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What Part of the Cow is T Bone? All You Need To Know

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what part of the cow is T-bone

Are you planning to grill a T-bone steak for dinner? Bravo—this is one of the best cuts you can choose for the grill. But what part of the cow is T bone? Let’s take a closer look at this cut to help determine what makes it taste so good. 

What Part of the Cow is T Bone?

The T-bone comes from the short loin subprimal. It consists of the New York strip and a piece of the tenderloin, which are separated from one another by a T-shaped bone. When the butcher cross-cuts the short loin instead of dividing the strip and the tenderloin, they wind up with a T-bone steak. 

About T-Bone 

You might think you already know what a T-bone steak is. After all, it’s the one with the T-shaped bone running through it. But that basic definition doesn’t tell you anything about the steak’s location on the cow. 

This steak is cut from the loin primal, which is located on the upper center portion of the steer. Specifically, it comes from the subprimal known as the short loin. 

Many of the most sought-after steaks come from the short loin. In addition to the T-bone, you’ll find the tenderloin, or filet mignon. This subprimal is also home to the New York strip steak. Incidentally, that brings us to the very steak we’re here to discuss. 

During butchering, the short loin is usually divided into two smaller subprimals. These are known as the beef short loin and the tenderloin. A long bone divides these two segments. 

If you were to cut on either side of the bone, you would get boneless versions of the New York strip steak and the tenderloin. But if you keep the short loin and tenderloin together and cross-cut them, you’ll get T-bone steaks. 

T-Bone Sliced on Chopping Board

As you can tell, when you grill a T-bone, you’re getting two steaks in one. The strip side will have more beef flavor, while the tenderloin side is melt-in-your-mouth tender. 

The nice thing about a T-bone is that the bone creates a clear distinction between the two portions. In addition, it makes the meat more flavorful and juicy. That’s why this is such an excellent choice for grilling. 

Are T-Bone and Porterhouse the Same Cut? 

In a sense, yes, but there is a slight difference. 

Both of these steaks come from the cross section of the short loin. That means they both consist of the New York strip steak and a portion of the tenderloin, with a T-shaped bone in the center. 

However, the porterhouse is cut from the anterior of the short loin primal. In this section, the tenderloin and strip are both larger than they are in the posterior. As a result, a porterhouse steak ends up with a sizable portion of tenderloin attached. 

The T-bone, meanwhile, comes from the middle to the rear of the primal. In that area, the tenderloin is narrower. So the primary difference between the two steaks is the fact that a porterhouse has a full-sized filet attached, while the T-bone has just a few bites. 

You might also be interested to learn that a single cow can produce just 2 to 3 porterhouse steaks and 6 or 7 T-bones. That’s another reason why you’ll probably pay more for a porterhouse. 

Where to Buy T-Bone Steak 

T-bone steak might fetch a hefty price in restaurants, but you can save money by grilling your own. 

The first place to look would be your neighborhood butcher counter. If you haven’t yet found one that suits your needs, expand your search to include nearby grocery stores. The steaks will probably be cheaper there, but you’ll have to keep an eye out for quality. 

Don’t buy T-bones that are labeled as “thin cut.” These steaks are best when they’re cut at least 1-½ to 2 inches thick. That’s another reason why it’s best to have a good relationship with your butcher—they can cut the steaks to order for you. 

Once you’ve brought the steaks home, don’t leave them in their store packaging for longer than a day or two. Wrap them individually in butcher paper or plastic wrap instead. If you’re not cooking the steaks within 3 to 5 days, put them in the freezer after wrapping. 

what part of the cow is T-bone

What’s The Best Way to Grill a T-Bone Steak? 

When you’re dealing with a premium steak like this one, you want to make sure to get it right. 

Grilling is the ideal cooking method for a T-bone. The steak is marbled with a generous measure of fat, which helps to keep the meat moist. In addition to imbuing the steak with plenty of flavor, the bone makes a great handle for flipping the steak without puncturing it. 

Because the steak has tons of eye appeal, it’s a superb choice if you’re entertaining. It might be a little bit larger than the steaks you generally serve, but for true meat lovers, that shouldn’t be a problem. 

It’s essential not to overcook the tenderloin side, as these steaks are at their best when served rare to medium-rare. Since the tenderloin will cook faster than the strip, this requires a bit of extra care and attention. 

Use a blend of direct and indirect heat to cook the T-bone. This is good advice whenever you’re cooking a thick steak, as it allows the interior to cook to perfection without charring the outside. 

Build a medium-hot fire on just one side of a charcoal grill. If you’re using a gas-powered unit, light the burners on one side of the grill while leaving the others off. 

Pat the T-bone dry using paper towels, then season as desired. A simple blend of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper is preferable. If you’d like, you can add a little bit of garlic powder, or substitute Lawry’s Seasoned Salt for the kosher salt. 

When the grill is hot, clean the cooking grates, then coat them with a thin layer of neutral oil. Take care not to let the oil drip down onto the flames, as this will cause flare-ups. 

Place the steak on the direct heat section of the grill so that the filet portion is facing toward the cooler side. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how well you’d like the steak cooked. We recommend medium-rare, or an internal temp of 130-135 degrees. 

Flip the steak over and let it cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Then move it to the indirect heat side and let it continue to cook until it reaches your desired internal temperature, about 5 to 15 minutes more. 

Let the T-bone rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

Can You Cook a T-Bone on the Stovetop? 

what part of the cow is T-bone

If the weather or other circumstances won’t allow you to fire up the grill, you can cook the T-bone indoors. Since you’ll still need to use the direct-to-indirect heat method, though, we would recommend transferring the steak to the oven partway through cooking. 

Heat a cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke. Then sear the prepared steak for a few minutes per side. In this case, it might be a good idea to coat the steak itself with a thin layer of oil first. 

Once the steak is seared on both sides, transfer the pan to a 425-degree oven. Let it cook until it reaches your desired internal temperature. This should take 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the steak. Don’t forget to let the meat rest.

What part of the cow is T Bone and why does it taste so incredible? Perfect for barbecue party planners and those seeking new grilling ideas, this guide dives into t-bone steak, one of the best steak cuts for grilling. Whether you're fine-tuning your grilled steak recipe or learning how to cook steak for the first time, we've got all the info you need for that perfect steak. Let’s explore together and make your next meal unforgettable. Save this pin for the perfectly grilled t-bone steak!

The Bottom Line 

When you want to grill a great steak, a T-bone is a terrific option. In addition to its marvelous flavor, this cut offers plenty of eye appeal. Though it requires some finesse to avoid overcooking, the results are more than worth the extra effort. 

Best of luck, and happy grilling!

Darren Wayland Avatar

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