5 Tips for Choosing the Best Porterhouse Steak for Your Budget

Choosing the best porterhouse steak involves considering thickness, marbling, and purchasing from a quality source like a local butcher shop or online retailer for an optimal dining experience.

Porterhouse Steak

Everyone loves a fun trip to the local steakhouse but of course, there are questions that are going to be asked by those who are looking to maximize their enjoyment.

That’s where this guide comes into play. When it comes time to find the right porterhouse steak, these are the questions that need to be asked.

By taking the time to learn more about the following aspects of ordering the perfect porterhouse, everyone is able to avoid the usual annoyances.

Whether you are planning to head to a steakhouse or you are looking to make your own porterhouse steak at home, we are here to assist you.

Having the steak dinner that you have always dreamed of has never been easier, thanks to this helpful primer!

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What is the average size of a porterhouse steak?

North American diners will know the porterhouse as a larger, more flavorful steak cut. They come with a T-shaped bone inside them, and it is cut from the short loin.

In order to be referred to as a porterhouse steak, a portion of the tenderloin must be found inside. This portion can be no smaller than 3 centimeters in diameter (1.25 inches).

The tenderloin portion that is located within the porterhouse is a filet mignon, which can be surprising to those who are not familiar with this cut.

Those who are preparing the steak at home may decide to remove the filet mignon and create a T-bone steak for themselves. On the other hand, if the T-bone is removed, the meal turns into a generously portioned strip steak.

So how does the porterhouse steak differ from a T-bone? The size of the filet mignon is the determining factor in these instances.

T-bone steaks typically only have a piece of tenderloin on their interior that ranges from 1 to 3 centimeters in size. These pieces will range in size from .5 inches to 1.25 inches.

The porterhouse steak’s thickness varies anywhere from three centimeters to seven and a half. Anyone who is looking to pan fry their steak will want to make sure that they are purchasing one that is on the thinner side.

Cuts of Beef

For these reasons and more, many beef aficionados will choose the porterhouse steak over the filet mignon.

A Fun Fact About The Origins of the Porterhouse Steak

James Beard is a well known American food writer and he has this to share about the porterhouse steak:

This was named after the porterhouses or coach stops during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when this cut was often served to travelers. It is the part of the short loin comprised of the sirloin and the tenderloin with a T-shaped bone between (usually a piece of the backbone and the finger bone). It is apt to have a bit of kidney fat as well, and often, though less so than formerly, a tailpiece of the flank is attached. In France, the sirloin and the tenderloin sections are called the filet and the contre-filet.

American Cookery by James Beard

What is the ideal thickness for porterhouse steak?

The ideal thickness for a porterhouse steak will depend on the needs of the diner. In most instances, though? The experts will recommend purchasing a porterhouse steak that is at least 1.5 inches thick.

Yes, there are thinner cuts of porterhouse steak available, but there is no need to rely on these. Thinner cuts of the porterhouse tend to be on the pointless side.

Porterhouse steaks should always be thicker. This has nothing to do with the quality of the steak, although that is a worthy consideration.


Larger steaks are tougher to cook without drying out. In order to avoid this all too common mistake, it is best to choose a porterhouse steak that has the optimal thickness and mass.

Otherwise, the steak will not cook properly and the discoloration is noticeable in these instances. If the color is not rich and deep, without any gray?

This is a sure sign that the cut was too thin. The fat on the steak should be white. Yellow fat is another sign of a poorly-chosen cut.

Good marbling is a must. Bargain hunting is not recommended when you’re in the market for a porterhouse steak. Prime grades are on the more expensive side, but there are also choice cuts that offer the necessary flavorfulness and freshness.

How big is a porterhouse steak for two?

Meanwhile, there are those who may be in search of the best porterhouse steak for two. Size considerations are always key.

Fortunately, the porterhouse makes for a great meal for two because of its extraordinary thickness. That is because the porterhouse cuts are taken from the short loin’s rear, where the tenderloin remains the thickest.

The end result is an immense cut of steak that will easily feed two in the vast majority of instances. Most porterhouse steaks land in the 24-ounce range and those who order this meal at a steakhouse will have it served as a meal for two.

In fact, these are the steaks that are typically utilized as a means of catching the eye of various customers. When steakhouses need to choose the perfect juicy cut for their marketing purposes, the porterhouse is usually at or near the top of the list.

Of course, this also makes the porterhouse a literal picture-perfect choice for Instagram feeds.

How many ounces is the average porterhouse steak?

Now that the proper sizing has been discussed in the context of a porterhouse steak’s thickness, there is one final question to answer. “What is a good size porterhouse steak?” is a common question in these instances that needs to be addressed. There are two different answers here and they are both important.

Some may decide to go off serving size, while others may be referring to the size of the steak in its full entirety.

The proper serving size for the porterhouse steak is three ounces, but a 24-ounce porterhouse will serve as a meal of two. For those who plan on dining solo, the 12-ounce porterhouse steak is the best option available.

Where Is the Best Place To Purchase a Porterhouse Steak?

While there are some who may rely on the local grocery store when it comes time to purchase a porterhouse steak, there are better options available. That does not mean that the diner has to strictly rely on restaurants, either.

The best choice when it comes time to purchase a porterhouse steak is going to be the local butcher shop, in most instances.

You can also shop online retailers like Snake River Farms, Porter Road, Crowd Cow, or FarmFoods.

Be sure to ask the butcher for a porterhouse. Otherwise, the customer could end up with a T-bone steak.

How To Zero In On The Best Porterhouse Steak

The best porterhouse is going to have a deep red coloration. The cut will be at least one inch thick, as well.

A 1 1/2 inch steak is actually an even better choice, as this guarantees that the porterhouse will not dry out when it is being cooked. Any thinner and we run the risk of having a dried-out steak that is discolored and thus not appetizing.

On the strip side of the steak, the marbling should be generous. If the fat is not white, this is a sign that a different steak should be chosen.

If you happen to reside in an area that does not have a readily accessible butcher shop, there are other choices available.

Whole Foods and other upscale grocery stores will often carry quality porterhouse steaks. Steakhouse chains are also on hand for rural shoppers who may not have access to an upscale grocery store or butcher shop. This is not a purchase to try and skimp on, either.

Regardless of where the porterhouse steak is being purchased from, you can expect to shell out for top-quality beef. Those who try to pinch pennies are going to taste the difference.

The steak should also be cooked within 48 hours of purchase for the best results. It’s not a piece of meat that should ever be making it to the inside of a freezer!

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