How to cook the king of all steaks
When the cowhands come into town in almost every Western movie, there’s a steakhouse serving a humongous slab of beef — the porterhouse.
The porterhouse is cut from the short loin and includes a T-shaped bone from the vertebrae — a strip steak on one side of the bone and a tenderloin on the other. How is this different from a T-bone steak? In reality, it isn’t. All porterhouse steaks are T-bones, but not all T-bones are porterhouses. Typically, the T-bone is cut from the front of the short loin, while the porterhouse comes from the rear, which has a larger piece of tenderloin.
For a T-bone steak to qualify as a porterhouse, the filet is required to be at least 1.25 inches thick.
How did the name come about? The origin of the term “porterhouse” is surprisingly contentious and several cities and establishments claim to have coined it. The name might have originated on Manhattan’s Pearl Street in about 1814, when Porter House Inn proprietor Martin Morrison started serving particularly large T-bones. But Cambridge, Massachusetts and Flowery Branch, Georgia also have made claims. Despite its size, it’s an easy steak to cook and easily can feed two or more people with traditional sides of baked potato and wedge salad.
1 2-inch thick porterhouse steak trimmed (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Let steak sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to promote even cooking. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat, then heat oil in pan until smoking. Place steak in skillet and cook until a deep brown crust forms (4 minutes each side).
Remove to a cutting board and cut meat free from both sides of the bone. Cut both the strip and the filet perpendicular to the bone at 1-inch intervals and place back in position to resemble a whole steak again. Return to skillet, dot with butter and place in oven for 6-8 minutes for medium-rare.
Cover and let rest while you prepare your favorite sides. Serve with buttery juices spooned over the meat.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.