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American Wagyu - Part 1

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    American Wagyu - Part 1

    I've noticed recently in various venues here in the Houston area, that we're starting to see a lot of American Wagyu beef. I'm seeing it in specialty shops, at the butcher and even whole sections of the meat counter at the grocery store. As it becomes mainstream, I think you're going to start seeing it as an everyday, upscale offering like that of Prime and Choice cuts of beef.

    One thing that obviously jumps out at you is the price. It's a cut above Prime in moist cases as you would expect it to be. But is it really that much better than Prime? I'm beginning to buy some of these cuts to satisfy my own curiosity. It's easy to read a review in a forum and listen to the superlatives, but how much of that is subjective hype?

    Let's begin by defining what American Wagyu is. I'm not going to go into a long explanation, most of us either know or have heard of it by now. American beef growers started importing Japanese Wagyu bulls as far back as 1976 to cross-breed with Angus and other domestic breeds of cattle. Since then there have been a number of different strains that have come out of close to 45 years of breeding. So truly defining what exactly American Wagyu is and what the standards are seems confusing at best. If interested here's an article that sums up the breed.

    American Wagyu

    So back to my quest, I decided to begin to seek out some of the various ranches here in Texas an try their meat. Some have seen the reviews on the A Bar N products that are being sold. Others, like Imperial, have some interesting looking offerings. For this review I've chosen a smaller ranch outside of San Antonio to showcase a really good looking tri-tip I bought from a specialty store here in my area. The name of the ranch is Peeler Farms out of Floresville, Texas. Here's the packaged product, you can see the price I paid for what should be a superior cut of meat.

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    After the obligatory salt brining overnight, I decided to bag my prize and SVQ it. Tri-tips, due to their shape, can be a little tricky to cook medium rare all the way through. SVQ gives you the best shot at accomplishing that. Here it is pre-bath looking good.....

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    So into the bath at 130* for about 3.5 hours. I gave it a 30 minute cool down in some ice water and place it into the refrigerator to sear it off later on that day. When the time came I got out my Jumbo Joe (aka "Joey") and loaded him up with about 3/4 of a chimney of white hot coals. Cooked the roast indirect until it got up to about 105* IT then gave it a nice reverse sear. After resting for about 20 minutes we carved it and ate.

    Now for the verdict and the money shots. First of all when carving (and some of you know what I mean here) I hit a tough membrane that occurred between the bottom of the meat and the fat cap. It was tough, I mean shoe leather tough. I knew immediately that portion of the steak was going to be a problem. As yes in about half the roast there was this sinewy, tough membrane that chewed like bubble gum when encountered. It got to where I just had to cut away the bottom portion of each slice to avoid it.

    The meat itself was very tender other than that. Was it superior to Prime? No way. In fact the Prime tri-tips we usually get from Costco are superior at half the price. So given that a portion of the roast (maybe 12-14%) was inedible and the rest was just good but not great, I give this offering a low grade. Especially given the outrageous price I paid.

    If I had bought this directly from Peeler Farms I would probably give them a call. I think; however, that I'll move on to other offerings. This was a one and done for me. Next up is an A Bar N American Wagyu brisket I have wet aging in my fridge. At the very least enjoy the money shots, overall it was a very good piece of meat despite the obvious hidden flaws, just not worth the price I paid.


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    #2
    Nice wright up Steve. Haven’t seen much of these so called American waygu cuts in my neck of the woods. However I will probably steer away from them. Part on your review and partly because I don’t see exactly just how much better it will be as opposed to a prime cut.

    Comment


      #3
      Very nice Steve. Your pic are always mouth watering. I have always bought at least prime or better. I need to do some comparison cooking like you, or better yet let you do all the work! Great write up, thank you.
      By the way are you going pro on us? The new Avatar and the logo on the cutting board looks great.

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not sure what I'm doing. Trying to attract some attention in other venues, maybe a website. We'll see.

      • Steve B
        Steve B commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah. Troutman When are you gonna get those stickers going?? 😁👍👍

      #4
      To my knowledge waygu beef has not cracked the market here in the GTA don’t know about else where.
      Anyway the brillianteens would probably grind it up into hamburger anyway
      Troutman Thank you for the informative read

      Comment


      • Davek8282
        Davek8282 commented
        Editing a comment
        Kingsway Wagyu is in. a lot of the Loblaws in the GTA. I found a horrendously expensive tomahawk rib eye steak at Costco in Prince George. Made me search the Kingsway Wagyu label. I had to work this Fathers Day but it is on the menu next weekend when I go to visit my daughter and granddaughter. And Grandpa will be doing the cooking. If you go to the Kingsway Wagyu company website they list the Loblaws they are selling in.

      • smokin fool
        smokin fool commented
        Editing a comment
        Davek8282 Thank you, I did not know Loblaws was selling waygu beef but in all honesty it hasn't even been on my radar.
        The Erin Mills location is 10 mins south of me, one day will go take a look.

      #5
      It’s not necessarily all about marbling. I think genetics and how they’re raised also make a big difference. The only American wagyu I’ve had is Snake River Farms. Their beef tastes fantastic and is far superior to Costco prime. My local grocery store sells SRF and their northwest beef as well, Double R ranch. The Double R ranch beef is fantastic as well. The choice cuts are much better, in my opinion, than prime beef at Costco.

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Agree some of the big names like SRF are selling superior product. The problem does lie in the genetics and the amount of actual wagyu that comes in the strain. That's why this series. I'm seeing wagyu, but how much of that is barely wagyu and how much is not. The mouth will tell you quickly !!!

      #6
      Steve,
      Thank you for sharing this with us. Very productive and insightful. I haven’t seen much wagyu beef offerings in regular markets in my neck of the woods, perhaps it’s just a matter of time for these types of cuts to become mainstream.

      Good to hear you still find Costco as a dependable source for prime beef. I too depend on them when sourcing quality products.

      Very nice new logo, excellent pro level photography and write up.
      Cheers,
      Ricardo

      Comment


        #7
        I've tried it, and I agree with you on it not being worth it. But, absolutely stunning money shots! Troutman nails it, as usual!

        Comment


          #8
          The problem, I think, is severalfold.

          First, good prime is damn hard to beat.

          Second, 'American Wagyu' is fast becoming the 'Black Angus' of this era. Supposedly a cut above (ha!) but so devoid of any defined meaning that it's just a marketing term.

          Third, real, A5 wagyu isn't really meant to be cooked and eaten like we do. It's meant to be savored almost as a delicacy, like caviar or something. Serious Eats did a comparative tasting of it and it's SO rich that it was actually hard for them to do: https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/12/...t-have-to.html

          Amusingly, $14/lb for wagyu tri-tip would be a bargain here so value is kind of hard to judge.


          PS: Found this interesting... https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/05/...ice-steak.html
          Last edited by rickgregory; June 21, 2020, 01:30 PM.

          Comment


            #9
            Nice report and beautiful presentation for serving. Glad you're taking some "arrows" for the team. I haven't ventured too far in that direction, though a couple weeks ago I spotted a package in the case at our local HEB of some plate ribs. Not the best cut to judge by, but it intrigued me none the less. They were priced at just a dollar more per pound than the regular stocked equivalents, probably select grade beef. I ended up smoking them for about 4 hours and they were very tender and quite juicy. They were probably worth the small premium paid, but not much more than that, and as I said, not the easiest cut to use for comparison. Click image for larger version

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            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              I have those in the queue as well. Bought some yesterday at HEB. Those are from a Imperial. What did you think?

            • Uncle Bob
              Uncle Bob commented
              Editing a comment
              They had good flavor, and ended up nicely tender. They're trimmed pretty tight, a couple shiners, so not an abundance of meat, but good between the bones and on the ends. I wouldn't go out of my way to get more or use them to do a "wow" feed, but they were not a disappointment either.

            #10
            Very informative - great write up. Thanks Troutman. PS, love the logo

            Comment


              #11
              Thanks for the write up. Not sure I’ll ever go there, a little too rich for my blood. Of course, I pay up for all kinds of other things like pocket knives and rods and reels lol

              Comment


                #12
                Great write-up. My A bar N didn't have the tough membrane, let me know how your A bar N cooks. You went the extra mile with the board sauce, I was in a hurry and just seared, then low and slow. Still turned out great.

                I have done 4 wagyu briskets from HEB. Almost twice the price of their prime @ $6/lb but they have been amazing. Worth the extra? Matter of opinion. Prime is </= $4/lb. but when the wagyu was tasted side by side with a Franklin brisket (@ $25/lb cooked) there was little difference. Taught me that the quality of the meat is one of the most important parts about making great brisket. I only use wagyu brisket when trying to impress people. For myself HEB prime is fine.

                I still have the A bar N flat iron steak and skirt steak to try. Maybe I'll get around to them in the next month.
                Last edited by 58limited; June 21, 2020, 02:45 PM.

                Comment


                • Troutman
                  Troutman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Looking forward to your report.

                #13
                Great review! And well played on the tri-tip. I love SVQ!

                Comment


                  #14
                  have you tried Heartland beef Akuashi wagyu? I do d it to be fantastic. Most of the time I prefer the deep beefy and better chew of Prime, but I often buy their wagyu for a change-up. I have seen wagyu that is less marbled than good prime, and I have also seen some that look unreal. As usual, I shop with my eyes and by feel and not just label. Sometimes you can even score fantastic no-roll beef as well.

                  Comment


                  • texastweeter
                    texastweeter commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Troutman never ordered straight from their site, Fresh carry's it here in the butcher shop. Top quality stuff.

                  • Troutman
                    Troutman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    texastweeter Actually its HeartBrand but yes they have some good looking stuff. It's also sky high in price, like SRF type pricing. I may order a steak and see how it is. I plan to make this a series highlighting Texas American Wagyu beef. Next up is A Bar N wagyu brisket !!

                  • texastweeter
                    texastweeter commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Great subject to write up on. Keep me informed.

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