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Wagyu ribeye tonight. First time in a long time I've been intimidated by meat.

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So I picked up some Wagyu ribeyes for tonight's dinner. And although I've cooked more than my share of beef, this is the first time with anything of Japanese ancestry. The cost of these steaks and the extent to which I've hyped them to the family has me a little nervous about getting it just right. So before introducing the meat to the heat, I wanted to seek input from fellow 'hounds about any tips, tricks, or pitfalls for cooking and serving Wagyu.

The steaks are about 3/4" thick and very heavily marbled. The tentative plan is to salt them, let them come up to room temperature, then cook them on a very, very hot cast iron griddle.

Will the extra fat make the steaks cook more quickly? Does it change the way the "poke test" results feel (in other words, does a medium-rare Wagyu steak have the same springiness as a medium-rare ordinary steak)? What about doneness--is medium-rare okay, or would it be better to stick to rare, or even black and blue?

Planned sides are steakhouse retro: creamed spinach, ginger-glazed carrots, and baked potato with sour cream and chives. And I'm thinking about opening an '04 Ch. Bernadotte.

Any information, suggestions, or comments are greatly appreciated.

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  1. Geez ab, I'm sure hoping you get responses. I would really love to know the answers, you've asked some critical questions.You are a pioneer here for us. I doubt my budget at this point in time is going to allow for wagyu anytime soon, but perhaps a special occassion one day might allow for it. I did a little search, and wow how interesting this beef is or Kobi for that matter. Seems its rather important to serve a perfect wine with the meat to get the full benefit of the experience. Here you go... be sure to scroll down where you'll find the technique and recipes. If you can though read the article, its very imformative. One thing I find really interesting and probably something that I would do, being the cooking time with this beef is a whole lot different than are usual, is to butterfly the steak, and then to baste it in butter very quickly. I hope this helps you!

    http://www.thewinenews.com/febmar04/c...

    2 Replies
    1. re: chef chicklet

      Thanks for the link--lots of good info.

      Sounds like my butcher was ahead of the game recommending thinner steaks, so no butterflying will be necessary. But 90 seconds per side--wow, that's quick. A perfect match to my short attention span, I suppose.

      As far as wine goes, the article is a little confusing and self-contradictory. The author quotes a chef and wine director as recommending a particular Bordeaux-style blend that's 65% cabernet, but then suggests that a Bordeaux or a cabernet would overwhelm the meat and recommends a pinot noir. Me, I want a little tannin to cut through the fat, so Bordeaux it is. Haut-Medoc, 59% cabernet. Just for the record.

      One thing that surprised me was the pricing discussed in the article. The stuff ain't cheap, but it seems to me to be more of an affordable luxury than a superpremium item (about $15 per 12-ounce steak at my local meat counter). Not an everyday splurge, but no worse than a typical dinner out.

      1. re: alanbarnes

        Yes go with what you know, the wine should be what you prefer and know, absolutely.

        The 90 second thing was what one chef said he did for a "nutty and buttery"...sort of like that. But please check out, down further, there is a recipe that instructs you to cook it longer per side, I think it was 5 or 6 mins. I'd stop and go back and look but there are problems with CH, seems I lose what I've written if I flip around. So anyway, the recipe instructs to cook it longer for med rare.

        If it were me, while cooking, I would just stay with the steaks, watch them carefully. Where you might run into some challenges is when guests start calling temperatures and expect a cook to order steak. Since you (or most of us for that matter) are on unfamiliar ground with Wagyu beef you'll just have to be watchful. No cocktails yet!

        35% more fat, that was the number given for the amount of fat in comparion with our beef. I really don't completely trust these articles,but if the difference is true, compairing say a rib eye, or new york strip. I would use the poke method for doneness. While its cooking I would not cut into it to see the interior. I might use a probe... but dang, I'd be making sure they came off earlier than usual. You can always put it in the oven (have that ready) and I'd for sure make sure that you don't have guest that hate blue steak.

        I am happy to hear that he pricing was out of whack, because most of us might find that number unattainable. That is a huge span from what you paid! sheesh, I can do $15 - at least just to try it!

        Well good luck with your dinner, and are you sticking with your sides?
        Your guest will just love you!

    2. I'm presuming that you have American Wagyu, which unfortunately is a far cry from true Japanese Kobe/Wagyu. While they're from the same breed of animal, the results are anything but similar.

      For American Wagyu, I'd approach it like a normal steak. Salt, pepper and a quick sear in a hot cast iron and an oven finish. Top with butter and that's about it.

      If it's true Japanese Kobe (with the very extravagant price) and you've got some of the better cuts, I'd go for very thin slices that are quickly grilled over charcoal with salt and pepper. Just a few moments to sear while leaving the interior juicy. On hot, steamed rice with a little soy sauce. Unbelievable.

      Last summer while visiting Japan, my mentor treated me to an A5 Kobe meal (A5 being the grade) and it was just stellar. Simple cuts self-cooked over a charcoal grill. Unbelievable. The texture and flavor of true Kobe is unparalleled. I dream about it. The quality of the meat was so good that they made for amazing raw nigiri sushi.

      Either way, keep it simple. Let the flavor of the meat speak for itself. Afterall, that's what you're paying the premium for.

      1. I hope you tell us what you did and how it came out! My understanding is that Wagyu shouldn't be cooked "black and blue" because of the fat content -- lumps of cold fat are not appealing. I think it's supposed to be cooked at least enough to heat all the fat through, i.e., no less than "warm red."

        1. I've had Wagyu steaks before and have always found them rather disappointing. Something about the heavy marbling is a big turn-off -- sort of like the old adage "too much of a good thing ..."

          I tend to think that Wagyu is best enjoyed in shabu-shabu ... sliced thin, and blanched very quickly in the boiling broth. But that's just me.

          Hope you enjoyed your ribeye steaks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            I agree about Wagyu seeming to taste the best in shabu-shabu. That is the way I enjoyed Kobe beef the most in Japan.

            The sides you are serving with the ribeyes sound delicious! Please let us know how the dinner went!

          2. Here's an unorthodox way of cooking wagyu beef that I have come to prefer: cook it on very low heat. Wagyu beef fat has a lower melting point than ordinary beef so you do not want to blast it with searing heat like normal steak. It takes a good while longer to cook than the conventional high searing heat method, but the beef cooks more uniformly and the texture is also more tender in my opinion. Due to the lack of intense heat there will not be much caramelisation. To me this is desirable in the case of wagyu though because you can appreciate the pure flavour of the meat. It also looks sensational because when you slice the meat, it's a uniform pink all the way through the steak inside. Do not worry about it drying out or dropping its juices because it's on low heat ... It won't.

            I've actually done a test ... I cut a wagyu steak in half and did half on normal high searing heat method, and the other with the low heat method. I found the low heat method produced much better results for the reasons given above.

            1. Okay, so here's the report.

              Long story short--Wagyu (or at least this particular Wagyu) is just beef. Really good beef, but just beef nonetheless. So if you can cook a steak, and if you have a nearby butcher selling the stuff for a reasonable price, don’t worry about it, just go out and get some.

              FWIW, my best guess from looking at pictures on the 'net is that the marbling would put these steaks somewhere around BMS Grade 5 (on a scale of 1 to 12). There was lots of intramuscular fat—noticeably more than the ordinary USDA Prime ribeye next to it in the case—but the center of the steak was still far more red than white. (Wait a minute, did I just say "ordinary USDA Prime ribeye"? Wet noodle time.)

              Anyway, I went with the 90-second-per-side sear over high heat. Despite the short cooking time, the meat lost a LOT of fat; 2 pounds of steak generated maybe a quarter-cup of drippings. Which is probably why the butcher suggested cooking them in a pan instead of on the grill—flare-ups could potentially be a major problem.

              After a 5-minute rest in a 140F warming oven, the steaks had a nice crust on the outside and were very rare, but not blue, in the middle. At the rate they were losing fat, I wouldn’t cook them any further than rare; they might disappear. The flavor was outstanding, but not distinctive in any way. That is to say, the meat tasted like prime beef, only more so; I couldn't detect any special "Wagyu-ness." It was tender, but didn't melt in the mouth, and had all the bits of gristle you'll find in any normally-trimmed ribeye.

              This was definitely one of the better steaks I’ve ever had. And to think that according to the Japanese grading system it was just “Average” to “Good.” Wow. One of these days I’ll have to get my hands on some beef with a double-digit BMS grade, and get all nervous again. But in the meanwhile, with this stuff there’s nothing to be nervous about. Just don’t overcook it and everything will be fine.

              As to the rest of the meal, the Bordeaux worked well with the steak and was quite nice, although it’s still young—it needed to breathe for about 3 hours. And the sides were bonehead simple to make and were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Recipes (serve four) follow.

              Ginger-glazed carrots: Put a pound of carrots, a nub of butter, a pinch of salt, and a can of Hansen’s (or other HFCS-free) ginger ale in a small saucepan. Cook uncovered over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the ginger ale is reduced to a glaze.

              Creamed spinach: In a large sauce pan, sweat a chopped shallot in butter until softened. Add one pound of spinach and cook until wilted. Add ½ cup half-and-half and simmer uncovered over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to taste.