The Differences Between Porterhouse and Ribeye
There's nothing like grilling a great steak on a sunny Sunday afternoon to enjoy the game or the family get-together. When choosing the perfect cut to grill, many people confuse Porterhouse steaks and Ribeye steaks, but they are very different cuts of meat. While both are delicious cuts that you can prepare in many ways on the grill, there is a big difference between them. Let's look at the differences between Porterhouse and ribeye and what makes them excellent for grilling.
The best way to understand the difference between these two types of steaks is to compare their characteristics side by side. A Porterhouse steak has a large piece of tenderloin on one side and a small strip of tenderloin on the other side, while a ribeye steak has an eye or fossa (fatty deposit) running through it with no additional tenderloin present at all. Both steaks have similar cooking methods, but you should cook each cut differently for optimal results. Let's take a closer look at the differences between these two beautiful cuts of beef.
The Difference in Cut
Where Does a Porterhouse Come From?
A Porterhouse steak is made from a single bone-in cut of meat that combines both the flavorful strip or shell sirloin with tenderloin. It gets its name because it was initially served in porterhouses, which were bars in 19th century America.
Since it comes from a single cut of meat that combines two distinct parts, it's essential to discuss the Porterhouse in both the strip and tenderloin section.
The Strip Section
This piece features a portion of the large loin muscle that runs along the top of both backsides from ribs six through 12. The strip is a tough cut best when cooked with dry heat methods like grilling and broiling. It has a fair amount of marbling, but the intramuscular fat provides most of its flavor.
The Tenderloin Section
Cutting the strip section away from the tenderloin requires some skill, but it is possible to cut both thick and large steaks. Porterhouse steaks typically contain one substantial piece of tenderloin along with a smaller portion, although they can be made with just one long piece as well.
Good quality tenderloins have a refined plump look, and they are moist, fat, and extremely tender. Luckily for plating purposes, it also happens to be a very lean cut of meat that cooks quickly and doesn't shrink much when heated.
Where Does a Ribeye Come From?
The ribeye is a boneless cut just below the short ribs along the rib primal. It's a flavorful and tender cut of meat with plenty of marbling throughout the entire piece. Marbling refers to the small flecks of fat within the muscle, adding flavor and moisture during cooking.
In order to make a ribeye steak, the butcher has to cut through the back of the ribs and remove them to get at the tender rib primal. This process means that it is possible to make a boneless ribeye or bone-in ribeye by leaving the ribs attached.
The perfect ribeye is well marbled with an even fat distribution throughout the cut. This marbling produces tender and flavorful meat after it's cooked on a grill or in an oven, as long as you cook it evenly throughout.
The Difference in Cost
The Porterhouse steak gets its name because it used to be served in porterhouses, which were bars serving draft beer. Today, many people still consider Porterhouses a restaurant-quality cut of meat, which can be expensive.
It isn't uncommon for Porterhouses to cost $20 or more per portion, and many restaurants serve them with a side of at least two or three vegetables. Porterhouses are also often served with sauces, especially steakhouse staples like Béarnaise sauce, sometimes made with tarragon vinegar and shallots.
On the other hand, a ribeye is considered more of an every day cut that you can purchase for less than $10 in some grocery stores and supermarkets.
They are both very delicious cuts of meat, and they are often found on the menus at steakhouses, but Porterhouses are generally more expensive because of the sheer size of the tenderloin section.
The Difference in Taste
Both types of steak have a distinctive flavor, but Ribeyes have an entirely different mouthfeel than Porterhouses.
The strip side of a Porterhouse has a rich, beefy flavor that is hard to beat. On the other hand, the tenderloin section has very little fat, and it provides just a hint of richness in every bite. It's considered one of the best cuts for steak lovers who follow low-carb diets.
On the other hand, Ribeyes are often called "butter knives" because they cut through with such ease. The buttery flavor of the fat melts in your mouth, and it is also juicy and tender enough to enjoy without sauces or marinades.
How to Cook Them Properly
Both of these cuts can be prepared on an outdoor grill, but Porterhouse steaks are often cooked with the bone attached. That's because grilling bone-in meat helps to keep it moist and juicy.
Cooking Porterhouses is simple. Place them on a hot grill for about three minutes on each side to achieve medium-rare doneness, followed by another four minutes on each side to finish cooking.
The meat should be seared for about three minutes before moving it to the cooler section of the grill to prevent burning. It is generally recommended that you should enjoy porterhouse steaks with sauces, especially steakhouse favorites like red wine béarnaise sauce.
On the other hand, Ribeye steaks are typically cooked without sauce. They can be grilled in much the same way as Porterhouse steaks, with an initial searing time of about three minutes on each side. The only difference is that Ribeyes should be finished cooking via medium heat for another four or five minutes on each side to achieve medium doneness.
Many people prefer to cook Ribeye steaks in a pan or a grill pan on the stove instead of an outdoor barbecue because it doesn't create any smoke, and you can get a better sear on each side. The only downside is that you have to watch them more carefully, so they don't burn.
Which is Preferred?
The Porterhouse steak is the signature cut of the famous New York City porterhouses, but it isn't necessarily popular. That's because many people prefer to eat steaks with rich and flavorful fat like Ribeye or strip steaks instead of Porterhouse.
Ribeyes also benefit from the higher price tag of Porterhouse cuts, making them more attractive to a more significant number of people. Many grill enthusiasts enjoy cooking Ribeyes because they have a flavorful fat that melts in your mouth, and it's easy to cook them with just salt and pepper for seasoning. Both are delicious cuts of meat that many grill aficionados love to prepare on their outdoor grills.
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