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Meat Tips: How to Cook Wagyu Beef

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Meat Tips: How to Cook Wagyu Beef
Photo Lil' Dee / Flickr

Whether it’s Japanese, American or even British-reared wagyu beef, it’s all pretty special stuff. If you know a great butcher who can supply the meat, you’re really in luck. But when it comes to cooking wagyu at home, you need to take extra special care not to spoil it and ruin an expensive piece of meat.

The trick is in the timing. Wagyu is heavily marbled with monounsaturated fat, which melts at a much lower temperature than normal steak fat. That means wagyu tends to cook around 30 percent quicker than regular beef. Cook your steak for too long and you’ll melt all the fat, leaving you with something chewy, dry and uninspiring. A waste of your hard earned money.

Since wagyu is so expensive, you might choose to cook it the Japanese way - in small thin slices, either on a hot yaki-niku grill over a direct flame, or by the shabu-shabu method in boiling oily stock. It will only need a few seconds to cook.

But if you prefer your steak traditional, thick and medium rare, a pre-heated cast iron skillet is what you’ll need. Wagyu doesn’t need much in the way of seasoning - perhaps a small sprinkle of sea salt, ground black pepper and a smattering of olive oil. Sear the steak for around one or two minutes (depending on thickness) on both sides before placing it in the oven for around 8 minutes.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But if you’re petrified of seeing your wagyu beef investment going up in flames, you could always choose not to cook it at all. Japanese style wagyu steak tartare is every bit as good as seared steak. Just mince the meat and mix with a raw egg yolk, some sea salt and pepper, finely chopped spring onions and a dash of soy sauce. "Oishi" as they say in Japan.

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