What Is the Difference Between New York Strip & a Porterhouse Steak?

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Juicy and charbroiled, New York strip and porterhouse steaks are two luxury cuts of beef that can make for a decadent special-occasion supper. These two prime cuts of beef are visually distinctive. A porterhouse has a T-shaped bone, while a New York strip is boneless or, on occasion, has a single bone along one side of the steak. The differences between these two steaks is greater than appearance though, and the individual characteristics of each steak affects the cooking method, overall taste and serving size.

Where They Come From

Both the porterhouse and the New York strip come from the loin of a cow -- on the upper part along the back, close to the rump. The lean, tender meat of the loin typically contains less flavor than other, fattier cuts.

Definitions and Names

New York Strip

A New York strip steak is available either deboned or bone-in. A tender cut, the steak is most often sold with a cap of fat on one side, which adds richness and flavor during cooking. New York strip steaks are also known as:

  • Strip steak
  • Top loin steak
  • Kansas City steak
  • New York sirloin steak
  • Contrefilet
  • Striploin steak
  • Shell steak
  • Manhattan steak
  • Hotel steak
  • Ambassador steak
  • Club sirloin steak

Porterhouse

A porterhouse is one of the largest steaks. It is, essentially, a T-bone steak cut to at least 1 1/2 inches thick.

Porterhouse steaks, like T-bone steaks, are easily identified by the T-shaped bone running through the steak. The bone separates two different cuts of beef, both from the loin area.

  • The larger piece is a top loin steak -- essentially a New York strip steak.
  • The smaller portion is a tenderloin, also known as a filet mignon steak.
  • The tenderloin portion of a porterhouse is less flavorful than a New York strip, but it has a much softer texture -- almost buttery.

Serving Size

Because of its size, a single porterhouse steak is usually enough for 2 or even 3 people. New York strip steaks are more commonly sold as single-serving steaks. However, the steak can sometimes be cut large enough for two people.

Marbling and Taste

Because both steaks come from the loin area, they are fairly lean. Because of their size, though, porterhouse steaks tend to have a deeper, richer flavor than New York strips. Both steaks are known for their tenderness.

Cooking Tips and Other Considerations

Both steaks take well to short cooking times over fast, dry heat. While both steaks can be pan-fried and then finished in the oven, the bone in a porterhouse steak will start jutting out during cooking, as the meat shrinks slightly. Because of this, it can be difficult to get a good crust on the meat. As a result, porterhouse steaks are better grilled than pan-fried or broiled.

Because of their size and depth of flavor, porterhouse steaks are best not marinated. While a good quality New York strip can be cooked plain, it is often marinated -- in a blend of dried or fresh spices and herbs, or with olive oil -- to increase its flavor.

Because they are both lean cuts, porterhouse and New York strip steaks are often cooked to rare or medium-rare degrees of doneness.

Cost Considerations

Because porterhouse steaks are large, special order steaks, they tend to be more costly than New York strip steaks.

Porterhouse steaks are most commonly served up in restaurants, because their size can be daunting for home cooks. However, specialty butchers will often be able to provide one by special order.

New York strip steaks are among the most widely available steaks, and can be found in most grocery stores, fresh or frozen. However, thicker-cut or higher-quality New York strip steaks are best ordered from a reputable butcher.

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