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The Biggest Porterhouse Steak Is Also the Worst

Get more for your money with a smaller cut.
By Published Mar. 22, 2022

When it comes to beef, it doesn't get much more impressive—or expensive—than a porterhouse steak.

The porterhouse is a crosscut bone-in slice of the short loin. It features the buttery tenderloin on one side of the bone and a section of the beefy strip loin, which we also call a New York strip steak, on the other. 

Now, to qualify as a porterhouse, the tenderloin section must be at least 1¼ inches in diameter. Anything smaller has to be labeled a T-bone. 

When shopping for a porterhouse at the supermarket, you may be inclined to look for the steak with the largest tenderloin portion possible. More tenderloin is better, right? 

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Well, not exactly. It turns out that where the tenderloin is largest, roughly the last six inches of the short loin before it meets up with the sirloin, the accompanying strip portion is divided by a line of tough sinew. On the outside of that line, sits a portion of top sirloin, a much more heavily used muscle. Steaks from this section are known as a vein-end porterhouse, and while they look impressive, butchers report that they aren't much fun to eat.

To see and taste the difference ourselves, we visited Kinnealey Quality Meats in Brockton, Massachusetts, where butchers cut us both vein-end and center-cut porterhouses from three different short loins.

Back in the kitchen, sure enough, once tasters crossed the vein of sinew, they were met with a significantly chewier piece of meat. The section of top sirloin was not only tougher, but it was streaked with chewy connective tissue and rubbery fat. So if you don't want to pay porterhouse prices for sirloin quality, look for a porterhouse where the strip is vein- and top sirloin-free. 

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.