How To Cook Wagyu Beef Like A Chef At Home
Wagyu beef is an experience like no other – desired all over the world by the most exclusive restaurants and top chefs. This spectacular culinary experience deserves the very best in cooking methods and techniques – but here’s the good part: you can cook Wagyu beef at home. And here’s how.
At A Five Meats, we are here to introduce you to the finest Wagyu beef. We can deliver straight to your front door, and can even provide some helpful hints along the way to guide you in the preparation and cooking of Wagyu to absolute perfection.
How To Store and Use Wagyu From the Fridge
Careful planning is vital when cooking Wagyu beef. This might seem straightforward but it is the first important step towards the ultimate fine dining at home.
Wagyu beef should be stored in the fridge immediately as soon as it arrives, in the original packaging. The coldest part of the refrigerator is the perfect place. The reason for keeping Wagyu in the original packaging is to prevent cross contamination or odors from other items stored in the fridge, influencing the meat.
Conveniently, it’s fine to store Wagyu in the fridge for up to 48 hours. It’s essential to bear in mind that the sooner the meat is used, the fresher it will be. Wagyu requires less cooking time than standard beef, with the pre-cooking process being just as important as the cooking itself. If the preparation is not perfect, it can affect the final flavor or texture of the meat.
Around an hour before cooking, remove the meat from the fridge, so that it reaches a level closer to room temperature. This slow, steady, and controlled rise in temperature to a more ambient level will relax the fibers of the meat so that they don’t ‘compress’ as soon as they hit a hot pan. Also, it helps the meat to cook more evenly and thoroughly.
Sometimes the meat has a slight brown discoloration upon removing it from the fridge. This mild discoloration is due to the meat coming into contact with the air and presents no issues. It should disappear as the meat slowly gets closer to room temperature before cooking. It will not affect either the texture or exquisite taste and will not be visible once the meat is ready to cook.
All our deliveries are fresh to your door, and with excellent reason. Chilled shipping means the specimens are at their absolute prime when they arrive. Wagyu has to be enjoyed as soon as possible once delivered to allow diners to experience the finest this world-renowned meat has to offer. As soon as it is received, the buttery flavors, soft marbling, and perfect flavor profile are ready and waiting.
For this reason, we do not recommend freezing Wagyu. But, if anyone has to, it’s essential to make sure the flesh thoroughly and safely defrosted before use.
How To Season Wagyu Beef
Wagyu meat has an incredibly rich flavor due to the extensive and exquisite marbling that characterizes the beautiful flesh. Wagyu beef does not need much help to bring out its distinctive character. Everything it needs gets laid down during those serene years of grazing and dedicated care.
The best way to season Wagyu is to try to complement rather than mask the fantastic buttery flavor profile, which makes this meat famous. Only subtle seasoning is needed – keeping things very simple and very light. Use the best quality of freshly ground or milled salt and pepper available, sprinkling it sparingly on both sides of the meat.
It’s a good idea to allow the meat to rest a little at this point before cooking: this encourages the flavor and moisture to be absorbed by the salt onto the meat’s surface. These elegant flavors will combine and slowly reabsorb back down into the fibers of the Wagyu flesh before cooking, perfecting the profile and texture even further.
It’s possible to season Wagyu after cooking, although it does have its downsides. The seasoning will not absorb into the meat in the same way as if it was seasoned before introduction to heat, as the fibers will likely have contracted slightly during the cooking process. However, if required, go ahead but keep it light, sparing, and straightforward. Allow the meat to speak for itself upon serving.
How To Cook Wagyu Beef
We’re now at the next stage of our fine dining experience: cooking Wagyu beef. The first place to start is the right equipment: a well seasoned heavy based cast iron skillet is perfectly acceptable, as is a grill, depending on preference. Each method has its pros and cons: a skillet is the easiest method, but without a textured base, it is hard to achieve those signature scorch lines. A skillet will also retain the fat and oils better, but temperature control can be harder.
Using a grill is slightly trickier: while the scorch lines are easier to sear into the flesh, it’s essential to get the cooking time exactly right. Failure to do so could draw too much of the fat and juices from the meat, causing it to turn out either tougher or drier than it should be. That said, it is also easier to achieve a crispness to the edges of the meat, making the most of those delectable fats.
The best temperature for the skillet is medium to high heat, getting the pan up to temperature before going any further.
The next question is which oil to use – and this is also where things get interesting. Because Wagyu brings its very own oil, and it’s the best there is. It even comes complementary with the meat. You guessed it – that distinctive layer of fat. Just snip a small piece from the edge of your Wagyu, and drop it into the skillet. It should sizzle on contact, and begin to melt.
Swirl this amazing oil around the pan, coating the base of the skillet thoroughly in preparation for adding the Wagyu once the fat has fully rendered down. Remember that Wagyu is often cut thinner than regular steaks due to the richness of flavor – it doesn’t need to cook for very long. The more slender the cut, the less time it will take to cook. Generally, a minute or two on either side is all Wagyu needs, ensuring the meat is turned regularly throughout the cooking process.
If using a grill, the process is very slightly different. It’s not possible to use fats as with the skillet method, so the grill will need to be at a somewhat higher temperature, turned up to a hot setting. Ensure the rack is entirely up to heat before adding the Wagyu, and that the meat is turned regularly throughout the cooking process.
Be careful to try to catch those sear lines if you would like them (the grill being up to heat before adding the meat will help with this). Still, the meat should not be allowed to overcook under any circumstances. It will also generally cook more quickly than in the skillet, so keep a very close eye on things to make sure it’s not under the heat for too long.
Meats taken from different areas of the cow have different textures. The reason for this is because some muscles have had to ‘work harder,’ and so have a firmer feel. Brisket, for example, is one of these cuts. That said, these firmer cuts are packed full of flavor, and are still the ultimate in exclusive dining experiences.
With the right cooking method, the firmer cuts will grace any event perfectly. Being Wagyu, of course, are still far more juicy and tasty than regular beef. Barbecuing is a great way to bring out the best of these flavors. Remember to keep things very low and very slow to get the most out of the marbling.
How To Serve Wagyu Beef
The first step to serving Wagyu beef is to allow it to rest first. Once the Wagyu is off the heat, let it sit for a while – around five minutes is enough. Resting allows the fibers of the meat to relax, then get reincorporated back into the flesh and evenly distribute the flavor throughout the cut. Missing this step would result in the juices ending up on the plate, rather than in the meat.
Heat the serving plates during this resting period. Serving Wagyu straight onto a cold plate will ‘shock’ the meat fibers back together, and affect the texture. Think about jumping into an ice bath after the sauna – it’s the same principle.
A board is also great to serve Wagyu, although unless it has a sealed or close grained surface, it could absorb some of the juices. A slate or marble can also be perfect, as long as the temperature is suitable – never, ever put slate on or under direct heat, as it can explode. Use water to heat stone surfaces.
Wagyu is the star of the show, and deserves pride of place at the table – have fun with the setting, and make sure the presentation does the dish justice. Your guests should always eat with their eyes and experience the delicate sights and aromas of perfectly prepared Wagyu set before them, even picking up any item of cutlery (or chopsticks!).
In terms of accompaniments, simple is, of course, the best. A light green salad, gently sautéed vegetables, or a small serving of crispy triple cooked homecut fries on the side can all make great complimentary dishes to the richness of the Wagyu.
Beverages are a far wider choice when serving Wagyu. Traditionally, the accompaniment to Wagyu is Sake, as it pairs perfectly with the rich buttery flavor and fats of the meat. That said, it’s a very personal choice – anything light is perfectly acceptable. Examples could be crisp, fresh water, or a glass of light table wine. It’s advisable to avoid anything too heavy, as it could mask the aromas or unduly influence the palate.
Preparation is all part of the ultimate Wagyu experience. By preparing and serving Wagyu personally, anyone can take their time to enjoy it. Have fun with it, relax, and look forward to the ultimate dining experience in the comfort of your own home.
We are here at A Five Meats every step of the way, and with this cooking guide, you have everything you need to get started, or to continue your Wagyu journey into the future.
Our Wagyu packs are available for convenient delivery direct to your door. All packs are delivered chilled, so you can be completely confident of freshness and quality. It’s so easy to order - just visit our website. Feel free to also come along to our exclusive store in San Francisco, or give us a call - we would love to hear from you!