The T-bone steak is part of the “loin primal” and more specifically, part of the “short loin sub-primal”. The loin primal is divided into the short loin and the sirloin. Cuts of beef from the short loin are the most tender cuts available, so T-bone steaks are among the best, and most expensive, cuts of steak available.

T-bone Steak NAMP/IMPS 1174

raw T-Bone Steak NAMP/IMPS 1174Photograph: NAMP Meat Buyer’s Guide
The T-bone on the left could also be sold as a Porterhouse.

The T-bone steak is a crosscut steak which includes part of the tenderloin and part of the top loin’s new york strip. These two high-end cuts are separated by a bone in the shape of a “T”, thus the name “T-bone steak”.

The T-bone Steak is cut from the anterior end (front end) of the short loin, while a Porterhouse steak is cut from the posterior (back end). The primary difference between T-bone and a Porterhouse is that the T-bone Steak contains less of the tenderloin.

According to The US Department of Agriculture’s Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications and the USDA, a T-bone steak must include at least 1/2 inches (13mm) of the tenderloin, but there is no maximum definition. A Porterhouse must contain at least 1.25 inches (32mm) of the tenderloin. So, technically speaking, a Porterhouse could be called a T-bone, but a T-bone is not necessarily a Porterhouse because the definition is more strict for a Porterhouse since it must include a larger portion of the tenderloin. As far as cost goes, the Porterhouse is the more expensive cut because it includes a larger portion of the tenderloin.

T-bone Steak Best Cooking Methods

T-bones lend themselves well to both dry rubs and wet marinades. The best cooking methods for a T-bone include grilling, broiling and searing. Do not over-cook it as this will tend to make it tough and dry. If your customer orders a well-done T-bone and then complains because it is tough, it is due to their own lack of culinary sophistication. Comp them if they are a valued customer, otherwise tell them not to turn a beautiful cut of meat into dog food by ordering it well-done.

T-bone Steak Recipe Links

Follow the links below for our favorite T-bone steak recipe sites:


Comments from before Site Migration

MAGICOFSPICE    [ Nov 29, 2010  ]

Love the closing comment 🙂 Very nice article, I did not know the specific difference in the cuts before.


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