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How to Grill a Porterhouse Steak with Cowboy Steak Rub

If you happen to have the king of all steaks at hand, you may be wondering how to grill a porterhouse steak. These easy instructions and a delicious cowboy steak rub, you’ll certainly have a feast worthy of a king! Sponsored by Harris Ranch Beef Company.

Overhead Shot of a Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com

Growing up in Texas, I definitely got exposed to a lot of good steak and barbecue. But I have to say, that I really started appreciating steak here in California, when I wanted to recreate those steakhouse meals at home.

What my husband and I kept screwing up on was the first step: buying quality meat to grill. We bought whatever was on sale, didn’t grill the meats right and were always disappointed with the charred piece of rubber sitting on our plate.

Over the years, we have really upped our grilling game. And today I am going to share with you a very special cut of meat and show how to grill a porterhouse steak.

Closeup of a Grilled Porterhouse Steak Cut into Slices with Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com

What is a porterhouse steak?

At first glance, a porterhouse steak looks like a giant t-bone steak. And why not? Both steaks include that T-shaped bone with meat on either side of it. Both cuts of steak are cut from the short loin.

But porterhouse steaks are cut from the rear end of the short loin and the t-bone is cut closer to the front. What does this mean to you? The porterhouse steak is not just larger than a t-bone, it also has two pieces of steak on either side of the bone: the longer side being a New York strip and the smaller side holding a filet.

The porterhouse steak holds a larger piece of tender filet than a t-bone, making it the king of all steaks. And what better steak to grill to celebrate Father’s Day than the porterhouse steak?

Porterhouse Steak on a cutting board by FamilySpice.com

Choosing the best porterhouse steak

Before we go into how to grill a porterhouse steak, you need to choose the best porterhouse steak. This isn’t a cut of steak you normally find at the grocery store. In some cases, you have to request it from the butcher or buy it at a specialty meat shop.

I have had the privilege to work with Harris Ranch Beef, a California beef company that has worked tirelessly for the past 50 years to bring the highest quality of beef to the world. They are the only rancher that controls the entire beef production process, from the ranchers who raise the cattle to the custom made feed at the feed lot as well as the near zero emission trucks that transport the cattle to their company owned feeding lot and processing plant.

Harris Ranch Near Zero Emission Trucks by FamilySpice.com

Because Harris Ranch has this, they are able to develop some of the best tasting beef I have ever tasted, from their ground beef to their filets and porterhouse steaks. The cattle used to produce Harris Ranch beef spend approximately 80% of the time grazing on western ranches.

When the cows come to the feeding lots after 18-24 months of grazing on grass, they are fed custom made feed. Harris Ranch mills all of their own feeds under the guidance of a consulting animal nutritionist. Probiotics and vitamins are added too keep the cattle healthy. 

I toured Harris Ranch’s feeding lot and was really impressed to see how well the animals are treated and how much attention is made to keep them healthy and stress free. Their livestock facilities were designed by Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned expert in animal welfare. She also assisted in training the staff on proper livestock handling techniques.

Smashed corn for Harris Ranch cattle feed by FamilySpice.com

So when you are choosing a fine quality steak, like a porterhouse, you know you are getting a truly exceptional meat if you are purchasing a Harris Ranch porterhouse. Look for fine marbling within the meat itself. This is the fat that will melt and give your steak great flavor and juiciness.

You also want the meat to be pink or light apple red. You don’t want a dark color because that will mean a bland and tough steak. The fat around your porterhouse should not have any yellow tinge to it, which is a sign of old, dry meat.

A Tray with a Pair of Porterhouse Steaks and Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com

Steak rub or marinade?

So now that you have the king of steaks, what preparations does your porterhouse steak need? When, it comes to steak, generally speaking, if you have a high quality cut of meat, you do not need to marinate it. Marinating not only adds flavor to your meat, but it also tenderizes it.

The porterhouse steak contains two high quality cuts of meat, the filet and the NY strip. It does not need any tenderizing, just additional flavor to really highlight a fabulous steak. You can keep it simple with just a seasoning of salt of pepper.

Spices for Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com

But if you want some more flavor that will compliment your porterhouse steak and not overwhelm it, then we are talking about a good steak rub. A steak rub is generally a mix of spices that you coat your meat with. It is a dry rub.

For barbecues, the dry rub contains some brown sugar. But for steak, I omit the sugar. I use a combination of my favorite spice flavors like paprika, chile powder, onion powder and garlic. I also add a touch of ground coffee.

Why add coffee to a steak rub? It actually caramelizes when the meat cooks, creating a flavorful crust that seals in the moisture. Just another level of flavor to make your porterhouse steak extra special. And the beauty of the dry rub is that you can apply it to your meat right before you slap it on the grill!

Cowboy Spice Rub in a bottle by FamilySpice.com

How to grill a porterhouse steak

My favorite way to server a porterhouse steak is over the grill. There really is something special about that fire char and the smoky flavor that comes from grilling. If you are going to grill your porterhouse steak, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Always work with a clean grate. We make it a habit to clean the grate before and after we use the grill. A quick rub down removes the old bits of charred whatever-you-grilled-last-time and that old char doesn’t go onto your beautiful portherhouse steak.

Always oil your grate before adding the meat. You don’t want your steak to stick to the grill, so it needs a light coating of oil. I like to use avocado oil when I grill because it has such a high smoking point. You can also cut off a chunk of fat from your steak and rub that on your grill grate.

Create two zones of heat on your grill. When grilling your porterhouse steak, you initially want high heat to create the crust on the outside that seals in the moisture. Once the char is complete for both sides, you can finish the cooking process in a medium heat zone, so your steak won’t burn.

Add some smoke! Because you are grilling, you want that extra smoky flavor to permeate into your steak. So be sure to add some hardwood lump coal or wood smoking chips to the mix.

Check for doneness. I don’t like poking my steak with a meat thermometer to check for doneness because it is a thinner cut of meat than a roast. So we gently prod the steak and if the meat feels springy, you are close to medium rare. If it still feels loose, then you keep the steak on the grill for a few more minutes until done.

You want the steak to have the same consistency of that part of flesh in your hand that is between your thumb and your forefinger.

Let your meat rest. The hardest part of grilling a porterhouse steak is to let it rest before you start slicing it up. Remember, this only needs to take 3-5 minutes for the juices to settle in nicely within your steak. So while your steak rests, gather up the rest of your meal and call in the troops!

How to Grill a Porterhouse Steak with Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com

Can I cook a porterhouse steak on the stove?

If you don’t have a grill or if weather is keeping you from grilling, you can also prepare your porterhouse steak indoors. When I’m making just one steak, I like to cook it on the stove using a cast iron pan. Just like you would grill, I like to sear it first on high heat then lower the temperature to medium to finish cooking.

Porterhouse steak coated with Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com

How to serve your porterhouse steak

Depending on how thick your porterhouse steak is, it can weigh about 10 to 24 ounces. This is a great steak to share with a friend or loved one, or to fill up a big guy who has a big appetite! Just like any other steaks, I like to serve up my favorite vegetables with a porterhouse steak.

Because there are two steaks in one porterhouse, we like to first remove the filet and NY strip completely and then slice it up. For sides, I like to add a green like asparagus, green beans or broccoli along with a starch like potatoes, rice or a roll.

Overhead Shot of a Grilled Porterhouse Steak Cut into Slices with Cowboy Steak Rub by FamilySpice.com
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Cowboy Steak Rub

This cowboy steak rub is super simple to make and also makes an easy Father’s Day present or hostess gift. I found these cute mini mason bottle jars and created a free steak rub label printable for you to download (I used these avery labels). I don’t know about you, but I love homemade gifts – especially when they are edible!

Cowboy Spice Rub in a bottle with a free printable label by FamilySpice.com

Final thoughts on how to grill a porterhouse steak

And if this post didn’t answer all of your questions on how to grill a porterhouse steak, then Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant’s Executive Chef Reagan shows you in this great video. I had the opportunity to visit him and we had a great time talking beef and grilling up this king of steaks!

If you love this recipe, try my Smoked Prime Rib Roast with Herb Garlic Crust – another fabulous meal and partnership with Harris Ranch Beef.

Yield: serves 2

Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Cowboy Steak Rub

Grilled Porterhouse Steak with Cowboy Steak Rub

If you happen to have the king of all steaks at hand, you may be wondering how to grill a porterhouse steak. These easy instructions and a delicious cowboy steak rub, you'll certainly have a feast worthy of a king!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 3 TBS ground coffee
  • 3 TBS chile powder
  • 2 TBS onion powder
  • 2 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 TBS ground coriander
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 TBS dried thyme
  • 2 porterhouse steaks

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir or whisk to mix. 
  2. Transfer to a large jar, cover, and store away from heat and light. The rub will keep for several weeks.
  3. Remove steaks from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to allow the steaks to come to room temperature.
  4. Coat both steaks with rub, approximately 1-2 tablespoons of rub for each steak.
  5. To prevent flare-ups, trim off excess fat, but do leave a 1/2-inch of fat around your steak.
  6. Preheat your grill to high. If using coals, create two zones of heat.
  7. Clean grate and rub down with oil.
  8. Place porterhouse steaks over high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes. To create crossed grill marks, rotate meat 90 degrees after 3-5 minutes and grill for 3-5 additional minutes.
  9. Flip steak over and repeat step 8.
  10. For rare, cook for approximately 6-8 minutes for each side. For medium rare 10 minutes per side. If you have thick steaks, transfer to medium heat to continue cooking and keep steaks from burning.
  11. Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

half a porterhouse steak

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 587 Total Fat: 39g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 2g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 175mg Sodium: 1008mg Carbohydrates: 1g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 0g Protein: 54g
Disclosure: I did receive a stipend from Harris Ranch Beef Company to develop a recipe using their porterhouse steak. The story I have written is all true, and the opinions are truly mine. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t blog about it.