Everything You Should Know About T-Bone Steak

Perhaps one of the most recognizable beef cuts, any resident of Sesame Street could cheerfully explain where T-bone steaks get their name. According to Food Network, that eponymous bone in a T-bone steak joins two other cuts of meat: a tenderloin and a New York strip. The New York strip is taken from the longissimus dorsi muscle, while the tenderloin is from the psoas major (via Smoked BBQ Source). 

The area the tenderloin is cut from does not get much exercise, making it a tender cut of beef, but according to the Food Network, it does not have much marbling to give it flavor (via The Spruce Eats). (Marbling refers to those delicious rivers of white fat that give other steaks so much irresistible moisture and flavor.) When the tenderloin is left on the T-bone, though, magic happens. The divine fat from the NY strip side of the steak melts, flavoring the tenderloin and creating one irresistible piece of meat.

So, what else should you know about this delectable selection of beef? Keep scrolling to learn more!

Should you order a T-bone or a porterhouse?

If you have ever ordered a porterhouse steak and got what you thought looks like a T-bone steak, there's a reason. Both porterhouse steaks and T-bones are cut from the short loin. T-bones are cut closer to the front, containing a smaller section of tenderloin, while porterhouses are cut closer to the back and include more of the tenderloin (via Beef 2 Live). 

Just how much more? According to Smoked BBQ Source, the porterhouse is so large, it is often advertised as a steak that feeds two diners. The tenderloin on a porterhouse has to be at least 1.25 inches at its widest, according to the USDA, while a T-bone only has to be half an inch (via Beef 2 Live). If the tenderloin section is smaller than half an inch, it is sold as a bone-in strip steak, according to the Barbecue Bible, which makes all porterhouses T-bones, but not all T-bones porterhouses.

Buying and cooking two steaks in one

The idea of getting two steaks combined into one sounds like a dream come true, but cooking said meat does come with its own unique challenge. According to Professional Secrets, since the T-bone combines two different cuts of steak, each side will react differently to the grill. This means you might have to put a little extra thought into how you cook your steak. First, the outlet recommends finding a T-bone with as much marbling as possible on the sirloin side to give the steak a more "beefy" flavor.

Since the sirloin size is larger and surrounded by a layer of fat that serves as insulation, it will likely cook slower. One way to combat the difference in cook times is to find a T-bone that also has a large and thick tenderloin. This will help the two sides cook more evenly. Another option to get both sides just right is to angle the steak as it cooks so the tenderloin is further away from the hottest part of the grill (via Professional Secrets). This technique should slow down the cooking of the smaller tenderloin, but keep the sirloin side firmly on the path to perfection.

Serving up a T-bone with style

If you are preparing a T-bone at home, you may want your presentation to live up to the delectable dining experience. Kansas City Steaks has a few tips to keep in mind when serving steak. One might be hard to do if you're hungry, but they suggest letting your steak sit for five minutes after it cooks so it can reabsorb some of the juices. Another one of their recommendations is to use a sharp knife to cut along the bone, separating the meat from the bone. 

If you are a "90 Day Fiancé" fan, you may recall the tumultuous scene where Darcey shows Jesse how to cut steak, saying, "You gotta cut it on a bias, Babe." To cut your steak on a bias (and possibly avoid a lover's spat), hold your knife blade at a 45°angle. Kansas City Steaks recommends cutting the meat across the grain, and making sure your slices are not thicker than a quarter-inch. We can't guarantee this will help you avoid a reality TV worthy squabble, but hopefully everyone's mouth will be so full of tender steak that arguing will be an impossibility!