WHAT IS WAGYU?
The term Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle. In Japan, wa means “Japanese” and gyu means “cow." The genetics of Wagyu cattle date back 3500 years. This prized DNA gives them their signature intramuscular marbling.
Wagyu cattle are most famously from Kobe, but other types include Matsusaka Ushi, raised in and around Matsusaka city, and Ohmi, raised in the Shiga prefecture. Note that the name Kobe is reserved exclusively to describe cattle raised in the Kobe region of Japan. Wagyu cattle raised outside of Kobe must be identified as “Wagyu” or “Kobe-style.”
Wagyu beef is also known as “American-style Kobe beef,” which is the result of crossbreeding Japanese Wagyu cattle with continental breeds of cattle.
WHY IS WAGYU BEEF SO POPULAR?
In short: flavor. Thanks to the organogenetic traits of Japanese cattle, Wagyu beef boasts intense marbling – thin streaks of fat dispersed evenly throughout the meat. This translates to a more tender, flavorful cut of meat that can actually be cooked longer without getting too tough or dried out. Additionally, the fat found in Wagyu beef is healthier and of higher quality than other cuts of meat. It melts at a lower temperature, meaning that when you eat this type of beef, you’ll taste the fat much sooner.
WHAT DOES WAGYU BEEF TASTE LIKE?
You’ll find that it has a buttery, yet firm texture and lustrous, red color It's a very juicy style of beef with some serious umami flavor. Although it has a strong beefy taste, it’s more “sweet” than “greasy.”
HOW TO COOK WAGYU
Wagyu is one of the most prized (and pricey!) styles of beef out there, so it's important that you cook it properly! Below are a few tips:
1. Let it come to room temperature before cooking. Take the meat out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Season simply. To really taste the flavors of the meat, we suggest sticking with salt and pepper to start.
3. Fire up your grill (or skillet)! If using a skillet, turn on high heat.
4. Sear each side for three to four minutes, depending on how well you like them done. For a rarer cook, sear for about 3 minutes. For medium doneness, cook for about for four minutes per side.
5. Let 'em rest. Remove the pan and set aside to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to flow back through the meat.
Check out recipes for Bistecca alla Fiorentina – perfect for those porterhouse Wagyu cuts.
GET A TASTE AT YOUR LOCAL EATALY
Here at Eataly, we source our Wagyu from Snake River Farms. A prized cross between the famed Japanese Wagyu and American Angus, Snake River Farms’ American Wagyu are raised along the high plain of the Snake River in Eastern Idaho, a herd that's one of the most highly regarded groups of American Wagyu cattle in the world. Snake River Farms has adopted many aspects of the heritage-steeped Japanese feeding method which takes up to four times longer than traditional U.S. cattle production methods. The result is stunningly beautiful beef that’s extremely tender, intensely flavorful and a one-of-a-kind dining experience.