another way to look at it is this – porterhouse is a T-bone but a T-bone is not a porterhouse.
In order for a T-bone steak to be considered a porterhouse, the USDA requires for the filet to have a thickness of at least 1.25 inches. This is measured from the bone to the filet’s widest point. Porterhouses are cut from the short loin’s rear where the tenderloin is thickest so it’s a huge cut of steak.
On average, a porterhouse weighs 24 ounces and served as a meal for two, and this is what Peter Luger Steakhouse specializes in. A T-bone on the other hand should have a thickness of at least 0.25 inch to be a T-bone steak. Otherwise it’s Club steak or NY Strip.
T-Bone and Porterhouse Prices
Those marked with USDA Prime for either the T-bone and the porterhouse are priced higher than those without. You’ll want one with a USDA Prime label if you are looking for excellent marbling. But comparing the two T-bone and porterhouse, which one is more expensive?
Due to its size and thickness, the porterhouse is often more expensive than the T-bone. Some steaks that are considered porterhouses may have thick filets in one area and thin in others so do pay attention to this. Overall, the cost of the two kinds of steaks would depend on factors like steak quality, weight, aging and where it’s bought or where it came from.
Cooking T-Bone and Porterhouse Steaks
Since they both come from the same part of the cow and therefore have similar textures, the T-bone and porterhouse can be cooked in the same way. But the key difference here is the amount of time you need to cook them. The porterhouse will require more time due to its size.
To cook the T-bone and the porterhouse, it’s best to use a cast iron skillet to get a good sear. If you want, you can also finish the steak in the oven covered with foil so it doesn’t get overcooked.
Choosing Your T Bone and Porterhouse Steaks
Here are some tips to make sure you find the best steak:
- First, know that some T-bone steaks actually have more filet than porterhouses.
- Next, pay attention to the details on the label. For USDA-certified steaks, check the label for the Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS) number. For porterhouse, the code is 1173 while for T-bone it’s 1174.
Learn how to choose the best porterhouse here: