A decadent porterhouse steak that has a very nice southwestern flavor!
The light marinade for this porterhouse steak has a delicate smoked jalapeno flavor. No gourmand likes to see a fine steak ruined with a heavy strong marinade. A light marinade with a hint of flavor is best for a great steak.
For a classic steak like a porterhouse, it is not wise to marinate for too much time or to use too strong of a marinade. A porterhouse steak's flavor is so great, that there is no need for an over seasoned dry rub spice mix or an overly rich marinade. The porterhouse steak's flavor is the main attraction!
First of all, I should mention my own professional butcher qualifications. I was trained on the job by a top flight butcher from Milwaukee. I earned Le Cordon Bleu President's Achievement award honors in meat fabrication and the culinary instructor was an ace Executive Chef butcher from Chicago. I have over 20 years of professional meat cutting experience in restaurants. I own a copy of the NAMP Meat Buyer Guide. The NAMP Meat Buyers Guide is a reference book that is relatively expensive, but it is the ultimate book for meat product identification and quality standards. Every great chef, professional butcher, restaurant manager and great home cook owns this book! The NAMP Meat Buyers Guide is worth its weight in gold.
A porterhouse steak is similar to a T-Bone steak. Both steaks come from the same section of beef. Both steaks have a sirloin section on one side of the bone. The difference is the amount of tenderloin (filet mignon) that is attached to the other side of the bone.
The length of where the tenderloin attaches to the bone determines the width of how far the piece of tenderloin extends away from the bone. Most second tier chefs and butchers say that the filet mignon section on a porterhouse should be minimum of 1 1/4" where it attaches along the bone. That is what I call a very cheap quality porterhouse steak. A good T-Bone steak has that much tenderloin attached to the bone.
Many chefs and butchers say the minimum tenderloin length along the bone should be 2 1/2". That is not a bad minimum. My own minimum standard is 3" of tenderloin attached along the bone. The porterhouse steak in the pictures above has a piece of tenderloin that runs more than 6" along the bone! The tenderloin eye extends nearly 5" away from the bone. That is what is called a fantastic porterhouse steak! The strip sirloin side was very large and it was just cut at the start of the gristle streak end of the sirloin section. This is the most flavorful part of the sirloin strip section. Any farther into this section would require perforating the gristle streak, so it will become tender and to prevent shrinkage.
A piece of tenderloin that stretches nearly the length of the bone on a porterhouse is the very best for those who prefer filet mignon, but then the sirloin strip side of the porterhouse will not always be to the liking of those who prefer the richer flavor of sirloin strip. There is a middle ground that pleases both the tenderloin fans and the sirloin strip fans and those are usually the most sought after porterhouse steaks.
Most T-Bone steaks only have a minimal amount of tenderloin attached to the bone. The amount of tenderloin can be as small as a sliver on a T-Bone. Occasionally a steak that is labeled as a T-Bone qualifies as a porterhouse. Sometimes butcher sell porterhouse steaks at the lower T-Bone price to relieve an overstock situation. That is when a bargain on a porterhouse steak can be found!
There are three grades of beef. The grades of beef are mostly based on the standards of the percentage of fat marbling, age of the beef, physical condition of the beef and sex of the beef. The three beef grades are Prime, Choice and Select. Grocery stores and most restaurant beef is almost always choice grade beef. Choice grade beef is pretty good, but it is not the very best.
Occasionally select grade tenderloins from cows and older cattle are sold at a choice grade prices by dubious butchers and second rate restaurants. Select grade beef is considered to be institutional quality beef.
If the reputation of a restaurant or market is in doubt and the advertised prime grade of the beef is in question, then request to see the receipt for the beef delivery! By law a restaurant or market has to produce proof of prime grade beef purchase by law. That is part of the consumer protection act.
For a saturday night steak at a restaurant or family dinner at home, a choice grade porterhouse is a good choice and it is usually half the price of a prime grade porterhouse steak. For a fine dining experience, a special occasion or for just an unforgettably great steak, a prime grade porterhouse steak is the best choice. A prime grade porterhouse is not cheap, but it is the best quality steak that money can buy!
As far as the thickness of a porterhouse steak is concerned a 3/4" thick porterhouse is usually found at second rate restaurants and it does not always cook evenly. A 1" to 1 1/2" thick porterhouse is considered to be an individual size portion steak. That is a good size big portion for a saturday night steak! A 2" to 2 1/2" thick porterhouse steak is usually shared by two guests. A thick porterhouse like this is great for a dining couple on a special occasion like New Years Eve or Valentines Day.
A 2" to 2 1/2" thick porterhouse is sometimes incorrectly served as a Chateaubriand by overzealous steakhouse restaurants, but a porterhouse is in no way a chateaubriand. A chateaubriand is the entire filet mignon section of a beef tenderloin!
Porterhouse steak is considered by many people to be the undisputed king of steaks! Cook the steak to your preference, but do not overcook the steak. A singed steak that has black charred highlights is okay for some, but over-charred beef that is cooked at too high of a temperature has been proven to be carcinogenic. Some prefer light shades of brown and some prefer dark shades of brown on a cooked steak. Its a personal choice.
Roasted Cumin Cilantro Butter Recipe:
This recipe makes enough compound butter for 2 to 4 steaks! This recipe was made the old fashioned way. It can be made in a food processor.
Heat a dry saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 2 teaspoons of ground cumin.
Shake the pan constantly, till a strong aroma of cumin is released.
Transfer the roasted cumin powder onto a plate to stop the roasting process.
Finely chop about 15 fresh cilantro leaves.
Scrape the chopped cilantro into a small pile on the cutting board.
Place 2 ounces of chilled unsalted plugra butter on the cilantro. (Plugra is the richest butter of all!)
Quickly chop the butter and cilantro together, till it becomes well blended.
Scrape the cilantro butter off of the cutting board and place it in a small bowl.
Add the roasted cumin.
Add 2 pinches of sea salt.
Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
Whisk the ingredients together, till the butter turns creamy white in color.
Place the roasted cumin cilantro butter into a star tipped pastry bag.
Use the pastry bag to make a few butter pat swirls on a piece of parchment paper that is placed on a plate.
Chill the butter swirls in a refrigerator for 20 minutes, till the butter becomes solid and firm.
Chipotle Marinade Recipe:
Mix these ingredients together in a bowl:
- 1 tablespoon of chipotle pepper puree
- 1/2 cup of lager beer
- one tablespoon of blended olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
Pour the marinade over the steak about 15 minutes before cooking.
Note: 15 minutes is just enough time for the marinade to give a delicate essence of chipotle flavor and still not be overbearing. Marinating for too much time will cause an undesirable flavor and the texture of the steak will be affected.
Chipotle Marinated Porterhouse Steak with Roasted Cumin Cilantro Butter Recipe:
Grill Method: Grill the porterhouse steak over a medium hot char grill or cast iron grill.
Broiler Method: Place the porterhouse on a roasting rack on a broiler pan and broil the steak under high heat.
Cook the steak to whatever temperature or state of doneness that you may prefer. (Medium Rare is the most popular temperature for a porterhouse steak. A probe thermometer should read 130 to 140 degrees.)
Place the porterhouse steak on a plate.
Place the chilled swirl of roasted cumin cilantro butter on the steak while it is still hot.
Serve with a vegetable and potato of your choice. (I served the steak in the pictures with mashed chive potatoes and buttered brussel sprouts. I also placed buttered match stick julienne sliced rutabaga and carrots on the plate.)
Garnish the plate with cilantro sprigs.
The very mild chipotle marinade flavor adds to the porterhouse steak's great robust rich flavor. The roasted cumin cilantro butter is a classic butter for steak and it goes very well with the mild chipotle marinade flavor. This is an awesome way to serve a porterhouse steak! Delicious! ... Shawna