Porterhouse: The Mother of All Steaks

As the hierarchy of beef cuts goes, the Porterhouse arguably sits atop all the rest. The cut comes from the short loin, further down the side from the rib loin. It consists of two separate muscles connected by a short bone from the vertebrae known as the transverse process. The two muscles—the tenderloin and the strip loin—are both great cuts of meat on their own. So, there’s no question as to why the Porterhouse is the most prized (and often most expensive) cut of beef found on steakhouse menus and can sometimes fetch price tags over $100.

Given the size of a Porterhouse, it is generally meant to be shared between two or more people. The average size for a Porterhouse steak is just over a pound, and they can be cut as large as 4.5 pounds. Cooking a porterhouse steak isn’t difficult, but it does have a couple of challenges. The tenderloin muscle is going to cook a bit faster than the strip loin muscle. Grilling the steak is the best approach, allowing for the use of direct and indirect heat in the process. So what is the best way to grill a steak? I always try to keep it simple.

Prepare the Grill

  1. Prepare the coals for the grill by using a charcoal chimney.
  2. While waiting for the coals, remove the steak from the refrigerator and coat them with aromatic oil (see recipe below) or olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the coals are white hot and ready to use, arrange them in a tight grouping so as to concentrate the heat in a specific hot spot for the grill.
  4. Let the grill surface heat up, and then wipe it clean with a grill brush and then apply a bit of oil using a clean, oiled kitchen towel held by tongs for safety.

Cook the Meat

  1. Now that the grill is ready, waste no time in putting the steaks on. The hotter the grill, the better. One of the best features of char-grilled steak is the taste and texture of a perfectly crispy exterior.
  2. Grill on one side for five to six minutes, moving the steak around every few minutes to cook evenly.
  3. Flip and cook for about three to four minutes on the other side for medium rare, five to sixfor medium and so on. Remember that the tenderloin side of the steak will cook faster, so place this side of your Porterhouse away from the coals, in indirect heat so as not to overcook it.
  4. Let the steak rest for about ten to fifteen minutes.

Serve

  1. To carve, remove each muscle from the bone.
  2. Place the bone back on the grill to char it, and then slice the steaks thick.
  3. For a nice presentation, place the bone back on the platter and fan the sliced steaks around the bone.
  4. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a large flake sea salt and enjoy.

 

Aromatic Oil

4 sprigs thyme

1 sprig rosemary

1 bay leaf

4 sprigs parsley

1 shallot, chopped

3 cups olive oil

 

Heat all ingredients in a sauce pot to about 180 degrees, and maintain the temperature for five minutes. Turn off and let cool completely before straining. This oil is multipurpose for meats, marinades, breads, dipping, etc. Play with the aromatics and customize it to your taste.

A friendly tip for garlic flavored oil, use dried garlic if you plan to let the oil sit around for awhile. Garlic is known for its culture of clostridium botulinum, which leads to botulism. Dried garlic has lower water activity which allows for much less bacterial growth. To avoid the scenario altogether, just add some fresh chopped garlic to your oil right before use. Problem solved.

 

Grilled Porterhouse

2  1  to 2 pound Porterhouse steaks,

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Olive oil or aromatic oil

Finishing sea salt

Super hot coals

  1. Combine the first three ingredients and place over hot coals.
  2. Grill on one side for about five minutes, moving occasionally to cook evenly.
  3. Flip over and cook for two to three more minutes for rare-medium rare, five minutes for medium, six to seven for medium well, and eight to ten minutes for well done.
  4. Let the steak rest, then carve and serve drizzled with more oil, and garnished with large flake sea salt.