If you are a sous vide enthusiast or someone who digs steak, the term “wagyu,” probably has your mouth watering as it's celebrated for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and heavy marbling. However, it is also the most expensive beef in the world. Do you really know why you are dropping all those dollars for a steak, and what is the best way to cook it?
Wagyu means “Japanese cow” and it refers to four native breeds: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. Japanese A5 Wagyu is the highest grade that Wagyu beef can achieve and is typically reserved for cattle who are fed the best foods, and have had exceptional care during their raising. A5 refers to the yield, grading and marbling of the beef, and A5 is the top of the charts. Less than a tenth of a percent of beef produced in the world is A5 Wagyu!
I have been lucky enough to find a great source for A5 Wagyu. I didn't think there was such a thing as too much A5, but when I look in my freezer and realize I still have more, I'm starting to believe there could be such a thing as too much, but I know the perfect way to cook it, and I’m gonna tell you! But first, a little exploration into my discovery of my favorite food.
I love sushi and my favorite type is toro, the fatty belly of the tuna. I would search high and low for otoro (most fatty) and chutoro (medium fatty). Then a long time ago, I realized A5 Wagyu was the otoro of beef, with so much delicious fat. So I started on my quest for A5 wagyu, but seeing the cost (often upwards of $200/lb) made it difficult to acquire. Turns out a family friend is in the industry and the rest is history, so I'm able to buy in bulk at an amazing price, because of that, it allowed me to try cooking A5 Wagyu with every method available.
I've made A5 Wagyu steak tartare, cooked it over an open fire with charcoal, on a Himalayan salt block, straight on a cast iron pan, sous vide, as thin slices, as thick blocks, as cubes, and as a whole 1.5" steak and tried every cut: everything from ribeye, NY Strip, short ribs, brisket, etc.
What's ironic is people who like the precision that sous vide gives when cooking other meats, all of a sudden somehow believe because the high cost of the meat, their skills magically have become greater when cooking an expensive A5. So they say, just sear it on a pan. Well, when you sear an expensive cut or a cheap cut of meat you run the risk of it still being raw on the inside or overcooking it.
The precision that my Anova provides me allows me to guarantee 129°F end to end, meaning the meat and marbled fat throughout the meat is heated just to that “melt in your mouth butter” stage, and helps ensure I don't accidentally under or overcook the expensive wagyu. The meat doesn't "disappear" when you SV it.
So ignore the false information about not SV'ing A5 wagyu and feel comfortable when you sous vide it to know you're reducing the chance of you messing it up and still getting a perfectly cooked steak for the money you spent!
Here's my recipe for the best bites of beef ever
1. Set Anova Precision Cooker to 129°F / 53.9°C
2. Season steak with salt and pepper.
3. Place steak in resealable ziplock or vacuum bag.
4. Place in water bath and sous vide for 2 hours.
5. Remove from the water bath, and pat steak dry.
6. In a hot skillet, sear steak for 30-45 seconds on each side.
7. Slice, serve, eat and upload pics to Instagram!
Check out the full recipe here!