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Ask LGCM 10/1/12: Difference Between T-Bone and Porterhouse

Here at LGCM we’re the meat experts, and we love answering your questions. Every week we’ll answer a customer’s meat or LGCM related question on our blog and give a $5 Gift Certificate to the person who asked the question! If you have a question, submit it via Facebook, Twitter, email or comment on this article and we may choose to answer your question on the blog.  This week’s Ask LGCM question comes from Neil via Facebook. Neil asks:

“What’s the difference between a T-bone and a Porterhouse?”

This is a really common question, and we’re glad you asked, Neil! To answer this question, we are going to use some pictures. The T-Bone and Porterhouse are both cut from the Short Loin section of the animal. This is an area on an animal’s back where the muscle are used very little, and thus yield very tender steaks. Check out this picture to see where the Short Loin is, and how it includes part of the Tenderloin.


T-Bones and Porterhouses are both cut from the top portion of the Short Loin. The bone that you see in both steaks is actually a vertebra. If you look at the picture below, the upper left item is a full Short Loin primal cut. It is sitting “upside down” but you can imagine how the meat would look if it was sitting “right side up.” Both a T-Bone and Porterhouse feature two portions, a Tenderloin and a Strip Loin. The smaller portion is the Tenderloin, and the bigger portion a Strip Loin.  You can cut boneless Tenderloin Filets from the Tenderloin, and boneless New York Strip Steaks from the Strip Loin. You can see in the picture below a Strip Loin cut from the Short Loin (the middle picture on top) and a Tenderloin Filet (the right most picture on the top).

However, with T-Bone and Porterhouse steaks, you leave the vertegra bone in, and combine the Tenderloin Filet and New York Strip Steak to make one delicious steak.  A butcher will take the full short loin, and using a special band saw, cut through the bone to make steaks. On a beef, the Tenderloin Portion is larger towards the rear of the animal and smaller towards the front (you can see that on the picture above.) The steaks that are the closest to the rear of the animal, with the biggest Tenderloin, are Porterhouses, and more valuable. The steaks closer to the front of an animal have less Tenderloin, and are T-Bones. On the picture below, the steaks on the left of the middle row are Porterhouses (see the large Tenderloin), the steaks in the middle are T-Bones, and on the right a New York Strip (no Tenderloin). The bottom row shows how approximately how many Porterhouses and T-Bones you can get from a full Short Loin (depending on how thick you cut them!)


So, to sum up, T-Bones and Porterhouses are both tender, juicy, delicious steaks cut from the Short Loin of an animal. They both contain a New York Strip and a Tenderloin Filet, seperated by a vertebra bone. The Porterhouses are cut from further back on the animal and have a bigger Tenderloin portion than T-Bones. That’s the only difference! I hope this answers your question! If you have more questions, please comment below, email us, or post them on Facebook or Twitter!

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