Porterhouse vs. Ribeye: Understanding the Differences

Personal preference ultimately determines whether you order a porterhouse or ribeye

The porterhouse and ribeye are two of the most popular cuts of steak to choose from while dining out or shopping for meat. Both are renowned for their luscious and juicy flavors, but what distinguishes them from one another?

In this post, we’ll examine the subtle differences between each cut, look at their distinctive characteristics, and talk about which one would work best for you.

Understanding the Anatomy

To appreciate the differences between porterhouse and ribeye, it’s necessary to know a bit about the anatomy of the cow.

Both cuts originate from the loin region of the cow’s top back.

The short loin and the sirloin are the two parts of the loin. Porterhouse and ribeye both originate from the short loin.


A porterhouse steak is a sizable, dense piece of meat made up of the top loin and the tenderloin.

A smaller, more sensitive muscle, the tenderloin is located towards the middle of the cow’s back.

The top loin, sometimes referred to as the strip steak, is a bigger muscle that lies closer to the cow’s back’s outside edge.

The size of the tenderloin is what distinguishes a porterhouse. According to the USDA, a porterhouse must have a tenderloin that is at least 1.25 inches in diameter at its widest point.

A T-bone steak is used in place of a tenderloin if it is smaller.


On the other hand, a ribeye steak is made from the same part of the animal as a porterhouse but excludes the tenderloin.

Instead, it is taken from the cow’s rib region, which is closer to the shoulder.

The marbling that gives ribeye steaks their distinctive flavor and incredibly soft texture is what makes them so popular.

Cooking Methods

There are numerous ways to prepare both porterhouse and ribeye, such as grilling, broiling, and pan-frying. One cut might, however, suit some techniques more than others.

Grilling: Because of their thickness and size, porterhouse steaks are best cooked over high heat on a grill. The tenderloin can cook faster than the top loin, so it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature to ensure that the meat doesn’t overcook.

Ribeye steaks can also be grilled, but their marbling can cause flare-ups on the grill. To avoid this, it’s recommended to trim the excess fat before grilling or use a two-zone fire to control the heat.

Broiling: Broiling is another popular method for cooking porterhouse and ribeye steaks. The intense heat from the broiler can create a crispy crust on the outside of the steak while keeping the inside juicy and tender.

Pan-frying: When pan-frying porterhouse or ribeye, it’s important to use a heavy, oven-safe skillet that can handle high heat. The skillet should be heated on the stovetop before transferring the steak to the oven to finish cooking.

Flavor and Texture

Porterhouse and ribeye steaks have quite different flavors and textures. The bigger tenderloin found in porterhouse steaks is renowned for its melt-in-your-mouth quality and mild, buttery flavor.

On the other hand, the top loin is a little chewy but has a stronger, beefier flavor.

The strong, meaty flavor and tender, juicy texture of ribeye steaks are well-known. Hard to beat buttery, melt-in-your-mouth flavor is produced by the meat’s marbling.

Nonetheless, some people might find the ribeye steaks’ high fat content to be an acquired taste.

Due to the presence of the tenderloin, porterhouse steaks are sometimes regarded as a posh and opulent option, whereas ribeye steaks are more frequently linked to a traditional restaurant experience.

Nutritional Differences

Both porterhouse and ribeye steaks are high in protein and a substantial source of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 when it comes to nutrition. The two cuts do, however, differ in a few ways.

Due to the inclusion of the tenderloin, a thinner cut of meat, porterhouse steaks often have a somewhat lower fat content than ribeye steaks.

For people who are watching their fat consumption but still want a high-protein supper, porterhouse steaks are a wonderful choice.

Yet, because of the marbling in the flesh, ribeye steaks have a higher fat content.

While this may help create a flavor that is rich and delicious, it’s crucial to remember that consuming too much saturated fat can increase your risk of developing heart disease.


What is the difference between a porterhouse and a ribeye steak?

A porterhouse steak is cut from the rear end of the short loin and contains both the tenderloin and the strip steak, while a ribeye steak is cut from the rib section of the cow and is characterized by its rich marbling and beefy flavor.

Which is more tender, a porterhouse or a ribeye steak?

Both porterhouse and ribeye steaks are tender cuts of meat, but the tenderloin portion of the porterhouse is generally considered to be more tender than the ribeye.

Which is better for grilling, a porterhouse or a ribeye steak?

Both porterhouse and ribeye steaks are excellent choices for grilling, but the high fat content of the ribeye can make it prone to flare-ups on the grill. It’s important to monitor the cooking process closely and use proper grilling techniques to avoid charring or overcooking.

Is one cut of steak more expensive than the other?

Porterhouse steaks are generally more expensive than ribeye steaks due to the presence of the tenderloin, which is a highly sought-after cut of meat. However, prices can vary depending on factors such as the quality and grade of the meat, as well as the location and seasonality of the market.

Are porterhouse and ribeye steaks equally nutritious?

Both porterhouse and ribeye steaks are high in protein and provide a significant source of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. However, porterhouse steaks are slightly lower in fat than ribeye steaks due to the presence of the leaner tenderloin portion. It’s important to keep in mind that excessive consumption of saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease, so moderation is key when it comes to enjoying red meat as part of a balanced diet.


Personal preference ultimately determines whether you order a porterhouse or ribeye. A porterhouse steak can be the best option if you want something that is mildly flavored and more soft and buttery.

A ribeye, on the other hand, would be a better option if you prefer rich, meaty flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Whatever the cut, the key to bringing out the meat’s full taste and tenderness is to choose a high-quality cut and cook it properly.

A porterhouse or ribeye steak is certain to sate your hunger for a delectable, high-protein dinner, whether you’re a seasoned steak connoisseur or a curious newbie.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.