Porterhouse Steak
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From the Short Loin, the highly valuable Porterhouse is a steak cut of beef from the large rear end of the short loin. It contains a large T-Shaped Bone with meat on each side. The larger side contains muscle from the short loin (often called the strip). The smaller side contains a portion of Tenderloin muscle (often called the fillet).  There are, depending on how thick they are cut, only 3 or 4 Porterhouse Steaks on a short loin. In the U.S., the Porterhouse Steak has the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP), meat-cutting classification NAMP 1173.

The term T-Bone Steak and Porterhouse Steak are often wrongly used interchangeably. The main differences between them are how far forward the steak is taken, how thick the steak is cut and how much tail remains untrimmed from the steak.


Porterhouse Steak is available all year long.


The production of beef is carried about by three primary types of operations: Cow & Calf Operations, Weaner Calf & Yearling Operations, and Dry-Lot Feeding Operations (also known as “Backrounders”) which are the most expensive operations in the Beef Industry. To learn more about Beef Producers just follow the link to Smart Kitchen’s Page on Beef Producers. The Beef Producers are represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

American cattle production has remained almost stagnant between 1985 and 2009, growing just 6.4%, while the amount of beef imported has nearly tripled in that time, according to an analysis of USDA figures conducted by R-CALF USA, another the trade group that represents cattle producers.

Once raised, Beef is typically sold to Meat Packers who slaughter, inspect, and butcher the animals to provide Primal Cuts to butchers and portion cuts to consumers.

The Meat Packing Industry is in a period of consolidation. In 1999, the 10 largest beef-packing firms accounted for more than 90 percent of all Steer and Heifer slaughter in the U.S. In 2011, according to the Western Organization of Resources Councils three major companies controlled Beef market. Visit Smart Kitchen’s Meat Packers Resource Page to learn more.


Porterhouse steaks are cut from the rear end of the short loin and contain a much larger section of the tenderloin. T-bone steaks are cut from farther forward in the short loin and contain a comparatively smaller section of the tenderloin. You will encounter a lot of opinion about how thick the tenderloin must be to be called a Porterhouse but the USDA's Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications states that the tenderloin on the steak must be at least 1.25 inches (32 mm) wide at its widest to be classified as a Porterhouse Steak. Similarly, the USDA says that the Tenderloin must be at least a relatively smaller 0.5 inches (13 mm) thick for the steak to be classified as a T-Bone Steak.

The Porterhouse is likely to be a thicker cut steak than a T-Bone Steak.

The tail on the Porterhouse Steak or T-Bone Steak is actually part of the Flank and not as tender as the other portions of the same steak. The tail will cook just as quickly as the rest of the steak but will remain tougher. It may make sense to pay a bit more by weight to avoid the tail altogether.

In the Commonwealth of Nations, only the short loin, strip side of the bone is called the Porterhouse.

When shopping for Porterhouse Steak, look for Porterhouse Steak that has a clear, red exterior color known as the “Bloom,” that come from exposure to oxygen and not the more normal purplish-red color of vacuum packed beef. Your purchase should be cold, firm to the touch and, if packaged, free of any punctures or rips. Notice the “sell-by” date on the label and make sure you are buying product that is well within its dates of safe use as specified by the sticker.


Raw Porterhouse Steak should last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Add an extra day of cold storage time if the Porterhouse Steak is Marinated or oiled. Raw Porterhouse Steak will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer without any appreciable deterioration in quality.

Cooked Porterhouse Steak should be refrigerated for up to 1-3 days.

Culinary Uses

Porterhouse Steak is a tender Portion Cut of Beef. On Smart Kitchen’s Home Plate it should be Cooked, it is Tender, it can be Thin or Thick depending on how it is cut, it is Moist, and Lean. Using the Home Plate we would call it Cooked, Tender, Thin or Thick, Moist, and Lean or noted in the home plate shorthand Porterhouse Steak would be (C, T2T3-T4, M, L).

Porterhouse Steaks are best cooked using the following techniques: GrillingBroilingBaking, Spit RoastingRoasting,SautéingPan FryingDeep Fat FryingSous-vide and Smoking.

To Learn how to properly cook a Porterhouse Steak see Lesson 7: Basic Proteins, Topic 3: Beef, Exercise 16: Cooking Beef Steaks.

Portion Size

Allow 6 to 9 ounces (170 g to 255 g) per person of trimmed Porterhouse Steak as a Serving Size.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie