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How to Cook Wagyu Steak – Basic tips for meat lovers

If you’ve wondered how to cook wagyu steak, I can confidently tell you that you’re missing a lot. Not only does it taste heavenly, but it’s also thought to be good for your health.

While our taste buds appreciate Wagyu, our wallets certainly don’t! Holy Grail, for instance, sells a 1-pound pack for $200. But after all, it can be considered as a worthy meal that you should treat yourself to from time to time.

Surely, you don’t want to spend that much and end up ruining the meat. That’s why I wrote this article. I’ll tell you the right method on how to cook Wagyu steak. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get going!

Step 1: Portion Your Servings

Taking a quick look at a piece of a Wagyu beef should tell you how full you’ll feel after eating it. The amount of fat it holds is starkly higher than any other beef. It’s not that harmful from a medical point of view, but it’ll certainly fill you up.

That said, if you normally eat 7 ounces of meat per serving, suffice by 1-2 ounces of Wagyu. This means that the 1-pound pack should be enough for around 10 people! It’s not that expensive, as it turns out.

Step 2: Store It Properly

Believe it or not, preparing Wagyu starts from the minute you lay your hands on the meat. Ideally, Wagyu steak should be delivered frozen in 100% sealed bags. You’ll want to get it immediately inside the freezer until it’s ready for use.

an open fridge door with food inside
Don’t leave your fridge open!

If you let it defrost, air might find its way inside the package. And this would be your first-class ticket to the dreadful freezer burns.

Step 3: Defrosting

Unlike most of the other steak, you should never defrost your Wagyu in room temperatures or inside a microwave (the horror!). Doing this would strip the steak of its unique fat and, by extension, flavor.

Instead, defrosting should be done inside the fridge. Keep the Wagyu steak inside its air-tight package and allow it to thaw for whatever duration it takes. Usually, it needs between 6 and 48 hours depending on your meat cut, weight, etc.

Step 4: Let It Sit in Room Temperature

Since fat is a perfect heat insulator, you can never cook Wagyu while it’s still cold. That would cause it to cook unevenly and maybe even burn in a couple of spots.

Therefore, remove your Wagyu steaks from the fridge 30 minutes to 1 hour before you begin cooking. I’d suggest 1 hour. It’s crucial to plan up ahead to avoid leaving your guests waiting for too long. However, don’t leave it longer than 2 hours, or else you’ll encourage bacterial growth

Step 5: Seasoning

a piece of raw steak on a board with salt on its top and next to it
Kosher salt, or any type of salt with large flakes will do the job just fine.

While you’re waiting for the meat to warm up, grab your salt and pepper shakers and sprinkle a bit over both surfaces.

Salting your meat isn’t only about flavor, though. When salt touches the meat fibers, it pulls out most of the surface moisture. Then, it diffuses inside the new spaces, carrying the juices deeper between the layers. This way, the buttery Wagyu texture will be slightly stiffer.

I don’t like forcing salt into the surface, though. This will turn the steak into stiff and lifeless meat that doesn’t differ much from our regular, cheaper meals.

Technically, you can marinate your Wagyu steak with whatever tasty seasonings you like. But if this is your first time eating this meat, I encourage you to stick to salt and pepper. Believe me you’ll end up enjoying the original taste more than any seasoning.

Step 6: Cut the Steak

Once the Wagyu gets warm and properly seasoned, you can grab your knife and start making your slices. I like keeping the width between 1/2 and 1 inch, while capping the length at 4 inches. But you can always adjust that based on how many people you’re serving.

Step 7: Preheat Your Skillet

Get your skillet ready and set the heat to medium-high. You can pour some sesame oil alongside 2 cloves of garlic to grease the skillet without noticeably changing the taste.

Alternatively, you can use a piece of your Wagyu’s fat. Searing the steak in its own juices is the ultimate trick behind an authentic taste.

As a side tip, whenever I lay my hands over an extra-fatty Wagyu, I always like to cut a piece and store in the freezer to savor that stunning taste with other meals.

Step 8: Sear Your Steak Strips

With your pan on medium-high temperature, sear the top and bottom sides of each strip for 3-4 minutes. Then, sear the sides for about 1 minute.

Technically, you can cook your Wagyu to any level of doneness that you prefer. But as a Wagyu expert, I can tell you that a medium-rare finish would be the tastiest. It leaves the insides with that creamy pink color the Wagyu is most famous for. Besides, cooking a steak to well-done levels destroys the soul of the meat.

Bonus: Avoid Poking Your Steak Too Much

Unlike most of the other meats, Wagyu should be left to sear in peace. Don’t keep poking it with tongs or flipping it with the spatula. Otherwise, you’ll “wring” most of the precious fats and juices out of your steak.

Alternatively, you can suffice by inspecting the color. You’ll know you’re done when the surface turns golden brown while leaving the inside colored in light pink.

If you want to be super-precise, you can entrust a meat thermometer with that mission. Aim for the following temperatures to get your desired finish:

  • 120 – 130 ºF for rare
  • 130 – 140 ºF for medium-rare
  • 140 – 150 ºF for medium

Step 9: Let It Rest

I know how hard it can be to sit patiently and stare at that marvelous Wagyu steak you just cooked. But I won’t be exaggerating if I said that this is a crucial step for an irresistible taste.

After cooking, a big percentage of your steak’s fat melts toward the surface. If you start eating right away, a large portion of those juices will be lost on your plate.

For that reason, you should wrap your steak in tinfoil and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to be absorbed back between the fibers.

how to cook wagyu steak
Let it rest! The meat will lose juices if you cut it up too quickly

Final Thoughts

Since Wagyu is rare, you probably won’t find it in your local store. In that case, I’d recommend trying Holy Grail.

The Kobe Wagyu A5 is their absolute best. Kobe cattle are undoubtedly the rarest Wagyu in the whole world. I also like the Miyazaki-Gyu Wagyu A5.

Now go on and flood Instagram with your tasty creations!

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

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