Beef - T-bone and Porterhouse
T-bone and Porterhouse are steak cuts of beef. They consist of a T-shaped
bone with meat on each side. The larger side contains meat from the strip
loin, whereas the smaller side contains the tenderloin. T-bone steaks from
the rear end of the tenderloin contain a much larger section of the
tenderloin, and are called porterhouse steaks. In British usage, followed
in Commonwealth countries, only the strip loin side is called the
porterhouse, and the tenderloin side is called the fillet.
There is little agreement among experts on how large the tenderloin
must be to call a T-bone a porterhouse; some steaks with a large
tenderloin may be called a mere T-bone in some restaurants and
steakhouses. The US Department of Agriculture's Institutional Meat
Purchase Specifications states that the tenderloin must be at least
1.25 inches thick at its thickest to be classified a porterhouse.
Similarly, the USDA says that the tenderloin must be at least 1/2-inch
thick for the steak to be classified a T-bone.
Due to their large size and the fact that they contain meat from two of
the most prized cuts of beef (the short loin and the tenderloin), T-bone
steaks are generally considered one of the highest quality steaks, and
prices at steakhouses are accordingly high. Porterhouse steaks are even
more highly valued due to their larger tenderloin.
In the United States, the T-bone has the meat-cutting classification
NAMP 1174; the porterhouse is NAMP 1173.
The origin of the name 'porterhouse' is the subject of much conjecture
but very little knowledge; it has been claimed that the name derives from
a Massachusetts stockman, Zachariah B. Porter, or from a New York City
porter-house proprietor, Martin Morrison. The Oxford English Dictionary
suspends judgment, observing that the name is "freq. supposed to
derive its name from a well-known porterhouse in New York in the early
19th cent., although there is app. no contemporary evidence to support
this". Yet another theory is that the name arose from the Porter
House Hotel, situated in the city of Flowery Branch, Georgia, just
northeast of Atlanta, on, what was in the late 19th century, a new
railroad that connected New York City with New Orleans.
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