Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Perfect Porterhouse Steak

This Friday night we had a fun date night IN. Instead of going out for a fancy dinner and a show, we decided to stay in for a fancy dinner and show. I got a big, beautiful Porterhouse steak at the supermarket and decided that THAT would be the perfect dish for a date night. It is perfect for a date night because it is way too big in size and thickness for one serving alone, so it is a great one to share. It is also great for a date night because it happens to inherently include 2 distinct steaks already, so it is a perfect dinner for two! The Porterhouse has a T-shaped bone which divides the 2 distinct steaks: the larger top loin (or NY strip steak), and the smaller tenderloin (or filet mignon). Though the Porterhouse cut does have the T-shaped bone, it is NOT the same as a T-bone steak. However, they are similar in that they are both cut from the same place (the short loin), but the Porterhouse is cut thicker and is cut from an end of the short loin which allows it to include a larger portion of the tenderloin (or filet mignon) than the T-bone. Thus, we get TWO great steaks for less than the cost of ordering one if we went out to a fancy steak house! If you look at one of the pictures in this post, can you identify the larger top loin (NY strip streak) and the smaller tenderloin (filet mignon)?

Cooking the Porterhouse is really easy... there's no real recipe or ingredient list to follow. Instead, cooking a great steak is all about how you do it rather than what goes into it. I like to to do a 'sear-and-bake' method, however, I think BBQ-ing is another great way to go. But because the BBQ is Peter's forte and definitely not mine, I stick to my comfort zone; the kitchen. 

Tips and Techniques:

I think it makes a big difference to have your meat at about room temperature before you start. I will explain this theory shortly.

The first thing you are going to do is season it very lightly with Lawry's seasoning salt or Montreal steak seasoning. I don't like to use too much seasoning; I think too much can take away from the delicious tender meat flavor that you are paying for in a nice cut of meat. Just use your hands and rub a little of your seasoning into each side of your steak. 

After you have rubbed in your seasoning of choice, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and melt a tablespoon of butter in an oven safe saute pan over medium heat.  It should be hot enough so that the steak will hiss and sizzle a bit when it first goes in (you can test this by running your hand under the kitchen faucet and flicking a little water from your fingertips, this will make the pan sizzle if it is ready). When the butter is melted and hot, lay the steak on one side and leave it there for a good minute or so. 

Disclaimer: the following theories are based on a collection of things I've heard, so it could be totally bogus, but I think it is logical and, based on my experiences, it seems to work! I swear by these techniques when I cook steak in my own kitchen. So, I recommend you give it a try as well:

Don't flip it back and forth, because you want to create a nice sear to lock in all the juices and let it start to cook into the inside of the steak just a little. If you keep flipping it back and forth, you will only get a grey-brown outside instead of a nice crusty golden brown sear. Also, the heat wont get to travel beyond the outside if you keep flipping it; Let it sear on each side and leave it there so that it can start the process of cooking into the steak. This is also why you want it at room temperature. If the steak is cold, it awill slow down the heat, and you will have to cook it longer which will make the meat less tender and more rubbery.

Once it gets a light and crusty brown sear to the underside of your steak, flip it and let the other side get a nice brown coat. 

When the second side has seared and browned, pop the whole pan into a preheated 350 degree F oven. 

I recommend 8-10 minutes in the oven for a medium doneness. This yields a steak that is golden brown with a light pink middle. However, if you are one who prefers your steak on the less-done side, you might want to try 5-8 minutes. If you prefer your steak well done, try 10-14 minutes in the oven. 
I like my steak just medium, because I think it is most tender, juicy, and meaty this way, without any raw hot pink or bright red meat and juices. So, this one I cooked just to medium, or about 8 minutes: 

I also served mine with lightly steamed, seasoned green beans
and... cauliflower mashed 'potatoes'. (cauliflower recipe post to follow).

And for our night-in, instead of going out for a show,(okay, so technically we went 'out') we enjoyed this show from a view point in our area that is literally called 'Top of the World'. For about 20 minutes we watched the ocean and sky change brilliant colors as the sun set behind Catalina Island on the horizon.

1 comment:

  1. I consider myself a strict carnivore but never have I actually gnawed on the bones before to get every little bite.