A smoked porterhouse steak is truly a knock-your-socks-off meal. Using woody herbs on the fire infuses the meat with an herbal smokiness that is unlike anything else. Other than a little salt and pepper, and a little olive oil, this is a truly naked steak.
So you feel like grilled porterhouse steak? This one is a monster! For all of the card-carrying carnivores out there, this steak recipe will turn you on. Porterhouse is a great cut because it’s like two steaks for one—on one side of the bone you have the tender filet and on the other, the firm New York strip steak. Grilling with wood chips is a common way to infuse flavor into meat, but for extra oomph, I turn to herb-infused smoke instead. Tossing damp woody herbs like thyme (rosemary would work here as well) directly onto the fire lends a distinctive earthy essence. The intoxicating smell makes your belly grumble and always has a “wow factor” with guests.–Michael Schwartz
☞ Table of Contents
Smoked Porterhouse Steak
- 1 (3- to 4- pound) porterhouse steak (about 4 inches [10 cm] thick)
- 1 big bunch fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the grill rack
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-low. Let the steak stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Take 6 sprigs of the thyme and strip the leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme. Finely chop the leaves. You should have about 1 tablespoon. Place half of the remaining thyme sprigs in a small bowl, cover with cool water, and soak for 10 minutes while heating the grill.
- Pat the porterhouse steak dry and rub both sides with the chopped thyme, salt, and pepper, pressing to adhere. Drizzle both sides with the oil and rub the grill grates with oil to prevent sticking. Place the steak on the grill, close the lid, and grill for 8 minutes for medium-rare. Open the lid and, using tongs, carefully lift up the grill grate and toss half of the soaked thyme sprigs directly onto the gas burner or coals so they smolder, imparting an amazing aroma and flavor. Rotate the meat a quarter turn to “mark” it. Close the lid and cook for another 8 minutes. Open the lid and again, carefully lift up the grill grate and set the remaining soaked thyme directly on the fire. Turn over the steak and cook for 8 minutes, rotate, and cook for 8 minutes more. Check the internal temperature of the steak with an instant-read thermometer; it should be about 125°F (51 °C) for medium-rare.
- Transfer the porterhouse steak to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes so the juices can settle before carving.
- To serve, cut the porterhouse away from the bone and place the bone on a serving platter. Cut the steak into 1/4-inch-thick slices and reassemble the slices, overlapping slightly, around the bone. Scatter the remaining thyme sprigs on top.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
If you love steak, this is the recipe for you. The recipe worked exactly as written. The meat was absolutely delicious. I didn’t need a knife to cut it after the initial slicing. It ended up being a little less than medium-rare when it was done, but it was melt-in-your mouth tender. The hint of thyme flavour goes well with the charred meat. This fed four very hungry people. I’d like to try the recipe again on a wood fire.
It’s normally hard to find a recipe for a porterhouse that’s new and different. Porterhouse in general is tagged as the king of steaks, so normally no one wants to do anything new and exciting with it. I applaud the recipe writer for stepping outside of the box and putting a new spin on such a wonderful cut of meat. The cut I used was 3 inches thick, and about 2 1/2 pounds. This cooking method imparts a wonderful flavor to the meat—a smokiness you can really taste in every bite of the steak. The cooking times worked wonders—as did the smoldered thyme sprigs. The thyme doesn’t overpower the meat, it instead enhances its natural flavors. We really enjoyed this recipe! I loved learning this new grilling technique and would love to try it out with rosemary sometime, as well. There should be more grilling recipes like this one.
There definitely is a lot of wow-factor in this gargantuan piece of meat! I simply told my butcher to give me a 4-inch porterhouse. It ended up weighing more than 6 pounds. The smoky thyme flavour of this show-stopper really enhances the flavour of the beef. As with any grilling experience, your timing will vary with the thickness of the meat and the heat level within the grill. When I got my steak off the grill, I let it sit for 15 minutes because of the thickness. When carving the meat off of the bone, I discovered it was still very rare in the centre third—so I seasoned that portion and put it back on the grill, the rare side on the heat, for another 10 minutes. After a brief sit, it was perfectly rare. So, including sitting time, my steak took about an hour to cook from start to finish. Note: I bought three packages of thyme sprigs, each about 1 1/2 ounces, and divided them into four portions. I used one portion at the outset and each time that I turned the steak, except for when I returned the steak to the grill for better finishing. I’d make this again with a slightly thinner cut—no more than 3 to 3 1/4 inches at most. I think 4 inches is just too thick to handle easily.
Originally published June 12, 2011