Steak cuts can be challenging to tell apart, as many of them have similar features that could leave you wondering if you’re choosing the one you intended. But that’s not the case with the T-bone, with its bone that’s literally shaped like the letter T. This cut is a steakhouse favorite, often used as the star of the plate with some yummy veggies or potatoes on the side.
If you’re interested in learning more about this popular cut and how to cook it at home, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you want to fire up the grill or take things slow in the oven, T-bone steak is one that you can perfect right in your kitchen.
What is T-Bone Steak
A T-bone steak gets its name from its T-shaped bone that runs through its center. The bone offers something interesting for this cut: it separates two different types of steak. On one side of the bone is a tenderloin, and on the other is a strip steak. That’s right — you’re getting two steaks in one when you buy a T-bone. The strip steak is full of flavor and beefy chew while the tenderloin has a more delicate taste and texture.
You might notice that a porterhouse steak looks very similar. That’s because the T-bone and porterhouse are technically the same cuts, except the porterhouse comes from the part of the short loin with a bigger tenderloin portion. Therefore, the porterhouse is larger than the T-bone.
What Cut of Beef is T-Bone
The T-bone steak comes from the short loin of a cow, sitting behind the ribs and in front of the sirloin sections. The T-bone is cut in a way that it has both tenderloin and strip steak surrounding its bone on either side. The tenderloin portion is the same part of the cow that the deliciously delectable filet mignon comes from.
5 Ways to Cook T-Bone Steak
T-bone steak can be a little more challenging to cook than other cuts because it includes two different types of steak. Follow along with our guides to cook T-bone to perfection, and continue reading below for some tips on measuring doneness.
As with most steaks, we recommend salting T-bone generously 45 minutes prior to cooking to create a dry brine that helps it crisp up on the outside.
Grilling T-Bone Steak
- While brining, heat up one side of the grill over high heat and another area with low heat. If necessary, brush the grill grates with oil to prevent sticking.
- Salt and pepper the steaks. Place them on the high-heat area of the grill, searing for 3-4 minutes. Use tongs to flip the steaks to the other side to sear for another 3-4 minutes.
- Move steaks to a low-heat area of the grill, cooking for another 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired doneness level. Temp the steak before removing it from heat. It should read about 125 degrees for medium-rare.
- Place steaks on a plate tented with foil to rest for 5-10 minutes
Pan-Seared T-Bone Steak
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with two tablespoons of butter.
- Salt and pepper the steak as desired.
- Place steak on skillet, searing for 2-3 minutes on each side. As you sear, spoon butter over the steak continuously to keep it moist.
- Turn the heat to low and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until desired doneness level is reached with a digital thermometer.
- Rest for 5-10 minutes.
Cooking T-Bone Steak in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Salt and pepper the steak to taste.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with two tablespoons butter.
- Sear the T-bone on each side for 1-2 minutes until golden-brown crust forms, spooning butter over the steak.
- Place the skillet in the oven, roasting for 5-10 minutes until desired internal temperature is reached.
- Rest T-bone steak on a foil-tented plate for 5-10 minutes.
Reverse Sear Method for T-Bone
- Preheat the oven to 250. Salt and pepper steaks as desired.
- Place steaks on a wire rack inside a shallow baking dish and add the dish to the oven on the middle rack.
- Cook for 20-40 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness. For medium-rare, remove from oven at 120-125 degrees.
- Meanwhile, preheat a cast-iron skillet with two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown, spooning the butter continuously over the top.
- Rest for 5-10 minutes on a plate tented with foil before serving.
T-Bone Sous Vide
- Salt and pepper the T-bone on all sides. Place in the sous vide bag with a sprig of thyme and three minced garlic cloves.
- Set the sous vide cooker to 130 degrees.
- Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on steak thickness. Check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer (it should read 130 for medium-rare).
- If you’d like to sear your steak, preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tbsp oil. Sear on each side for 1-2 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes on a foil-tented plate before serving.
Seasoning T-Bone Steak
Like most steak cuts, T-bone steak usually tastes its best with the classic salt and pepper seasoning. However, you can always add some pizzazz to your T-bone with a sprinkle of garlic powder, paprika, or steak seasoning in addition to or in place of salt or pepper. A dash of Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, or barbecue sauce right before cooking also adds bold flavor to T-bone.
Marinating T-Bone Steak
Add some flavor to your T-bone with a simple marinade that seeps deep into the meat to brighten up the taste. For a quick and easy marinade, mix ½ cup each of Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice with one cup of oil, 1 tsp ground mustard, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 2 tbsp brown sugar, and 2 tbsp soy sauce.
Place the steaks and marinade in a sealable gallon bag in the refrigerator for at least two hours — overnight for best results — before cooking.
Grilled T-Bone Steak
- 2 t-bone steaks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Salt T-bone steaks generously with salt. Allow steaks to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before grilling.
- Preheat one area of the grill to high heat and the other to low heat.
- Brush olive oil on steak and season with garlic and your desired amount of salt and pepper.
- Place steaks on the high-heat area of the grill for 3-4 minutes. Flip to the other side with tongs and sear for another 3-4 minutes.
- Move steaks to the low-heat area of the grill for another 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired level of doneness. Check the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer and pull the steaks at 120-125 degrees for medium-rare.
- Rest at room temperature on a foil-tented plate for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Let’s wrap up our guide to cooking T-bone with a few extra pointers that will have you making successful steak dishes again and again.
Cooking times for T-bone steak may vary based on the thickness of each tenderloin and strip portion. Here’s a range of times to expect for each cooking method:
- Grilling: 15-30 minutes
- Pan-Searing: 10-20 minutes
- Oven: 15-30 minutes
- Reverse Searing: 30-50 minutes
- Sous Vide: 1 ½-2 hours
The most accurate way to measure the doneness of your T-bone is with a digital meat thermometer. Some thermometers are heat-safe, so they can go right into the oven or grill with your steak. Others are designed only for use away from heat; you can use them to check the steak during the cooking process or after you’ve finished cooking it.
To measure T-bone properly, insert the thermometer’s probe into the thickest part of the steak, which is usually the tenderloin portion. For medium-rare, you’ll pull T-bone from the heat when you get a reading of 125-130 degrees. While the steak rests, it should rise to 130-135 degrees. Keep the steak in the heat for a little extra time for a higher doneness level.
How to Cook T-Bone Steak
T-bone steak includes both the tenderloin and strip steak, making for one delicious cut for steak enthusiasts who can’t make up their minds. The T-bone definitely has the best of both worlds: delicate and tender filet and bold, beefy steakhouse-style steak. Although a little challenging to cook because of the different cuts, it’s far from impossible to master in your home’s kitchen.
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