This is the steak of all steaks. Japanese. A5. Wagyu. Few have the opportunity to savor this rarity … which is why we are excited to offer it to you. For the connoisseur who has tried the best of everything, our Wagyu ribeye steak sets a new bar. Treat yourself to a memorable experience – or give the ultimate gift. Read on for more details.
Why Makes Japanese Beef So Special?
It’s all about the breeding. Being isolated on islands, the Wagyu cattle were interbred, which created a pure and unique stock. The characteristics of the breed are high marbling, tenderness, and palatability, and herds were developed with an emphasis on quality.
Wagyu cattle produce consistently marbled, low-cholesterol beef, recognized as the world’s finest, unmatched in flavor, tenderness, and overall eating quality. The breed was closed to outside bloodlines in 1910, and ever since, the Japanese Wagyu Registry has monitored it closely and kept meticulous genetic and growth data on all cattle. Japan has even classified the Wagyu as a national treasure.
How Japanese Beef is Graded
In Japan, beef meat is judged on several criteria, including the ratio of meat, the intensity of marbling, fat color, and muscle color. A carcass must meet the highest standard of all of these elements to receive the coveted A5 score. It’s first categorized into the three grades, A, B, and C, based on the ratio of meat to the total weight of the carcass.
To be given “A” grade, the ratio must be 72% or higher (“B” is 69% and above, “C” is under 69%). Next, the meat is ranked on the BMS marbling scale from 1-12 (where a 1 has no marbling and a 12 has extreme marbling). Wagyu labeled A5 has a marbling score of 8-12 (A4 is 5-7, A3 is 3-4, and so on).
Many of the farmers raise only four Wagyu cattle at a time – to exacting specifications – which means the cattle receive a lot of attention and personalized care. These Japanese beef masters have developed protocols which, like many things in Japan, have been taken to the level of art.
The Black Kuroge cattle are humanely raised for close to three years, first on grass and then in the traditional Japanese fashion: on a proprietary diet devised by the individual farmers, with incremental amounts of barley, vegetables, greens, and silage. The diet builds on the breed’s natural propensity to exquisite and abundant marbling. The farmers provide a stress-free environment, and never use antibiotics, hormones or growth stimulants.
To protect cattle bloodlines, breeding is thoroughly controlled. All calves are affixed with an individual identification number and information like the date and place of birth, and the bloodline of the parents.
Cooking A5 Wagyu Steak
Whatever you do, never overcook this Wagyu beef. Keep it rare, or you will lose too much of the precious fat. You may be surprised that a serving size for Wagyu beef this rich is only 3 – 4 ounces; think of it as the beef equivalent of foie gras.
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator and its packaging about 30 minutes before you begin to cook, bringing the meat to room temperature. After about 20 minutes of exposure to fresh air, the meat regains a bright, rosy color. This natural process is called “blooming” and is normal.
Preheat a heavy pan over medium-high heat.
- Trim a small piece of fat from the steak to grease the pan. Dry steak on both sides with a paper towel. Cut the steak into slices roughly double the width of the thickness of the steak. Season sparingly with sea salt.
- Using tongs, lightly grease the pan with the trimmed fat. When the fat smokes, your pan is preheated enough to cook.
- Place the slices in the pan without crowding (cooking in batches, if necessary) and sear until a chestnut brown crust forms, about 60 seconds. Turn each piece over and sear about 30-45 seconds, repeat until all 4 sides are browned. Your beef should register around 120 degrees F for rare to medium-rare. The goal is to create a flavorful crust while just warming the interior.
- Rest your cooked beef for 5 minutes before serving.
- Before cooking, allow the steak to come to room temperature, causing the fine network of fat to warm up. You will be searing it for such a short time that some of the fat might still be cold if you do not take this step.
Let it rest a moment (it’s still virtually raw inside, so not too long). You could also char the exterior of the beef with a torch, leaving the inside rare.
Many chefs cut A5 Wagyu into carpaccio and serve it raw. For the beef to be cut wafer-thin requires that it be very cold before you slice it. Chefs often freeze it for a short time to ensure the desired carpaccio thinness.
Get your Wagyu A5 ribeye steak at dartagnan.com and plan for a memorable meal. These steaks are shipped in a D’Artagnan insulated gift bag and include a card with information about Wagyu and directions for cooking it.