The trick? This macabre meal appears to be a heart and a ribcage! The treat? It’s actually an indulgent porterhouse steak with a smoky, spicy compound butter. And don’t forget the sides, both simple and delectable– roasted purple potatoes, red bell peppers, red onion, a sprinkle of rosemary, fresh watercress, and sour lime. It’s the full package, and a lovely way to treat yourself this Halloween.
Porterhouse vs T-Bone Steaks
From what I’ve read, Porterhouse and T-bone steaks are the same thing, a porterhouse is just bigger, usually on the filet side, making it more suited for two people.
I developed this recipe with quite a small porterhouse steak (cause this blog doesn’t pay the bills) so it’s possible if you have a larger one it will need longer in the oven.
Preparing The Steak:
As outlined in the recipe, I like to sprinkle my steak with baking soda and salt five or more hours ahead of cooking and allow it to air dry in the refrigerator. There are a couple of reasons for this:
Air drying is a great way to remove moisture from the surface of the steak, making it extra amenable to gaining an even, brown, crisp crust. (This goes for pork chops and poultry skin too.)
You can air dry your steak for less than five hours, but salting requires more time. Here’s why:
Salting ahead will season the steak all the way through, goody! BUT, the steak needs time to absorb the salt. Salt generally causes food to release its moisture. If you were to salt a steak and air dry it in the fridge for just 1 hour, the surface of the steak would be more wet than when you started. But, after 5 hours, the steak will have released moisture and then reabsorbed it. So that’s the reason for the time given in the recipe.
Baking soda plays two roles: meat tenderizer (if left on for more than 15 minutes), and browning cheerleader. Baking soda speeds up the browning process, meaning an even crust is more likely. And no, with scant amounts, you can’t taste it!
Cooking Medium and Well Done Steaks
If you’d like your steak cooked further than medium-rare, you don’t need to increase the stovetop time, just the oven time.
For medium steaks, leave in the oven for 3.5 minutes. For well done, 4.5-5 minutes.
I do not recommend rare for porterhouse steaks due to the fat content. Fat needs a little more cooking time to become silky and tender.
Porterhouse for Two with Compound Butter Recipe
Trick and Treat Porterhouse for Two
- Wire rack
- small bowl
- plastic cling wrap
- 2 rimmed baking sheets
- large stainless steel or cast iron pan
- 1.5 lb porterhouse or T-bone steak
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Flake salt for serving
For the Compound Butter:
- 3 tbsp unsalted room temperature butter
- 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/8 tsp aleppo pepper
- 1/2 tsp honey
For the Veggies:
- 1.5 lbs baby purple potatoes halved lengthwise
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1” strips
- 1 small red onion cut into 1” wedges
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped (from about 2 sprigs)
- 1 bunch watercress
- 1 lime cut into wedges for serving
Prepare the Steak:
- (If you don’t have time to prep the steak ahead, follow these directions but skip the refrigeration and wait to sprinkle on the salt and baking soda until just before cooking. See recipe notes in the article above for more details.)
- Pat the steak dry all over with paper towels. With a small, sharp knife, slice slits into the fat cap on the side of the steak about 1” apart. Ideally, the slices will go just through the fat and connective tissue, but not into the steak itself. (These slits prevent the fat from shrinking and curling, allowing the steak to sit flat while searing for optimum browning.)
- Sprinkle the steak all over with the sea salt and baking soda and pat in gently to adhere. Place the steak on a wire rack over a baking sheet or a plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 5 hours.
Prepare the Compound Butter:
- In a small bowl, use a small spatula or a spoon to combine the butter, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder, aleppo pepper, and honey.
- Turn the butter out on a piece of plastic cling wrap. Use the cling wrap to shape the butter into a heart shape, then gently twist the wrap closed and move to the refrigerator until ready to serve. (Note: this is realistically more butter than is needed for a 1.5 lb steak, but it makes for a dramatic effect. If you’d like to cut the butter down, shape instead into two hearts and save one for another use.)
- Heat the oven to 450F with the racks in the lowest and center positions.
- Divide the potatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, and rosemary between two rimmed baking sheets. Season each sheet with 1/4 tsp salt, pepper to taste, and 1.5 tbsp olive oil and toss to coat. For maximum crisp, turn the potatoes cut side down. Roast on the lowest and center racks for 30 minutes, swapping the sheets’ position halfway through roasting.
- Once the veggies go in the oven, remove the prepared steak from the refrigerator. Allow the steak to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. (If you did not prepare the steak earlier, prepare it now.)
- Heat a 12” stainless steel or cast iron pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, grab the steak with a pair of tongs and press the fat cap down onto the pan to release some of the fat. Sear all areas of the fat cap, then lay the steak onto the pan and apply moderate pressure downward on the meat surrounding the t-bone.
- Turn the steak every 30-60 seconds for 5 minutes, keeping the heat high (frequent turning will build a nice brown crust.)
- Transfer the pan to the oven’s center rack (remove one of the veggie pans if you need space) and cook 2.5 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and check the steak’s internal temperature with an instant read or meat thermometer. If the temperature is 120-130F, transfer to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil until the temperature reaches 135F. If the temperature is below 120F, return to the oven for 30-60 seconds more. (See recipe notes in the article above for temperature information for medium and well done steak.)
- Once the desired temperature has been reached, allow the steak to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the steak into 1” “ribs” and serve topped with the heart shaped compound butter and flaky salt. Top the roasted vegetables with the watercress and a squeeze of lime juice.