How to Make Perfect T-Bone Steaks on the Grill

Cara Campbell
by Cara Campbell
4 people
17 min

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I don't know about you, but nothing says satisfaction to me like a perfectly grilled steak. Make that a bunch of T-bone steaks on the grill, and honestly, it's heaven. However, if you're a first timer and a little nervous about how to go about this, don't worry, we're going to get you through it. This method also works well for grilling just about any kind of steak, so keep this guide handy as we head into grilling season!

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Why Grilling T-bone Steaks is a Great Idea

The T-bone is ideally suited to grilling, because it cooks well under high heat, and fast conditions. Because the meat itself doesn't contain a lot of collagen, you don't need to cook it for long to make it tender.

The T-bone itself is basically two steaks in one. You're getting the filet mignon (the smaller part of the "T"), and the NY Strip (the larger side of the "T"). The are both incredibly delicious and desirable cuts, thus leading to the higher price tag you see on T-bone steaks.

Finally, the bone. The bone being right in the middle of the steak gives us something really awesome: juiciness and flavor. However, that also makes them slightly more complicated to cook, as the meat closer to the bone cooks more slowly than the meat far away from it. Highly, highly recommend a meat thermometer here people. Unless you are some sort of steak Jedi, you can't get away without it.

Picking Your Steak

You can find T-bone steaks almost anywhere these days, so feel free to pick on up from your local grocery store. However, if you spring for your butcher's, they will be able to help you pick the best steak, and even cut them to the thickness you want. I would recommend going about 1 ½" thick, just because that's likely going to be the easiest to cook. Anything bigger than that you're looking at much longer cook times (although, go for it if you're feeling adventurous.

T-bone Vs. Porterhouse

These are essentially the same thing, but the filet mignon portion on a porterhouse will be bigger than it would be on a T-bone. Each cow will produce 6-7 T-bones, but only 2-3 porterhouses. They are bigger, and the are definitely more expensive, but they are also delicious. So if you're thinking fancy, gourmet meal, spring for the porterhouse.

Prepping the T-bone for the Grill

One of the most important rules for grilling any type of steak is to make sure the steak is at room temperature before you cook it. This means taking it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you're ready for it to hit the grill.

Once it's out of the fridge, take it out of the packaging and let it rest on a plate. Pat away the moisture with a paper towel and season liberally. Again, let it come to room temperature.

Once that's done, go turn on your grill to high heat. Make sure you brush off any debris from last time (we want those clean grill marks!)


Ok, admittedly, I'm a bit of a steak purist, so I contend that the only seasoning you need for grilling a good T-bone or Porterhouse is salt, pepper, and a bit of oil. If you have a favourite steak seasoning though, by all means go ahead and use it.

It's really all you need to highlight the flavor of the steak!
Grilling the Steak

Grilling the steak itself is actually pretty easy. Now that our grill is screaming hot, we're going to cook our steaks.

Place the steaks on the grill (for those diamond marks - more on those below).Have your instant meat thermometer ready and with you at all times.

Let the steaks cook for 2-3 minutes, then rotate them a full 90 degrees for the diamond pattern. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then flip over, cook for another 2-3 minutes, rotate 90 degrees again, and leave for another 2-3 minutes with the lid closed. Check the temperature though, to make sure you're not overcooking them!

Pro tip: do not fiddle around with the steak. Once you set it on the grill, you can't move it if you want those grill marks to be perfect!

How to Get those Diamond Grill Marks

Ok, this was definitely a hard concept to explain using my words, so I've also got a step-by-step picture gallery for you so we can make sure that we do this right.

Note the direction of the top of the T. Let it sear for 2-3 minutes.
Give it a quarter turn (90 degrees), and let it sear another 2-3 minutes.
Flip it over, you now should have perfect diamonds on one side.
One last quarter turn, and let the steak finish cooking in this position.
Make the Compound Herb Butter

Making compound butter is so easy, and such a great way to add flavour to your steak. This one is pretty simple - we're going with cilantro, parsley, and garlic.

Start with softened butter (definitely NOT melted, you just need to be able to mix everything together!) Add 2 tablespoon of fresh, chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoon fresh, chopped parsley, and 2 diced cloves of garlic. Mix well in a small bowl.

Prepare a piece of plastic wrap on a smooth, clean surface. Place your butter on the wrap, and using the wrap, form it into a log shape. Roll until smooth, twisting the ends. Refrigerate for one hour. When ready to serve the steak, cut butter into discs about 1" thick, and place on top of the steak, allowing it to melt.

How to Serve Grilled T-Bone Steak

This steak goes great with all the traditional side dishes that normally compliment a steak. However, let's go for the full dinner party here. This is what my menu looks like:

Raw Oysters with Fresh and Spicy Tomatillo Habanero Mignonette

Roasted Broccoli with Pecorino and Honey

Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Awesome Dipping Sauces for Sweet Potato Fries (and Fry Recipe)

Wine Pairing

Definitely go with a dry red, like a Cab Sauv or a Syrah. The Syrah would by my choice in this instance, because it's heavier than a Pinot Noir (which is often recommended with a filet mignon), but has the same tannins, with dark fruity flavors of a Cab Sauv. It's perfect with a T-bone or a porterhouse.


What's the internal cooking temperature for a T-Bone steak?

Rare: 125°F

Medium-Rare: 130°F-135°F

Medium: 145°F

Well: 165°F

How long should you let a grilled T-bone rest for?

You should let the steak rest for at least 5-7 minutes before serving. This allows the juices in the meat to redistribute, so they don't come pouring out onto the plate the moment you cut into it.

What's the difference between a porterhouse and a T-bone?

They're essentially the same cut of beef, but on a porterhouse, the fillet portion is always bigger than on a T-bone.

How to Make Perfect T-Bone Steaks on the Grill
Recipe details
  • 4  people
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 12 Minutes Total time: 17 min
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For the Steak
  • 1 36 oz T-bone or porterhouse steak
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
For the Herb Compound Butter
  • 1/2 C butter room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon cilantro chopped
  • 3 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
For the Steak
Take the steak out of the fridge and out of it's packaging. Pat both sides with papper towel. Season with oil, salt and pepper on both sides. Let it come to room temperature.
Preheat your BBQ over high heat.
When the steak is too temperature, place it on the grill, let it sear for 2-3 minutes with the lid closed. Come back, and turn it 90°, and let it sear for another 2-3 minutes with the lid closed.
Flip the steak over (at this point, you should be able to see the diamond patter on this side). Sear for 2-3 minutes, then turn 90°. Allow it to finish cooking in this position (it should take another 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your steak.
Allow the steak to rest on a cooling rack for 7-8 minutes. Serve with compound butter discs on top.
For the Compound Herb Butter
In a small bowl, mix the butter, herbs and garlic.
Place a section of plastic wrap on your work surface. Scrap the butter on to the surface, and carefully roll the wrap around the butter. Twisting the ends, roll the butter back and forth until it forms a smooth cylindar. Refridgerate for one hour, then slice and serve with steak.
  • To get those perfect diamond grill marks, your BBQ has to be HOT. Don't put the steak on too early, or it definitely won't work as well.
  • Once you set the steak down on the grill - DON'T TOUCH IT until you're ready to rotate 90 degrees, or flip it. This will most definitely ruin the grill marks!
  • USE A MEAT THERMOMETER! Unless you're a professional chef, it's almost impossible to get meat to the right temperature. The thermometer is a game changer. Don't forget to take it off the grill a few degrees cooler from where you want it to end up. The steak will continue cooking during the resting process.
  • Internal Temperature for T-Bone or Porterhouse steaks:
  • Medium-Rare: 130F (final temp of 135-140F)
  • Medium: 145F (final temp of 150F)
  • Medium-Well: 150F (final temp of 155F)
  • Well: 160F (final temp of 165F)
Cara Campbell
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