How to grill a T-bone steak seems to be a problem for a lot of people. Learn how with these easy to follow step by step instructions. You can be the “Grill Master” too and have an excellent grilled steak in 10 minutes every time.
The T-bone is a twofer: You get both the strip loin and the tenderloin in one cut. The bone portion of the T-bone is part of the steer’s vertebrae, from the short loin primal (that’s the spot between your rib cuts and your sirloin cuts). If you rotate the “T” of the T-bone to be situated horizontally, with the bigger portion of meat on top, you can better see where this cut lies on the cow.
The strip loin—also called a New York strip steak—is the larger portion of the T-bone. The chunk of meat sits on top of the vertebrae—the back of the steer. On the other side of the bone is the tenderloin, which sits next to the lower part of the spinal cord. A single T-bone is only one half of this spinal section. Yeah. Cows are big.
Marbling is made up of intramuscular fat, and you’re certain to see more of it in the strip loin than in the tenderloin, but both should have streaks of beautiful white fat in them. This fat is what brings the big, beefy flavor to the T-bone, and you won’t get that top steakhouse flavor without it. You should always do a visual inspection to best determine the marbling, but in terms of USDA beef grades, “Prime” is the label to look for. “Choice” is the next step down in marbling, followed by “Select.”
Finally, if you want that tenderloin section to be all it can be, it’s best to choose a T-bone with a generous portion of tenderloin. Fat doesn’t just deliver flavor—it also insulates. Because the tenderloin is leaner, it’ll always cook through more quickly than the strip; the smaller it is, the faster it will do so. To ensure the filet section of the T-bone comes out to a respectable medium-rare, porterhouse-sized tenderloin sections of one and a half inches or larger are definitely the way to go.
Although this recipe is extremely simple, you need to be careful not to overcook the meat.
- 2 (1 1/2-inch-thick) T-bone steaks (3 pounds total), flaps cut off if necessary, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas). (If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. When Charcoal turns grayish white (about 15 minutes from lighting), hold your hand 5 inches above grill rack to determine heat for charcoal as follows: Hot: When you can hold your hand there for 1 to 2 seconds; Medium-hot: 3 to 4 seconds; Low: 5 to 6 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then, if necessary, reduce to heat specified in recipe.)
- Pat steaks dry and sprinkle all over with sea salt and pepper. Grill steaks on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until thermometer inserted horizontally 2 inches into meat (do not touch bone) registers about 120°F for rare, 9 to 11 minutes.
- Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes before slicing. (Internal temperature will rise to 125-128°F while steaks stand.)