Flavor, texture, and quality are key when it comes to premium beef. That’s what you’ll get with wagyu beef, which is touted for its incredible flavor, buttery tenderness, and juiciness. It’s been referred to as the world’s most luxurious steak and is unlike any other beef you’ve had before.
The origins of wagyu beef
Wagyu beef originated in Japan – in fact, “wa” means Japan and “gyu” means cow in Japanese. There are four breeds of Japanese cattle that are considered wagyu: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown (also called Japanese Red), Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn, with Japanese Black being the most common wagyu.
All of these breeds are horned, medium-sized, black or red in color, and are genetically predispositioned to store fat within their muscle fibers. This means there will be exceptionally more marbling throughout the meat than what you’ll find in other types of beef, and that’s what makes wagyu so special.
These cows are raised by specialty breeders and can cost as much as $30,000 each. Wagyu farmers raise happy, stress-free cattle, allowing them to roam and graze in pastures, and the cows typically eat three meals a day consisting of high-energy ingredients like hay, grain, and wheat.
Types of wagyu beef
There are two types of wagyu: American and A5 Japanese. Because wagyu has traditionally been highly sought after, Japan restricted exports of the cattle until a period between 1975 and 1997, when they allowed a small number to be exported. It was during this time that American cattle farmers imported wagyu, and although some have been certified to raise full-blooded Wagyu cattle, the majority of American wagyu has been crossbred, typically with Angus cattle.
A5 Japanese wagyu is purebred, more strictly regulated, and has a sweet umami flavor. But that doesn’t mean that American wagyu isn’t delicious – it’s just less rich and doesn’t quite melt in your mouth like the Japanese wagyu.
How to cook wagyu beef
Cooking wagyu beef is similar to cooking other kinds of beef. Grilling is the most common and preferred method so that the meat will remain juicy and absorb a smoky flavor. When it’s not grilling season, you can also grease a pan with butter and sear the meat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Whichever way you choose to prepare it, be sure to season ahead of time and keep it simple with only salt and pepper so you don’t overpower the flavor of the meat. And don’t overcook it – medium-rare to medium is best. Once the meat has reached its desired temperature (145 degrees F for medium-rare, 160 degrees F for medium), remove from the heat and let the meat rest before slicing and serving to ensure that the juices will distribute evenly.
Find wagyu beef at Farmer Joe’s in Cape Coral
Traditionally it’s been difficult to find wagyu, but you don’t have to look any further than Farmer Joe’s Fresh Market! We proudly carry this prized, highest-quality beef. While you’re here, pick up some potatoes, mushrooms, or broccoli and some salad fixings to go with it, and grab a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, or your favorite smooth red wine. You’ll wonder why you ever went to a steakhouse before. After you’ve had wagyu, you just might have a hard time going back to any other kind of beef.