IF YOU WERE to poll professional chefs about the steak they themselves prefer to eat, the porterhouse would come in #1. It combines a portion of the ultra-tender tenderloin with a larger portion of the very flavorful top loin.
So here is our recipe for the classic steak-eating experience. For steaks of this size you will probably have to go to the butcher shop, but when you walk away from the counter the butcher is going to have a smile on his face and probably give you a little wink, because he’s going to be feeling just a bit jealous. The steaks are so large that each one will feed two or even three people.
With a cut like this, you want to exercise restraint. Just sprinkle the meat generously with salt and pepper. (This is the time to bring out your designer salt and to crack the pepper right before you use it, leaving some nice, large chunks so you get a little heat when you bite into them.) Grilled exotic mushrooms that have been tossed in a little butter, parsley, and sherry provide the right topping.
Serve with Grilled Potato Steaks with Bacon, Sour Cream, and Chives and simple grilled onions.
Build a multi-level fire in your grill: Leaving one-quarter of the bottom free of coals, bank the coals in the remaining three-quarters of the grill so that they are three times as high on one side as on the other. When all the coals are ignited and the temperature is hot (you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill grid, over the area where the coals are deepest, for 2 seconds or less), you’re ready to cook.
Pat the steaks dry with paper towels, then rub them all over with » cup of the olive oil and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Place the steaks over the hottest part of the fire and cook until well seared on one side, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn and sear well on the second side, again about 6 to 8 minutes. Now move them to the medium-hot part of the grill and cook, turning once, until they are done the way you like them, 10 to 15 minutes more for rare. To check for doneness, poke the meat with your finger to check its firmness level; if you’re unsure, nick, peek, and cheat: Make a cut into the center and peek to be sure it is just slightly less done that you like it.
While the steaks are cooking, combine the mushrooms, the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, and the teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently until the mushrooms are well coated and the oil is absorbed.
When the steaks are done, transfer them to a serving platter, cover them loosely with foil, and let them rest while you grill the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms on the medium-hot part of the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and moist all the way through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Slice the cooked mushrooms and put them back in the bowl along with the butter, parsley, sherry, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently to coat.