How to Grill a T-bone or Porterhouse Steak

T-bone or porterhouse steak crusted with spices and ready to cook

You’ve just come from the butcher shop with the perfect two inch thick steak that’s going to make you the hero of tonight’s dinner. You definitely don’t want to mess this up, you want it to be the best grilled steak ever, so you hit up the google for advice. You search “How to grill a T-bone steak” or “How to grill a Porterhouse steak” you may even be curious what the difference is. After all, they both come from the short loin.

Well you’ve come to the right place, taking a few minutes to read this blog will have even the novice griller turning out steaks like a professional. Your days of dropping obscene amounts of money at a fancy steakhouse are over, I promise. It’s important to reference the links in this blog that will help you when cooking these premium cuts of meat and become a better griller in general.

Below I’ll outline a very simple step by step process for grilling these steaks and dispel a few myths along the way. In the world of outdoor cooking there are no shortages of opinions about the best way to grill a steak, but you may be surprised at how wrong some commonly accepted “rules” are.

Key Points

When grilling these, or any thick cut of meat, use the reverse sear process described here and here. Searing first to “lock in the juices” is a myth. I have no idea how that rumor started but it’s nonsense for thick cuts of meat.

You don’t have to use a charcoal grill to grill a great steak, that’s also a myth. You can use either a gas grill or a charcoal grill to cook steaks, (you can even use an oven and cast iron pan if you don’t have a grill). Just set either grill up with a direct high heat side and an indirect low heat side of the grill. Ask yourself, how many high end steakhouses use charcoal?

Grill marks from hot grill grates are sexy, but those grill marks are where the flavor comes from. This is as a result of the Maillard reaction and we want that flavor all over the steak, not just in strips.

Have you heard the neighborhood grilling expert claim that when you’re grilling a steak you should “only flip it once” as it cooks? Yeah, also a myth. In fact, flip it and rotate it often when searing, this is how you build that incredible crust that is the perfect complement to the juices inside of the steak.

Resting the steak is essential. Resting is simply leaving the steak alone for a period of time to allow the juices to reincorporate back into the meat. I’ve cut into a steak rested for various lengths of time and find that with a thick cut T-bone or Porterhouse that resting for about 5 minutes is plenty of time.

T-Bone steak sliced and ready for serving

How to Grill a T-bone or Porterhouse Steak | Step by Step directions

  1. Bring Steak to Temperature

    Take your steak out of the refrigerator and allow it to come up closer to room temperature for about an hour.

  2. Prepare Steak

    Rub a light coat of olive oil all over your steak and season it generously with kosher salt. Plenty of people recommend using salt and pepper but I find that pepper gets bitter when exposed to high direct heat so if you like pepper, always pepper your steak after it’s off the grill.

  3. Set Up Two-Zone Grilling

    Light your grill on one side and set it up for two zone cooking. Establish a temperature on the indirect side of the grill at 225 degrees F. For charcoal just pile coals on one side of the grill, for gas only light one side of the burners.

  4. Proper Steak Placement

    Placement of the T-bone or porterhouse is crucial. Both cuts are made up of a strip steak on one side of the bone and a filet on the other. Because the strip contains more fat than the filet, it will cook slower. When you place the steak on the indirect side of the grill, be sure to keep the filet side furthest from the heat or it will dry out. porterhouse steak on a black platter
    Notice the marbling in the strip is much greater than that of the lean filet.

  5. Grill Steak

    Using a dependable leave in meat thermometer (like the Thermoworks Signals or the ThermoWorks Smoke X4 RF), allow your steak to cook to an internal temperature of between 123 and 125 degrees F. for a perfect medium rare finished steak.

  6. Raise Grill Temperature

    Remove your steak from the grill while you crank the heat on a gas grill or stoke the coals of a charcoal grill. The idea is to sear this steak over the hottest surface possible.

  7. Sear Steak

    Place steak directly over the hottest portion of your grill. Flipping and rotating about every 30 to 45 seconds.

  8. Turn Steak as You Sear

    Searing the steak for a total of about three minutes per side will generally produce a nice crust over the steaks surface and bring the internal temperature of the steak to about 127 -130 degrees F. Perfect for medium rare.

  9. Let Steak Rest

    Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest 5-7 minutes before slicing into it.

T-bone or porterhouse steak crusted with spices and ready to cook

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