Food & Drink

Porterhouse vs. Ribeye: Which Is Best?

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 | 0 Comments
porterhouse vs. ribeye

Next time you’re browsing the menu at your local steakhouse, you may find yourself faced with a difficult decision: porterhouse vs. ribeye. Both steaks promise a tender, juicy experience that’s sure to satisfy your meaty cravings, but unless you’ve taken cooking classes in Napa, cooking classes in Ottawa, online cooking classes or other cooking classes near you, you may not understand the difference between porterhouse and ribeye.

What exactly is the difference between porterhouse vs. ribeye? Or even T-bone vs. porterhouse vs. ribeye? Sink your teeth into our handy guide to porterhouse vs. ribeye and learn more about these tender and delicious steak cuts!


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What Is a Porterhouse Steak? 

In order to understand the difference between porterhouse vs. ribeye, you have to first understand a porterhouse steak. Porterhouse steak is harvested from the loin or “short loin” of the cow. This region is located between the lower ribs and the sirloin, roughly in the middle of the cow's torso and near its spine. 

A whole porterhouse steak actually consists of two other famous cuts of meat, the tenderloin and strip steak, separated by a “T” shaped bone. Both of these meats are very tender because they don’t receive much exercise or bear a lot of the cow’s weight. However, the prized tenderloin portion is more delicate than the strip steak portion. 

a sliced porterhouse steak
via Canva

Porterhouse steak is a large cut of meat, often too much for even an avid steak-lover to eat in one sitting. Sometimes people will order a porterhouse steak at a steakhouse when they intend to share, making it a popular choice for anniversaries or special occasions. 

The most common cooking method for porterhouse steak is grilling. When cooking a porterhouse, you’ll want to quickly sear the outer edges at high heat and avoid drying out the inside. To bring out more juiciness and flavor, porterhouse steak is often topped with a pat of butter before serving. 

a porterhouse with butter on top
via Canva

What Is a Ribeye Steak? 

The short loin is the source of the porterhouse, vs. the ribeye steak (sometimes called rib steak), which comes from the ribcage of the cow. Cows have 13 pairs of ribs total, and a ribeye steak usually comes from between the cow’s sixth and 12th ribs. A whole rib steak consists of two muscles: the prime rib and ribeye. 

Prime rib and ribeye steak are often served as two different cuts of meat, but they are harvested from the same area. A prime rib will always have the rib bone attached, while ribeye is generally served boneless. Prime rib steak is often more expensive because leaving the bone in is believed to add flavor. 

prime rib roast with ribs being seasoned
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Ribeye steak is a muscle that was initially a part of the whole prime rib cut. Ribeye easily detaches from the rib bone, which remains with the prime rib. Ribeye steak gets its name from the small “eye” left over from where the rib once ran through the meat.

Ribeye steak is highly praised because it is richly marbled with fat and very tender. The rib muscles of the cow don’t experience nearly as much strain as other parts, resulting in a soft, juicy and buttery cut of meat. 

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Ribeye is typically cooked for a brief time on high heat to give it a good crust on the outside while leaving the inside moist and tender. This steak is best served medium-rare, but can be cooked to suit the diner’s preference. Ribeye steaks are a popular choice of meat for everything from birthdays and weddings to backyard barbecues. 

a ribeye steak
via Canva

Porterhouse vs. Ribeye: What’s the Difference?

Although both porterhouse and ribeye are very delicious cuts of steak, they do have some key differences. For one, ribeye comes from the ribs of the cow, while porterhouse comes from the short loin, further down the torso. Both porterhouse and ribeye come from low-exercise portions of the cow, so they are both quite tender and juicy. 

One of the major differences between porterhouse vs. ribeye is their size. You can expect to get at least 24 ounces of meat from a porterhouse, vs. a ribeye (which typically weighs around 10 ounces). A porterhouse steak can serve two people or more, while a ribeye is a more appropriate portion for a single serving. 

porterhouse vs. ribeye
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Ribeye has a thickness between 1¼ and 2 inches. Most ribeye steaks will cost between $12 and $22 per pound, depending on the type of beef, purchasing location and how it’s prepared. A porterhouse steak is at least 1 ½ inches thick but can be as thick as 3 inches. (The porterhouse shown below is 2.5 inches thick and 2.8 pounds raw.) The price of porterhouse vs. ribeye is comparable, but ribeye often costs slightly more, as it is more marbled and tender.

thick porterhouse
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There is also a difference between porterhouse steak vs. ribeye when it comes to their preferred cooking methods. Ribeye can easily be pan-fried, broiled, grilled or barbecued, although its high fat content can raise concerns about grease fires. A porterhouse, on the other hand, fares best when grilled. Because it has two distinct meat profiles and a center bone, it's hard to get an even char when pan-frying porterhouse compared to ribeye, which is more consistent. 

The key differences between porterhouse vs. ribeye are worth noting to help you determine which meat is better for your meal, but which meat is best overall? Both are luxurious, but ribeye is generally the more expensive, tender and fat-marbled option. Everyone has their own unique taste preferences, but if you’re debating between porterhouse vs. ribeye, you really can’t go wrong with a bone-in ribeye steak (like the two shown below). However, if you want a leaner, healthier steak, it’s better to choose a porterhouse vs. a ribeye, as ribeye contains more fat.

porterhouse vs. ribeye
via Canva

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T-Bone vs. Porterhouse vs. Ribeye

Now you may be asking, “What’s the difference between T-bone vs. porterhouse vs. ribeye? Or bone-in ribeye vs. porterhouse?” All three of these steaks are very rich and flavorful, but they offer slightly different meat-eating experiences. 

When it comes to porterhouse vs. T-bone, you'll find quite a few similarities. Both contain strip steak, tenderloin and a T-shaped bone (part of the cow’s lumbar vertebrae). However, there is generally less meat in a T-bone vs. a porterhouse. A larger portion of the tenderloin is cut or trimmed away from a T-bone steak (which can easily be seen in the T-bone pictured below), but remains on a porterhouse. While a porterhouse steak is best shared between two people, a T-bone steak could serve just one person. An average T-bone steak costs about $15 to $20, while a porterhouse will cost closer to $20.  

a sliced T-bone steak
via Canva

When it comes to T-bone vs. porterhouse vs. ribeye, it’s important to note that ribeye is a totally different cut of meat. Ribeye is sourced from the ribs, which are fattier than tenderloins or strip steaks. Comparing bone-in ribeye vs. porterhouse doesn’t make much sense, either; although they both contain bones, they are still derived from totally different parts of the cow. 

The large bone through a porterhouse does affect its cooking and flavor, causing it to cook slower. Unlike ribeye, there are two distinct portions of meat in both a T-bone and porterhouse: the tenderloin and the strip steak. Each of these meats has a unique texture and flavor profile. Unlike porterhouse and T-bone steak, the meat of ribeye steak only consists of one fatty, marbled muscle. 

raw ribeye steak
via Canva

Where to Buy Porterhouse and Ribeye

Although they are still considered high-end meats, ribeye and prime rib are common cuts, so you can pretty easily find them at your local grocery store. In fact, ribeye is so common that you’ll often find many sizes and varieties available at the supermarket. Of course, you can always visit a butcher’s shop to purchase this popular cut; any self-respecting butcher will know what a ribeye steak is. 

It’s much easier to find ribeye steak vs. porterhouse, which you won’t typically find at a standard supermarket. If your grocery store has a butcher’s counter, you may be able to ask them for this special cut. Otherwise, you’ll need to visit a legitimate butcher’s shop or order your porterhouse steak online. 

If you choose to visit a butcher’s shop, you may need to describe exactly what you’re expecting. Only some butchers will know how to cut a porterhouse steak, vs. ribeye steak, which is extremely common. On the other hand, the T-bone steak is a far more popular cut, very similar to the porterhouse. Both T-bone and porterhouse are uncommon outside of the United States, so have a ready description in mind if you are visiting a butcher shop in another country. 

butcher's case full of various meats
via Canva

With so many tasty and versatile cuts of beef out there, it can be hard to determine which meat is right for your next special occasion or family barbecue. Both of these steaks are tender, high-end cuts that make a delicious and filling meal (or two!), so we hope this guide will help you decide between porterhouse vs. ribeye. The best way to gain a deeper understanding of porterhouse vs. ribeye is to try both for yourself!

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