How to Cook Wagyu Beef
Wagyu: It's What Should Be for Dinner
If you eat meat - especially beef - chances are that you have had a bad steak. Sometimes, it's the cook on the steak that's responsible, such as leaving it on the grill too long. Sometimes, however, it's cut and type of beef.
Get the wrong one and you could find yourself reaching for steak sauce to mask the flavor. That where Wagyu beef excels. Not only is it a great cut, but it's a forgiving one as well and this is how you cook Wagyu beef.
Before we jump into the cooking and preparing process, let me explain shortly what is wagyu beef, where does it come from and why it is so special.
If you want to jump straight to the cooking and preparing process, you can use the quick navigation table down below or by clicking here.
Table of Contents
- What is Wagyu Beef?
- How to Prepare Wagyu Beef for Cooking
- How to Season Wagyu Beef Prior to Cooking
- Pan-seared Wagyu Delmonico Steak Recipe
- How to Cook Wagyu Steaks in the Oven
- How to Oven Broil Wagyu Steak
- How to Grill Wagyu Steak
- Wagyu Steak Cooking Times
- Wagyu Doneness Chart
- Wagyu Roasting Times
- Wagyu Cooking Tips
- How to Reheat Wagyu Leftovers
- Final Thoughts
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu is actually what beef is called in Japanese. Wa (Japanese Style) and Gyu (Japanese for beef). (Source: Wikipedia)
There are four main breads, namely Japanese Brown, Japanese Black, Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn.
Japanese Black is prized for its intensive marbling while Japanese Brown is a more leaner, healthier breed, commonly known for its light and mild taste.
Japanese Shorthorn is also a lean version but is rich in inosinic and glutamic acid while the Japanese Polled in known for a gamier texture and a meaty taste.
Usually, the most common one and the most used is the Japanese Black cattle.
Why is Wagyu Beef so Expensive?
One of the main factors that makes the Wagyu Beef so expensive is the effort and work required to grow and produce such kind of beef.
The difference of Wagyu Beef with other common beef is the selection, care, feeding and obsessive efforts of Wagyu breeders. They can create special feeds out of grasses, forage, rice straw, corn, barley, soybean, wheat bran and sometimes even beer or sake.
Also, it is said that some breeders would even massage their cattle to release the muscle tension caused by cramped spaces.
All this effort and breeding methods from the breeders turn out to produce a high marbling beef.
Wagyu fat can easily melt at lower temperatures compared to other cattle's beef, giving it a very rich, buttery flavor, very different from other kind of beef.
The most expensive and the best variety of Wagyu is the 'Kobe beef'.
- Also Read: How Wagyu Cattle is Raised in Japan (External)
How to Prepare Wagyu Beef for Cooking
When it comes to cooking, no special tricks required when cooking Wagyu Delmonico Steak. You only have to keep in mind or consider a few things and make sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Things to Consider Before Cooking Wagyu
If you have done your time behind the grill or at the stovetop, you probably have a good grasp on how to make a steak. Wagyu steaks are really no different, although you will need a two-step process.
With some cuts of beef, even those from Wagyu beef cattle, you will want to create a marinade. Some cuts, like skirt steak, flank steak, and top round steak, actually benefit from marinating for a few hours to a day because it helps to break up the fibers in the meat and make the cuts more tender.
However, for many steak cuts, like the Delmonico we're talking about today, you don't want to marinate it. In fact, you don’t even want to overly season it. If you like grilling your steaks, you can do that with Wagyu steaks, but it's a little bit of overkill.
For this lesson on how to cook Wagyu beef, all we need is a cast-iron or carbon-steel pan, some basic seasoning, a little butter, some space on the stove, and a warm oven.
If you want to read a full list with Wagyu Cooking Tips, you can scroll down or click here to jump directly.
How to Season Wagyu Beef Prior to Cooking
Although we will only use salt and freshly ground black pepper for this recipe - because this allows the flavor of the steak come through without being masked by other flavors - you can add a small amount of spices when you are seasoning the steaks.
For example, you could add a 1/2 teaspoon of either onion powder or garlic powder (or substitute garlic salt or onion salt for the sea or kosher salt). A pinch of paprika, especially Hungarian paprika, or cumin would work as well.
However, make sure to avoid herbs - both fresh and dried - as they can end up being burned bits during the cooking process.
Pan-seared Wagyu Delmonico Steak Recipe
20-30 Min (Inc. Rest Time)
- 2 Steaks - 10-12 Ounce Wagyu Delmonico (Bone-in Rib Eye), 3/4 Inch Thick
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
Step 1: Remove the steaks from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking time to allow them to come up to room temperature
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Pat the steaks dry with paper towel.
Step 4: Season both sides of each steak liberally with salt and black pepper or you can use the seasoning recipe mentioned earlier in this article.
Step 5: Set a large, well-seasoned cast-iron or carbon-steel pan on the stove on medium-high heat.
Step 6: Add just a bit vegetable oil and coat the pan with it. Heat until the oil begins to shimmer.
Step 7: Add the steaks, placing them one at a time away from you into the pan. Sear on one side for five minutes untouched.
Step 8: Turn the steaks over to the other side of the meat using tongs (never pierce a steak with a fork).
Step 9: Place the pan into the oven and cook the steaks for about 6-7 Minutes for Rare (125°F), 8-10 Minutes for Medium-Rare (135°F), and 10 Minutes for Medium (150°F). (Scroll Down or Click here to jump to the full Wagyu Cooking Times Table)
Note: If you like your steak cooked past medium, you might want to choose a lesser cut of meat as anything past medium results in a dry, less flavorful steak.
Step 10: Remove the steaks from the oven, add the butter, and turn the steaks over several times off heat so that they can soak in the butter.
Remove the steak from the pan and plate, letting them rest for five minutes to allow for any carryover cooking before serving.
How to Cook Wagyu Steaks in the Oven
The upper-mentioned recipe is the recommended method to make the most out of the Wagyu Beef/Steak. But, if you like more an oven roasted Wagyu Steak, then this quick step-by-step recipe will come in handy. This is very similar to the previous recipe but is more focused on letting the steak cook more in the Oven than in pan.
Note: This way of cooking may be necessary when your steak is too thick to cook while pan searing.
Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Start by pan searing the steak in both sides until it has a golden crust.
Step 3: Then, place the steak and the pan in the oven.
Step 4: Cook in the oven for about 4 minutes and check the temperature frequently. Cook it until it reaches the desired internal temperature. (Full Table with Cooking Temperatures & Times can be found down below)
Step 5: Have in mind to remove from the oven a couple of degrees less than the recommended point. The steak needs to rest and the internal temperature will rise about 5-10 degrees while resting.
How to Oven Broil Wagyu Steak
Step 1: Turn On the Oven with the Broiler option and set the temperature to High. Wait for a few minutes until it reaches the optimal temperature.
Step 2: Meanwhile, you can season your steak with the needed seasoning and then place it on a broiler pan. Place the pan into the oven, directly under the broiler.
Step 3: Let it cook for about 4-5 Minutes, or until you are sure the steak has formed a golden even crust. Do the same with the other side.
Step 4: Check the internal temperature and remove it from the oven when the desired doneness is reached. (See the table down below for a detailed cooking temperature graph)
Step 5: After you remove the steak from the oven, let it rest for a few minutes before you serve it. This way, you let the inner juices incorporate better, making the steak more juicy and tastier.
How to Grill Wagyu Steak
While charcoal grilling is not the best method for cooking this type of steak, there are some smoke enthusiast out there who like to try new things. Follow the directions down below for grilling your Wagyu steak.
Step 1: Start by placing the steak on the heated grill. You should aim for a 45° Angle and should not allow the fire to come through the grates. Let it grill for about 2-3 minutes or until the nice grill marks are formed. Repeat the same process for the other side.
Step 2: After grilling at a 45° Angle, now you should rotate the steak at a 90° angle. This rotation will produce the famous diamond mark presentation. Cook at a 90° angle for about 2-3 minutes at each side.
Note: If smoke or fire start to come off the steak, then it is charring. Don't let it happen for too long. It is better to turn the steak frequently than not enough.
Step 3: Now that the steak has nice grill marks, change the steak placement to a cooler spot on the grill. The steak will continue to cook even on this spot and make sure to turn it every 2-3 minutes to ensure a even cooking on both sides.
Wagyu Steak Cooking Times
1/2 In Thick
3 Min + 2 Min
4 Min + 2 Min
3/4 In Thick
4 Min + 2 Min
4 Min + 3 Min
5 Min + 3 Min
1 In Thick
5 Min + 3 Min
5 Min + 4 Min
6 Min + 4 Min
1 1/4 In Thick
5 Min + 4 Min
6 Min + 5 Min
7 Min + 5 Min
1 1/2 In Thick
6 Min + 4 Min
7 Min + 5 Min
7 Min + 6 Min
1 3/4 In Thick
7 Min + 5 Min
8 Min + 6 Min
8 Min + 7 Min
Wagyu Doneness Chart
Wagyu Roasting Times
Red with Cold, Soft Centre
Red with Warm, Firm Centre
Pink and Firm Centre
Pink Line in Centre + Firm
Gray-Brown + Completely Firm
Wagyu Cooking Tips
Here are some extra cooking tips to have in mind when trying to cook a Wagyu Steak:
Avoid Charcoal Grilling Wagyu Steaks
For Wagyu Steaks it is recommended to avoid charcoal grilling. The best way to cook such steak is by pan searing. Choose a ceramic, non-stick pan with a griddle when possible. The griddles will help you to keep the steak above the melted marbling fat and also adds the signature grill lines.
Cook Steak to Medium and Avoid Under Cooking
In order for the Wagyu beef to reach its maximum flavour point, heat should penetrate through all the marbling. You can sear each side first on high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the steak to be cooked under the reduced heat for about 3-5 minutes each side. (See the tables below for a detailed cooking times based on the steak thickness)
Serve Wagyu Steaks on Warmed Plates
On trick you can try to maximize the taste of the steak is to serve it on pre-warmed plates. Doing so, will allow the steak to stay warm and the marbling fat remains at its peak flavour point.
Don't Cook Directly After Refrigerator
It is recommended to remove your Wagyu one hour before cooking from the refrigerator and bring it to the room temperature. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly and faster.
Don't Forget to Rest It
Remove your Wagyu just before it is fully cooked, wrap it in foil and let it rest in a warm place for about 5 minutes if you are cooking steaks and 15-20 minutes if you are cooking roasts.
The wrapping while it is still warm will allow the temperature to rise by a couple degrees and resting will allow the juices to redistribute evenly, making it more tender and juicy.
What to Do If My Steak Is Brown Color?
Brown color is actually very common on frozen steaks. This happens because of a lac of oxygen. Once you thaw it, the steak should eventually return to a nice red color.
How to Thaw Wagyu Steak?
While for other steak can be actually good to cook without thawing, when it comes to Wagyu, it is best to thaw it before use.
The best way to thaw Wagyu Steak is by placing it in the refrigerator and waiting for it to slowly thaw. If your Wagyu comes in vacuum packaging, don't remove it when placed in the refrigerator.
Another way to thaw Wagyu is by using water. Again, you should keep the vacuum package and only apply Cold water. This will speed up the thawing process.
How to Reheat Wagyu Leftovers
There's something about taking a bite of a well-cooked, high-quality cut of steak that almost borders on ecstasy. Just like an artist, when you start with a quality medium, you are well on your way to having a great result. That’s what you get when you prepare, season, and cook a cut of Wagyu beef the right way.
If you have leftovers, which may not be the case, the best way of how to cook Wagyu beef the next day is set your oven on low (200°F), place the steak in a small steel or cast-iron pan that is lightly oiled, and let it slowly come up to temperature. If you like it rare, you should heat it until it is about 120°F and medium to about 130°F. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for five minutes to allow for carryover cooking again before devouring what's left.
Know you learned how to cook Wagyu beef. Knowing how to properly cook Wagyu is a must if you are a steak/meat enthusiast like me. It is not very different from other commonly used steaks.
If you have in mind all the upper mentioned cooking methods and tips, you will make sure you won't have a bad steak ever again and you won't compromise the quality of this expensive cut.
I usually enjoy this delicious steak with some potato puree/gratin which balances the rich flavor of the meat and some Pinot Noir wine which also works great with the extra fat found in Wagyu.
Let me know in the comment section down below about your experience in cooking Wagyu.