Porterhouse Vs Tomahawk – Key Difference And Similarities

The porterhouse steak is a flavorful cut of meat from the rear or the short loin of a cow where the tenderloin is thickest. It contains two different cuts of beef, a tenderloin, and a strip loin.

The tomahawk steak, on the other hand, is cut from the rib section just like the ribeye. But what denotes this particular cut of steak is a 3 inches long rib bone attached to it.

Both types of steaks are exceptionally flavourful and tender cuts of steak. However, there are key differences between these two cuts.

In this article, I will discuss porterhouse steak vs tomahawk steak, how they differ, their similarities, and which is better.

What is porterhouse steak?

The porterhouse steak is a 1.25 inches thick steak with one half containing New York strip steak and the other tenderloin. A t-shaped bone separates these two cuts, but the bone can also be trimmed or cut out.

It has a deep red color and a large presence of marbling fat that forms a ribbon around its circumference. This steak is available in whole, with bone, boneless, and sliced portions.

The name “porterhouse steak” originated from Manhattan’s Pearl Street in the early 1800s. This was a popular steak house owned by Martin Morrison that started serving a t-bone-shaped steak.

Oxford English Dictionary claims “porterhouse steak” comes from the proprietor Martin Morrison. Although others claim to have named this steak, there is no sufficient proof.

What is tomahawk steak?

Tomahawk steak is ribeye steak with the rib bone still intact. The bone is French-trimmed so that it looks like a handle. The entire steak is shaped like a tomahawk ax, giving it its name.

A tomahawk steak weighs between 30 – 45 pounds with a large amount of visible fat on it. This unique cut of steak is so flavorful that it requires only little amount of spices to cook it.

The name tomahawk dates back to the days of the Rio Grande cattle drive. A Texas cowboy was known for specifically using Mexican spices for seasoning a beautiful cut of steak.

This cut of steak is shaped like a hatchet or a native American tomahawk ax. It was called various names, however, tomahawk steak stuck and it is known by that name.

Porterhouse vs tomahawk steak – Similarities

1. Taste and texture

The first and obvious similarity between the porterhouse steak and the tomahawk steak is their taste and texture.

These two steaks have rich marbling which gives them a rich, tangy taste that is often described as “melt in your mouth.”

2. Both are from similar regions

Both steaks are from the rib region of a cow. Just behind the rib section of a cow is the loin, a part of the loin called filet is one of the halves of the porterhouse steak.

3. Price

Both cuts have a similar price range according to the US Department of Agriculture. A USDA prime porterhouse steak costs $2 per ounce and a tomahawk steak costs $1.9 per ounce.

Porterhouse steak vs tomahawk steak – What is the difference?

These two cuts of steaks have large bones in them which adds to their taste. However, there are many ways to differentiate one from the other.

The difference between porterhouse steak and tomahawk steak include;

1. Shape

The first and most obvious way to differentiate between these two cuts of steak is the shape. Porterhouse steak is between 1.5 – 3 inches wide with a t-shaped bone in the middle and weighs around 24 pounds.

While tomahawk steak is between 1 – 2 inches thick with a last 3 – 5 inches long bone hanging on to it. Depending on how the bone is trimmed, it can weigh anywhere between 30 – 45 pounds.

2. Cooking time

In terms of cooking time, tomahawk steak cooks faster than porterhouse steak. A tomahawk steak takes around 40 – 50 minutes to cook, while a porterhouse steak takes 60 – 75 minutes to cook properly.

Porterhouse steak vs tomahawk steak – Which is better?

Now, when choosing the best out of these two, there are 3 aspects to consider.  They are;

1. Nutritional aspect

In terms of nutrition, the porterhouse steak gets the upper hand over the tomahawk steak. According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 100-gram serving of these two steaks shows that porterhouse holds a lower amount of calories and fat.

2. Taste

Regarding taste, the tomahawk is a better option than the porterhouse steak. This is because the large bone attached to it has a major impact on the taste.

3. Appearance

Tomahawk steak looks better than porterhouse steak. If you plan to wow your guest, this beautiful cut of steak is the one for the job, because it is a very fine piece of steak to gaze upon.

Porterhouse vs tomahawk steak – Cooking method

Since they both come from the same region of a cow, they are both cooked similarly. The best ways to enjoy both of them are; grilling, baking in the oven, or over an iron skillet or pan.

Although the porterhouse steak cooks longer, both are best cooked at a temperature of 165°F. At this point, there is uniform browning and marbling around the steak.


What does porterhouse steak taste like?

Porterhouse steak has a rich, tender, and beefy flavor that is often described as “melt in your mouth.”

Porterhouse steak vs tomahawk steak – which is cheaper?

They are both prized similarly, although the tomahawk steak is prized slightly lower.

Porterhouse steak vs tomahawk steak – How long are they good for in the freezer?

They can both be kept in the freezer for as long as 2 – 4 months.

Is tomahawk steak the same as ribeye?

No, it is not. Although tomahawk steak is cut from the rib, they are two entirely different cuts.

How many tomahawks per cow?

Depending on the size of the cow, there are usually between 8 – 12 tomahawks found in a cow.

Conclusion: Porterhouse steak vs tomahawk steak

All qualities considered, they are both incredibly delicious and tender cuts of beef. While it is up to personal preference, the porterhouse steak is better as it is considered healthier.

However, tomahawk steak is also a healthy cut with an appearance that is always guaranteed to wow your guest.

Thank you for reading this article.

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