Wagyu is pronounced wah-gyoo, not wah-goo. Wagyu is a special kind of beef that is very rare and is always in hot pursuit by the most elite restaurants. It is expensive, luxurious, and is compared to caviar or black truffles, not in taste but luxury.
Wagyu means Japanese cow, but it is a cow that has been genetically enhanced to store fat in its muscles.
In a normal steak or slice of beef, you might be lucky to get a cut of fat on top or together with the beef. But with wagyu, it is different. The fat is internalized in the muscles, so every cut and slice is heavenly when grilled. There are different kinds of wagyu aside from the Japanese kind.
What does wagyu taste like? Wagyu is very flavorful with a buttery texture that can be attributed to the internalized fat. It has an umami-filled taste with a melt-in-your-mouth feel, an intense meaty feel with a sweet finish.
Wagyu is different from any other beef you have ever tasted. What sets it apart is because it has more marbling than any other kind of beef.
The taste of wagyu is very exclusive and is leagues ahead of normal beef. If you get a chance to take a bite, you would want that feeling to last forever.
Wagyu is a rare kind of beef, there are Japanese, American, and even Australian variants. We discuss how wagyu beef is produced, how you can use wagyu in the kitchen and what health benefits it holds for your body.
Nutritional Benefits of Wagyu
Wagyu should be given the award ‘Healthy and Wealthy’, if anything like that exists. Wagyu has three times more monounsaturated fats than ordinary beef. There are a few saturated fats in Wagyu and even that is different. 40% of the saturated fats in wagyu is stearic acid, this stearic acid is known to have a very minimal effect on raising cholesterol levels.
Wagyu beef is as healthy for the human body as olive oil or a fillet of Atlantic salmon. Wagyu is chocked full of essential vitamins, omega 6 and 3 oils, and many other nutrients. It contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per gram than any other food item. The CLA present in wagyu is 30% higher than that of normal beef.
Linoleic acid is a fatty acid with anti-carcinogenic properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties. All of these give wagyu the potential to reduce heart diseases, asthma, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Wagyu could also be responsible for a reduction in fat gain and facilitate an increase in the immune response.
Wagyu beef is a lump of cholesterol-friendly meat, it means that you can eat a considerable amount without having to worry about a spike in your cholesterol levels. Wagyu is filled with the same healthy fats you would find in nuts and olive oil.
Culinary Uses of Wagyu
Wagyu is undoubtedly one of the most delicious dishes you would ever taste. Its preparation is unique and different depending on the person handling the grill or stove. Wagyu is often confused with Kobe beef, But Kobe beef is a kind of wagyu although it is more exclusive than the ordinary wagyu.
This meat can be enjoyed raw, just rub some olive oil, spices, and seasoning and it is good to go. But, in order or to avoid illnesses from food poisoning it is better consumed when it is fully cooked. In most parts of Japan, various dishes feature raw wagyu beef.
Wagyu contains a lot of fat and melts as you cook it. So it advised that if you are not going to smoke it, don’t expose it to open flame on a grill.
Wagyu should be cooked in a no-stick pan with little or no oil under high intense heat. This would let the meat sear properly, the fat will render in the right manner and the juices from the meat would not be lost to the flames.
Where is Wagyu Made? How Do You Procure It?
Wagyu translates to Japanese Cow so it should give an idea of where it comes from. In Japan, there are four cattle breeds from which the wagyu beef is obtained. Before the Wagyu became as popular as we know it now, the Japanese used the wagyu as work animals because of their robust nature and physical endurance.
Now that wagyu have been identified for their exceptional texture, flavor, and taste, they are raised in a stress-free environment so that the cortisol created by stress would be almost non-existent.
Over the years, the wagyu breed has become so highly sought after that the Japanese government has banned exports of the cattle to other countries. This was not before countries like Australia and the US had the wagyu breed exported to their countries. Since then, other countries have had their mixed breed of wagyu. Now, Australia produces more wagyu bred for commercial purposes than any other country.
Wagyu can be a little hard to lay hands on, especially the Japanese wagyu. For the American wagyu, however, if you know the right slaughterhouse to go to, for the price of over $200 per pound, you could get some. It is hard for exclusive dining halls and restaurants to get their hands on the exclusive wagyu.
Do Wagyu Cows Drink Beer?
It may be a funny question, but wagyu cows are sometimes given beer to help induce their appetite. The wagyu cow is also massaged daily, sometimes with Japanese rice wine to help exercise those muscles and give that marbling that the wagyu is famously known for.
Facts You Don’t About The Wagyu
- Wagyu wa stands for Japanese, gyu means Cow.
- There was a USDA beef ban on wagyu for a while because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. But, wagyu came back stronger after the ban.
- The rearing of wagyu cows is done by passionate Japanese farmers. The cows are raised for longer than normal cattle, about 3 years when it takes 15 months to raise normal cattle.