June 20 2012

Notes on the Porterhouse, the World's Most Social Steak

New York-Table Talk

A cut of prehistoric proportions

In the mythology of steak, no cut is more highly prized than the mighty porterhouse. It's the steak of cartoon dimensions: the steak of The Flintstones, as epic and unmistakable as a ten-gallon Stetson. At around forty-eight ounces, the porterhouse is a social undertaking. The Standard Grill recommends it for two, but it's potentially a steak for the adventurous threesome.

The cuts are marinated in oil, then doused with salt and pepper shortly before being placed on a relatively cool, 400-degree portion of the grill. "The secret is slow and slower," says the grill master, tenderly feeling an order for progress over the flame. "The softer it is, the rarer it is." It's a precision operation, one that can take 40 minutes to complete. Like a bomb being guided to a target, the call goes up: "Porterhouse two minutes out!" Has anyone undertaken to consume one of these beauties solo? "Er, no. I've never seen that," Grill Master advises. "The rib-eye, yes. Never the porterhouse."

The porterhouse at The Standard Grill