Wagyu Beef is the umami-rich, fatty, tender steak now synonymous with luxurious black truffles and caviar. Wagyu has a premium tag attached to it. So, it can cost a pretty penny. But, it is worth the penny as it is incomparable in taste.
Here’s what you need to know about it!
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu means Japanese Cows. However, Wagyu is not the term for any Japanese cow. The premium version that we love to dine on is a specific Japanese cattle breed with specific genetic qualities. There are four native Cow breeds in Japan. Only one is genetically unique to them. This uniqueness is that it has a predisposition to build this crazy marbling of fat. This marbling of fat is located inside the muscle tissue.
The fat cap will be on the outside of an average steak. However, its fat is integrated within the muscle in a Wagyu. This is because the Cow metabolizes the fat internally. This means that even if any other breed is raised under the conditions of the Wagyu, it will not be the same Wagyu beef.
The Wagyu beef is rich, luscious, and dissolves as it hits your tongue. You may barely want to cook a high-end Wagyu. You want to keep the middle as raw as possible. But, even if it is not raw, it will still be juicy. If you remember to slice it thin, it will melt in your mouth.
Difference between American and Japanese Wagyu
There are several differences between American and Japanese Wagyu Beef. Firstly, both of these breeds have different cattle-farming techniques. But, more importantly, American Wagyu is crossbred. Japanese Wagyu is purebred. Even though the American Wagyu might have somewhat similar marbling with intense flavour. But, the similarities end at this because American Wagyu is still crossbred with Angus Beef. The beef where Wagyu is combined with Angus Beef is unregulated, unspecified, and uncontrolled.
So, it never tastes like the original. Mostly, Angus is mixed with Wagyu in any part. The American Wagyu can never copy the sweet flavour of the Japanese Wagyu. In fact, the American Wagyu can also never get the melt-in-mouth feel. This is possible with the Japanese Wagyu. But, this does not mean that the American Wagyu is not tasty.
You can keep eating more of it when you’re eating the American Wagyu. But, the Japanese Wagyu is so rich that you can only take a few bites. You cannot go wrong with the Japanese Wagyu Beef when you want a large Steak.
Ingredients for a Wagyu Beef
Making a Wagyu beef takes a lot of precision. But it will be easy for you if you stick to the guidelines. Here are all the ingredients you will need to make the Japanese Wagyu Beef.
1. A Wagyu Steak
The undeniable need is a Wagyu Steak. Make sure that you’re getting a purebred Japanese Wagyu. The cattle must be pasture-raised, finished on farm-grown barley, and processed on-farm. This makes for a tender and juicy steak.
2. Cast Iron Pan
This is the best option to use when it comes to skillets. You can either use a cast iron pan or another skillet. The primary need is that the skillet can withstand the searing heat. It should also be able to handle being placed in the oven after the hot heat.
3. Searing Medium
There are many options when it comes to a Searing medium. A suggestion is to use a little amount of fat that you can trim from the steak. Other options are high-quality beef tallow, Avocado, Safflower and Grapeseed. Peanut Oil is also a good option. We recommend using the trimmed fat or the tallow. This will help keep your flavours consistent and the smoke levels down. Also, it helps in getting a sear.
4. Large-Grain Salt
You are going to need a lot of large-grain salts. This is because you will need to cover both sides of the steak. Remember to wrap both sides of the steak very freely. You should use Kosher salt. However, Morton’s or Diamond Crystal are options.
5. A Meat Thermometer
The next need when making Wagyu Beef is a heat thermometer. You can make the dish without the thermometer. However, only if you are an expert. The cook times of this beef differ a lot from the usual; cooking times.
6. Tin Foil
The last need is a tin foil that can tent over the steak when it rests.
Step-by-Step Guide To Wagyu Beef
Preparing a Wagyu beef can be a problematic task lest you follow the recipe’s guidelines.
The first step is defrosting the Wagyu. There is a high possibility that your Wagyu beef will be frozen when you receive it. In such a case, you need to defrost it. This has to be done in its packaging. The packaging must be in the fridge. The process can take up to 48 hours. Make sure that you do not try to defrost it in a microwave or at room temperature. If you do any of that, you will lose flavour and fat. As such, you might compromise on the meat’s integrity.
Open the packaging once you frost it in the fridge. You can use a strip of fat from the beef to oil up your pan. In that case, trim off a little bit and refrigerate it. This is an optional step.
The next step is Salting. This basically means that you are salting your Wagyu Beef and everything else. Salting the meat allows you to tenderize it. After you salt the meat, it pulls out the moisture from it and dissolves. So, it then diffuses back into the steak. So, the longer
your beef is salted, the better it is for you. This process can be continued for 40 mins or 2-3 days. The best spot is 36-48 hours of salting to tenderize the steak.
Salt in on both sides using a large-grain salt. This will help tenderize the Wagyu Beef. After salting it, wrap it up in butcher or parchment paper. Also, put it into the fridge on a wire rack.
When you are ready to cook your Wagyu Beef, take it out of the fridge to bring it to room temperature. It can be left for 30 mins-2 hours. Pat it dry when it reaches room temperature.
Cut your meat into slices around 1-inch square and 3 inches in length. The strips can also be much thinner. A quarter or a half-inch. However, in such a case, cut them wider. Heat up your skillet while you slice the meat. It should be searing hot, such that water flicked at it would boil off immediately.
Place your trimmed fat or beef tallow on the skillet to oil it. Make sure you’ve covered all ends. Place the strips on it to sear. You can do this while you oil and heat the skillet. Keep them on the skillet for about 1 minute until the bottom is golden brown. After this, flip the strips and repeat the process for another minute. After this, sear the rest of the sides for 30-45 seconds. Make sure that your meat is evenly seared. Avoid flipping, poking, squishing, or sliding the beef while it sears.
After the meat is seared, rest it on a tin foil before serving. You can rest it for 3-4 minutes.
Wagyu Beef is a premium quality steak. However, preparing it can be challenging. But, following these guidelines and making a Wagyu will keep becoming easier.