How to Grill a Porterhouse Steak

A porterhouse steak is beef eating at its finest, so if you're cooking one you don't want to mess it up. Although there are many ways to cook a good steak, when it comes to a porterhouse it practically begs to be grilled; it seems like whenever you see a grill ad, a sizzling porterhouse is the star of the show. So let's take a look at how to grill a porterhouse steak, from the proper seasoning to dinner time.

How to Choose the Best Beef Grade?

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When it comes to grilling a perfect steak, the type and grade of beef play an important role in the final product.

If you want to cook the highest quality grade, then U.S. Prime is the one. It is the 2% and it usually what fancy and upper-end restaurant use for their menu. Just as you though, this grade of beef is pretty expensive and you probably will not pay for that price for a home-cooked meal.

After U.S. Prime, you have the Choice category. It is the most common one and half of all beef falls into this category. It is kind-of medium quality beef and most of the people are satisfied with the quality-price ratio.

After that, you have the ‘Select’ grade. The beef in this category can be considered as ‘OK’. It is the lowest grade, less juicy and tender than the other two grades and is commonly sold at retail.

You are free to pick what grade you feel comfortable with. I mostly use ‘Choice’ or the medium-quality grade. It is very good quality for the price, it’s very common in most of the market and it’s marbling can be quite variable.

As for the thickness, usually most recommend a 1 ½ inch thick. I think that is a bit much. Try to aim for 1 inch cuts. I think that is the ideal thickens, not too thin and the steak have meaty center, ideal for grilling.

Are a Porterhouse and T-Bone Steak the Same?

Porterhouse vs T-Bone

Although porterhouses and T-bones come from the same part of the cattle, the short loin (the part between the rib and the sirloin), the USDA has a specific definition for a porterhouse.

Both cuts actually consist of two steaks, one side being a New York strip and the other a tenderloin, but a porterhouse's portion must be at least one and a quarter inches wide in order to be classified as such while the tenderloin must be at least one and a half inch wide.

So, in a few words, T-Bone and porterhouse are somehow the same cut of meat except the porterhouse has more filet/meat.

How to Season a Porterhouse Steak?

Porterhouse purists insist that the steaks only need a bit of salt to bring out the best flavor, but experimenting with different seasonings can bring your porterhouse to the next level. Simply rubbing a cut clove of garlic over the meat will enhance it, but feel free to experiment with different seasonings.

What I like to do is use a bit of pepper, salt and garlic but you should be careful with the timing of seasoning. Salt timing can impact the tenderness of steak.

Should you tenderize Porterhouse Steak with Salt?

In addition to seasoning your porterhouse, salt is also a great tenderizer. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at the Food Lab suggests salting your porterhouse at least fifty minutes before grilling or even up to overnight. The salt will draw out moisture from the steak, then reabsorb it, seasoning the meat from within and tenderizing it nicely. 

You can read one of my previous articles on tenderizing steak with salt to have a better understanding of how salt impact your steak.

Wet Brine or Dry Brine?

A good marinade can really amp up your porterhouse game, but pay attention to how long you marinate. If you're using a mixture that contains anything acidic such as vinegar, don't leave your steak in it overnight, or else you'll end up with a pile of mush around a bone. Four hours will be more than enough time for your marinade to work its magic.

Preparing the Grill

Before you fire up your grill, rub the grates with vegetable oil to keep your porterhouse from sticking to them. Whether your grill is charcoal or gas, it needs to be at medium-high heat before you start cooking.

If your grill doesn't have a thermometer, you can test its temperature by holding your open hand over the grate and counting the seconds until you have to pull away. When you reach the point of roughly two to four seconds, the grill's ready.

Preparing the Steak for Grilling

After you have collected all the ingredients, you should prepare your steak for grilling.

You don't have to do much. Just remove the steak from the freezer and leave it to get to the room temperature.

I know that you can cook a frozen steak to taste as good as a thawed one, but leaving it to reach the room temperature is the recommended option for this type.

Image Credits: BestandWorstEver Blog

After the meat has reached the room temperature, you can continue with the seasoning and the grilling process.

Note: Since porterhouses are so large (they tend to average about a pound and a half), the time it will take for your grill to heat and get to cooking temperature is about the same time it will take your steak to get up to room temperature, which makes grilling conditions perfect.

Let's Get Grilling!

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Serves​​​​​

2 Steaks

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Prep Time

5 Min + 60 Min Passive

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Cook Time

10 Minutes

Now that you've got the heat cranked up, it's time to get started. If you're using a seasoning other than salt, sprinkle it on the side that's going to hit the grill first.

Do I Need a Meat Thermometer?

If this is your first time grilling a porterhouse, it's a good idea to keep an instant-read thermometer on hand. You may have heard of the "poke test," when a steak's doneness can be determined by how much it gives when poked with a finger, but since different types of steaks react differently to poking, a novice griller would be wise to steer clear and stick to the instant-read. 

How Long Should You Grill a Porterhouse Steak?

I know there's some people who like their steaks well done, but a truly good steak should only be cooked to medium rare. On a medium-hot grill, even a big porterhouse should take maybe about five minutes per side max, or until the interior temperature reaches 130 degrees. For rare steaks, shoot for 120. 

Do you want to get those fancy steakhouse grill marks on your porterhouse? After you put it on the grill, wait for a couple of minutes and take the end on your right and turn it so that the steak's now vertical rather than horizontal. Don't forget to do this on the other side, too!

Should You Flip Frequently?

Grilling Porterhouse

Many will tell you that a steak should only be flipped once while grilling. If you want the pretty grill marks, yes, but if you want a well-cooked steak and don't care about said grill marks, flipping your steak frequently will help it cook more evenly. Besides, steak is pretty no matter what and steak lovers won't turn down a piece of nicely grilled meat based on looks.

Should You Rest Your Grilled Porterhouse Steak?

Your porterhouse is at the perfect temperature and looking delicious. Time to take it off the grill and dig in, right?

NO! As tempting as it might be to eat your porterhouse right away, cutting into it right after cooking will cause it to lose a lot of juices. If you've ever seen a steak sitting on a plate in a pool of red, that's a sure sign it was cut too soon. Be patient and let it rest for at least five minutes and up to ten. The steak's juices will thicken a bit, making it even tastier.

Serving the Steak

A porterhouse served whole will please every carnivore, but a little knifework will make a great presentation. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay suggests cutting the steak off the bone in its two parts, slicing them in thick cross sections, then placing the bone on the serving plate and arranging the slices back to their original form around it. A couple of pats of butter on top will finish your steak like the pros would do it.

Now that you know how to grill a porterhouse steak, impress your friends or that special someone with your elite beef cooking skills. Don't forget the baked potato!

Quick Summary

  1. After you pick the steak of your choice, let it rest at the room temperature for about 1 hour.
  2. Don’t forget to apply salt, pepper and garlic at the start of your resting period. You can apply it at the end if you forget but at the beginning is recommended.
  3. Trim the extra fat from the beef. Doing so, will prevent the flare-ups from burning your meat.
  4. Preheat the grill to maximum after you have cleaned it well. Also, don’t forget to season the grill with some olive oil.
  5. Take your steak and place it over direct heat. Leave it cook for 5 minutes and then flip in the other side. If you like crossed marks, rotate the steak 90 degrees at about 2 and half minutes.
  6. Grill based on your doneness preference. 8 Minutes for rare, 9 for medium-rare and 10 for medium. Your timing will vary that’s why it is important to use an internal meat thermometer.
  7. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes by tenting it with some aluminium foil.

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