Native to Japan, Wagyu beef is a luxury type of beef with premium flavor. Wagyu is pronounced wah-gyoo, and means "Japanese cow" in Japanese. What makes Wagyu beef stand out is its high fat content, known as marbling, as well as its umami flavor. The fat content is different in Wagyu beef than regular steak because the cow metabolizes fat internally with Wagyu beef, making the fat integrated with the muscle. The Japanese meaning behind Umami is "pleasant savory taste", and is a unique taste that can be rare to find in foods.
There are four different breeds of cows in Japan that fall under Wagyu beef: Japanese Polled, Japanese Shorthorn, Japanese Brown, and Japanese Black, which is the most popular breed exported to the US. There is American-raised Wagyu beef, but the cows are crossbred of Japanese Wagyu and black angus. Full bred Wagyu only come from Japan. This doesn't mean American-raised Wagyu beef will taste worse than the Japanese breed, but American-raised Wagyu will have less marbling and have less of a buttery taste. Wagyu beef is also raised in a stress-free environment so they're less likely to release stress hormones such as cortisol that negatively affects the quality of the beef.
Because of Wagyu beef's significant marbling, people don't generally eat a whole steak of it, like an angus steak. Wagyu is served in portions, but a whole steak of it can cost around $100 to $200, and an ounce can cost $25 or more, so it's definitely more suitable if you have a bigger budget.
Cooking Wagyu Beef
Wagyu can be cooked on a non-stick pan using medium or high temperature, with no oil or butter needed because of its high fat content. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes, then rest the steak on a warm plate so the meat can relax and the juices can settle. Below are some appliances that would be useful for cooking Wagyu beef.
Also featuring infrared burners, this 36 inch built-in natural gas grill uses stainless steel grill grates along with ceramic briquettes for even heat distribution. Viking's patented ProSear burner goes up to 23,000 BTUs and is ideal for delicate foods such as Wagyu.