Chef John Howie Counts Off His Top 5 Favorite Steaks


As a chef it may be a little unusual that my No. 1 choice for steak is not the lauded Japanese Wagyu, but in fact a USDA Prime steak. If it was my last meal on earth, I would choose the bone-in New York strip steak. Also known as the Delmonico. To me this is one of the most flavorful pieces of meat you are ever going to eat. The bone adds to the flavor, and it is one of the most highly-marbled steaks available, either the USDA Prime or the American Wagyu bone-in New York. Similar meats, with similar richness and flavors. Definitely cooked over mesquite coals. The mesquite adds a wonderfully mineral, smoky flavor to the meat that comes right through. The meat is so rich but it has also got a little “chew”, which I really enjoy.

My No. 2 steak would be the American Wagyu Rib Cap Steak. The Rib eye Cap Steak is funny because it is really not even a steak that anybody was doing 10 years ago. There is an extremely fatty section of meat that runs across the top of the rib-eye “the Cap”, and then there is the eye underneath it. What we do is take off the entire cap and cut it into steaks – and again, cook it over mesquite to get that wonderful mineral flavor, and that is the richest, most juicy piece of meat you will ever taste. It just explodes in your mouth with flavor.

My No. 3 steak would probably be the top sirloin baseball cut. It’s kind of an unusual steak, that is very lean but it tends to looks like a baseball when it is done being cooked. Although a lean meat it has a lot of surface area that can really gather the flavor of the mesquite. Takes a little longer on the grill to get it where you want it, and you have to let the steak rest afterwards. When you slice into the meat and it’s really juicy. It’s a very different experience. Also it’s a nice big steak and that is part of the appeal for me because I like a larger portion of steak when it is lean.

My fourth steak would probably be the USDA prime bone-in filet mignon. Now, if it was my wife, it would be the filet mignon, number one, across the board – not even a bone-in, just a straight center cut, but for me it is the bone-in filet mignon. The bone carries a lot of fat around it, and that adds flavor to the filet. The filet is one of the leanest meat you’re going to have out of a cattle and that lean meat does not usually lend itself to a lot of flavor, but the USDA Prime filet, still has some light marbling which adds a nice richness to the steak. Again it is extremely tender, and with the bone on you get more fat, you get more flavor, once again, I’d cook it on a mesquite grill to add that unique flavor.

My fifth choice would be the Japanese Wagyu rib steak. And that’s because it is absolutely the most marbled piece of meat you’ll ever see. It is intricately marbled, and what I mean by that is it almost looks like a spider web with the marbling through the meat.  And this fat is actually pretty good for you, polyunsaturated fat that melts at a much lower temperature, so the fat actually stays melted inside your body. I like this steak seared on a hot flat-top grill or saute pan with just sea salt.

As you can see I really enjoy a great steak, and whether you enjoy a rich Wagyu, or lean USDA Prime Baseball Cut Top Sirloin, John Howie Steak has them all and will always prepare them to your liking.