Thermal Shock Porterhouse Steak

Thermal Shock Porterhouse Steak

I’ve chased the perfect steak for years and it turns out the secret is to use a pizza stone and a freezer. My work here is (finally) done.

I’ve been receiving a great deal of comments regarding possible cracked pizza stones. Please note this steak is not frozen, it’s deep chilled, however, I’ve tested frozen steaks on pizza stones and have yet to see a crack.

Pizza stones should always be heated with the oven, meaning you don’t heat the oven then put in the stone. That could result in cracking.

Thermal Shock Porterhouse Steak

  • One 1 1/4-inch-thick porterhouse steak (preferably grass fed (at least 1.5 pounds total))
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon for the leeks)
  • 4 large leeks (dark green sections trimmed)
  • 2 ounces warm Sizzle Butter (divided (recipe below))


  • 1 pound unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 6 cloves garlic (smashed and peeled)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 leaves fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  1. An hour before cooking: Move an oven rack to its highest position just under your broiler. Set your pizza stone on this rack and heat the broiler to high. Remove the steak from the refrigerator, season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt on all sides and freeze the steak on a cooling rack.
  2. While the steak is chilling: Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse well under cool water. Pat dry and and brush with 2 tablespoons of the sizzle and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. After an hour: Carefully slide the oven rack out, position the steak in the middle of the pizza stone. Slide the the rack back under the broiler and cook for 4 minutes. Slide the oven rack out again and flip the steak and cook for an additional 3 minutes for medium rare (cook an additional minute for medium).
  4. Remove the steak to a heat proof plate and rest for 5 minutes. While the steak rests, set the leeks cut side down on the pizza stone and broil for 4 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven. Slice the steak and drizzle with the remaining Sizzle Butter.


  1. Melt a pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the herbs and slowly cook until the bubbling ceases and the liquid turns clear, 30-40 minutes. Strain and cool, being sure to leave any solids in the bottom of the pan. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month

Don’t have a porterhouse or prefer a different cut? No worries.
1. Two New York Strip Steaks (1 1/2 inch thick, around 10 ounces each): 30 minutes in the freezer, then cook 3 minutes per side. Rest the steak for 3 minutes.
2. Boneless Rib Eye Steaks (1 1/2 inch thick, around 12 ounces): 30 minutes in the freezer, then cook 3 minutes per side. Rest the steak for 3 minutes.

Alton Brown Thermal Shock Steak Recipe


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  1. 2

    Now that summer is here, I will try it with a cast iron griddle on the grill. It gets WAY hotter than a pizza stone in the oven. Made some sirloins on it the other night and the crust was amazing! I’m certain the same principals apply. ( Love to see a cold steak crack cast iron! That aint happening. )

  2. 5

    Don’t ever use a ceramic pizza stone. Use the steel ones. Now if you don’t like the simplicity of sous vide you don’t like the science of sous vide. About to add a second one but the compromise is putting the corn or carrots in at 183 and then taking them out.

  3. 6

    Simpler method: BBQ your steak outside when the temperature is -30. Just leave your steak by the grill while it is heating and it’ll be perfectly chilled when the grill is ready. Downsides: Possible frostbite for the chef and it takes a loooong time to heat the BBQ when it’s that cold.

  4. 7

    Anyone considering this technique should also refer to the serious eats website, where they talk about essentially the same thing, but with a baking steel. The baking steel has issues of its own. It’s expensive, it’s really heavy, and, the suggested method of heating it on the stovetop to 550 degrees and then picking it up and placing it under the broiler – well, it’s not for the faint of heart. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about cracking it, and there’ll be no shortage of thermal shock for your steak. Combining AB’s method of chilling the steak, but with a baking steel instead of a pizza stone, may be a viable alternative.

  5. 11

    Those that own Pampered Chef stones, if you remember the use and care instructions you know this is not the recipe to try with your Pampered Chef stoneware.
    First of all, the instructions that come with your stones tell you NOT to pre-heat the stone, second – your stone should be at least 2/3 covered, last – do not place it under the broiler or over 450F. That being said, all stoneware pieces have a 3 year warranty. You could always call Pampered Chef directly (not the consultant you bought it from) and see if they will replace it if you are in your 3 year window. PS – don’t try this recipe with the Rockcrock either

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