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Beef Cuts
Beef cut: Short Loin + Tenderloin
Steak type: T-bone steak
Raw t-bone steak
Seared t-bone steak
A grilled porterhouse showing distinct grill lines

The T-bone and Porterhouse are steak cuts of beef. They consist of a T-shaped bone with meat on each side. The larger side is the New York Strip, which is from the strip loin, whereas the smaller side contains the tenderloin. 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.

In British usage, followed in Commonwealth countries (except Canada), only the strip loin side is called the porterhouse, and the tenderloin side is called the fillet.

There is little agreement among experts on how large the tenderloin must be to call a T-bone or a porterhouse; steaks with a large tenderloin are often called a T-bone in restaurants and steakhouses. The US Department of Agriculture's Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications states that the tenderloin must be at least 1.25 inches (32 mm) thick at its widest to be classified a porterhouse. Similarly, the USDA says that the tenderloin must be at least ½ inch (13 mm) thick for the steak to be classified a T-bone.

Due to their large size and the fact that they contain meat from two of the most prized cuts of beef (the short loin and the tenderloin), T-bone steaks are generally considered one of the highest quality steaks, and prices at steakhouses are accordingly high. Porterhouse steaks are even more highly valued due to their larger tenderloin.

In the United States, the T-bone has the meat-cutting classification NAMP 1174; the porterhouse is NAMP 1173.



The origin of the name 'porterhouse' is the subject of much conjecture but very little knowledge; it has been claimed that the name derives from a Massachusetts stockman and proprietor of the now defunct Porter House hotel in Porter Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Zachariah B. Porter,[1] or from a New York City porter-house proprietor, Martin Morrison.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary suspends judgment, observing that the cut is "freq. supposed to derive its name from a well-known porterhouse in New York in the early 19th cent., although there is app. no contemporary evidence to support this". Yet another theory is that the name arose from the Porter House Hotel, situated in the city of Flowery Branch, Georgia, just northeast of Atlanta, on what was, in the late 19th century, a new railroad that connected New York City with New Orleans.[3][4]

Anatomy of the T-Bone

To cut a T-bone from butchered cattle, a lumbar vertebra is sawn in half through the vertebral column. The downward prong of the 'T' is a transverse process of the vertebra, and the flesh surrounding it is the spinal muscles. The small semicircle at the top of the 'T' is half of the vertebral foramen.

Although the spinal cord is removed by packers during processing, there is still concern by some (especially in the European Union and Japan) that it could be a source of the prion that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease. This is because spinal tissue contains nerve cells that can contain and transmit the prion.


Bistecca fiorentina on sale in a Florence market

T-bone and porterhouse steaks are suited to fast, dry heat cooking methods, such as grilling or broiling. Due to their relative lack of collagen, longer cooking times are not necessary to tenderize the meat.

Because bone conducts heat, and because of the differences in the two cuts of meat, different parts of the steak will reach the desired cooked temperature at different times. The meat near the bone will cook more slowly than the rest of the steak, and the tenderloin will tend to reach the desired level of doneness before the strip.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

A favorite of Tuscan cuisine, bistecca alla fiorentina 'beefsteak Florentine style' consists of a T-bone or porterhouse steak (traditionally taken from either the Chianina or Maremmana breeds of cattle), grilled over a wood or charcoal fire, and seasoned with salt and, sometimes, black pepper, and olive oil. Thickly cut and very large, steaks are often shared between two or more persons. Bistecca is invariably served very rare, sometimes garnished with lemon wedges if not accompanied by red wine; Tuscan beans are the usual side dish.[5]

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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T-bone steak

T-bone steaks

T-bone steak (plural T-bone steaks)

  1. a large beef steak, containing a T-shaped bone.


  • Finnish: T-luupihvi

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