Monday, April 30, 2012

Beef buying basics: The T-bone

I haven’t done a beef buying basics post in a while and, since it happens to be one of my favorite subjects, I knew it was time. I decided I’d pick a specific cut and focus on it — what it is, how to cook it, anything else you should know. If you like this type of post, be sure to let me know and I’ll write more like it… featuring different cuts, of course.

Tonight, I feature the T-bone, a delicious cut that just happened to be on sale at my favorite local beef source this evening.

Here’s what a T-bone looks like, pre-grilling, seasoned with only coarse sea salt and coarse pepper. (See all that marbling? Yum!)



As you can see, the T-bone is actually made up of 2 separate cuts of beef. The longer, more narrow piece of meat is the strip steak (also known as New York strip, top loin, Kansas City steak or club streak), while the round piece is the tenderloin (also known as the filet or filet mignon).  Both of these cuts meet the government’s guidelines for lean, so when you purchase a T-bone, you’re actually getting 2 great lean steaks in 1!

Now, you might be thinking, That looks a lot like a Porterhouse. Well, you’re right! They do look similar, because they are. The Porterhouse is also made up of the strip steak and tenderloin. The only difference is the Porterhouse has a larger tenderloin. To be exact, according to beefitswhatsfordinner.com,  the tenderloin on a T-bone is no less than ½-inch in diameter, while the tenderloin on a Porterhouse is between ½-inch and 1 ¼-inch in diameter.

I like T-bones for several reasons:

1.)    They are lean, yet tender and flavorful.

2.)    Can’t decide between a tenderloin or a strip (2 of my favorite cuts)? You get the best of both worlds with a T-bone.

3.)    There are always leftovers. I can usually get about 3 meals off of a T-bone.

4.)    They are easy to prepare. They don’t need a special marinade or rub to be tender and delicious. In fact, I just seasoned these with salt and pepper and threw them on a hot grill for about 8 minutes per side and they were perfect.

5.)    While I love a good filet, I rarely cook them because it’s just not enough meat for the Mr.’s big appetite. But if I make T-bones, I get some buttery deliciousness from the small tenderloin while he gets a big steak.

Here’s what they looked like fresh off the grill:



Did you like this post? Would you like to hear more about other great cuts of beef?

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