Whenever one is feeling sick, usually some intense TV viewing is a part of the experience. So myself being sick today, thought it make for a good time to review a Good Eats episode I had on my DVR involving one of my favorite subject: steak. Alton has done shows on several different cuts of beef. This show he is focusing on one of the more expensive cuts - the Porterhouse. There is a lot to learn from this episode and I will share some of what I learned below:
The Porterhouse comes from the short loin of area of the cow and contains a piece of strip steak and tenderloin. But it all depends on how those muscles are cut up. Alton explained that the government has determined what is considered a porterhouse and what isn't. If the amount of tenderloin is less than ½ inch across than it is a bone-in strip steak. If you have at least ½ inch, then you have a T-bone. If you have 1 ¼ inches, now you got your porterhouse. The reason for the difference in size is that the tenderloin isn't the same size, it tapers at one end. So at one end you have the bone-in strip and at the other larger end you have the porterhouse. So you would think you would want the steak at the largest end, right? Well the problem with that is that there is a vein of connective tissue in the strip steak portion at that end. This would make that part of the steak hard to chew. So you are best off with finding something in the middle. So when shopping for a porterhouse, make sure you don't see a white line shaped like a "L". Or you could pick one that has a tenderloin piece closest to 1 ¼ inches.
Alton also spoke of the dry age process. Meat is made up of a good deal of water and if we can get rid of some of that water, the meat flavor will be stronger. He was able to dry age this steak in the fridge by using a disposable pie tin, some wood skewers, and a paper towel. We changed the paper towel after 24 hours, then let the steak sit in his fridge for 3 more days. This is a technique I would like to try out. In typical Alton style he cooked the steak using a cinder block, chimney starter, charcoal, metal mixing bowl and a grill grate. Of course you can grill, pan-sear, or broil your porterhouse any you want.
Lastly, Alton explains the reason for the name - porterhouse. The steak was first thought to be served at a place that served porter, a dark strong beef. Those places were called porterhouse, hence where the name came from.
Overall, this is one of the best episodes in a while. I learned how to shop for a good porterhouse. As well as how to dry age a steak. I would recommend looking this one up on YouTube or checking Food Network's website to see when it will air again.