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A few words (and photos) about Wagyu steak

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    A few words (and photos) about Wagyu steak

    I’ve been thinking about this one for almost a week. It’s a hard one to write, and when I’m done you might know why, or you might be just as puzzled as I am.

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    These are the Wagyu steaks I got from Allen Brothers. There were circumstances that allowed me this luxury, and these are the “snow beef”, I could look up the province and all that but who cares. I saved them to have as appetizers for our Christmas rib roast, but there were only five of us, so I only prepared one of them, the upper one. They are 10 oz each.

    Yeah, just like you read about, when they thaw they are almost oily, the fat gets like jelly. I let it get to room temperature; you don’t just cook a $150 steak without doing a lot of reading and watching a lot of videos, and that seemed to be the right thing to do. Most suggestions say to cook to medium; not medium rare, not scorched on the outside and raw on the inside. All I did was salt it, no pepper.

    This was pretty easy to do, using a cast iron skillet. I didn’t time anything, I didn’t temp it, I just cooked it until it looked medium. Flip, flip, flip, flip, every few seconds, until it looked medium.

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    It should be pretty clear by now, after all these years here, that I’m pretty basic, not a fancy pants guy. I took a sharp knife and cut the steak into strips, cut those strips in half, and got out my finest Chinet, along with a couple dozen toothpicks.

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    This last photo ticks me off, I usually take a decent shot. This was supposed to show the doneness. Trust me, it’s medium; pink center, no red.

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    Was it good? Hell yes. Was it everything that all the buzz and all the talk and all the anticipation led me to believe? HELL NO.

    It’s beef. Really, really good beef. Excellent beef. It feels different. But it tastes like beef. Everyone loved it. But no one was rolling their eyes back into their head. You know how you read, “Oh, you can’t eat a whole steak, it’s too rich, you feel full after just a few ounces!” Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s bull**. I could eat a whole one of those easy. And you could, too. And then eat the prime rib. Everyone ate a couple ounces of Wagyu, and then had salad, baked potato, broccoli, and a huge honkin’ slice of USDA prime rib roast. And then chocolate cream pie, fer chrissakes.

    Who knows. Maybe I did it wrong? Maybe I should have charred it more, started it cold and have it redder in the middle? I don’t think so. The texture was there, the sort of sponginess that you can’t tell from a photo. It certainly wasn’t dried out, you can see in the last photo how fatty it still was. Maybe thicker steaks? Maybe. I have the other one, I can try it the next time we can have folks over, and I have three more that I picked up at Wegman’s that are equally marbled.

    I don’t have any idea how to sum this up. It was great, but it wasn’t anywhere near as different and as spectacular as I had expected. Given a flat out preference, price independent, I’d still take a good prime steak without blinking; and price dependent, I would tell anyone that they should eat it if it’s free, because, hey: free Wagyu! But they aren’t missing anything if they decide to keep their $100+ in their pocket.

    I’ll try this for the tl/dr version: great steak, but disappointing.

    See what I mean? Even that isn’t really exactly right.

    Let me try again: tl/dr: great steak, not worth it.

    That’s not really right either. It certainly is rare enough.

    Last try: If you have the opportunity, try it, but it’s still just meat.

    Blend all those together, I guess.
    Last edited by Mosca; December 30, 2020, 09:33 PM.

    I was grateful for the snow beef I got one Christmas. Talk about some confused taste buds. I've yet to dig below my pockets to treat myself to some more.


      I respect your opinion, but our experience with Japanese A5 differs. Of course, I would expect that if we asked 10 people their opinions of their experiences with full blood Japanese A5, we would get 12 different opinions


        I had some A5 Wagyu a few weeks back from Pursuit Farms. Insanely good. And I hear you about people saying you can't eat a whole one. Wouldn't take much convincing to have me eat 10-12 ozs of that.

        I thought it was an amazing experience. Very different than regular steaks, different texture, and each of the steaks I had had different flavors as well. Can't wait to try more.


          Might well be summat to th Mystique of a Wagyu Steak, mebbe summat akin to th difference between a hoity toity, several hunnert dollar $teak in NYC, vs an insanely good, 45-day aged Prime one in some smokey KC place, with live Blues blarin, in th background...

          It's all perception, I know, but I also know where ahm'a gonna be layin down any my hard-earned hunnert dollar bills...

          I really appreciate yer thorough, exhaustive review, it has given me much to think about... (ow )
          Last edited by Mr. Bones; December 30, 2020, 11:10 PM.


          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            I could not have said it better myself.

          I definitely notice the difference and I would rate it as maybe 2x as good, but not 5-8x as the usual price difference would suggest.


          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            that would be my description, it's the difference between a sit down chain burger and a gourmet non-chain burger... but a lot of folks describe it as the difference between a fast food burger and a gourmet one and I just don't think the leap is THAT huge.

          I have had it twice. I agree it was good. I agree it was different. It was not magical.

          To be honest when I look at an uncooked Wagu steak it kind of grosses me out. It looks like a cross section of a lung or some other organ.


          • HawkerXP
            HawkerXP commented
            Editing a comment

          I'll spend my money on really good prime that I hand picked, dry age it 45 days, and park it next to a big tater with a wedge salad. Then some pecan pie for dessert. Gimme an 18 YO single malt, and a good cigar afterwards.


            Great review Mosca Very thorough and informative. As someone who has never experienced Wagyu and would someday like to try it, I appreciate this. I also love a good Prime steak like anyone else. But, it seems to me if I dropped $150. on one steak....it better knock my socks off. Sounds like I might share your thoughts if I tried one. I’d like to hear much more from people who have experienced Wagyu and their thoughts....as well as how they cooked it.


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              Saw these and left these at Costco yesterday.
              Last edited by HawkerXP; December 31, 2020, 08:34 AM.


              • HawkerXP
                HawkerXP commented
                Editing a comment
                $199.99 a pound!

              • willxfmr
                willxfmr commented
                Editing a comment
                Today is Costco day for me. Hopefully I can show the same restraint.

              • HawkerXP
                HawkerXP commented
                Editing a comment
                It was crazy busy yesterday. Be prepared. willxfmr

              It all depends, I’ve bought and cooked Wagyu/Kobe several times. Just like ordinary steak, quality/taste varies. Is it worth it? Can’t tell, that is up to each and everyone. I sure dig it. And I sure can eat it too. Gobbled down 300 grams of A5 Wagyu myself last time I did it.

              But if you all haven’t tried it yet: smoke it! Boom! Low n slow with smoke, then rest, then sear in a CI pan. Done deal.


                That's very informative, thanks. I've often wondered if it is really "bucket list" worthy. Obviously fat equals flavor, but they don't really look that appealing to me. I'm the type that doesn't really care for brisket due to the amount of fat. I've had American wagyu and that didn't really do much for me versus a good prime cut.


                  One of my colleagues once remarked, "It is a steak, not ambrosia."


                  • surfdog
                    surfdog commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Nailed it!

                  Opinion #12 out of 10 🤣
                  I’ve had A5, complete with authenticity papers and everything. I’ve had American Wagyu (Imperial is the brand name out of Texas). A5 is ok for one or two bites. It’s too much for me. The Imperial was just right, like a well marbled ribbie. I would rather buy tan American wagyu and spend the extra money on a good bottle of wine or other items to round out a special occasion meal.


                    I’m glad I’m not the only one. LOL
                    I kinda felt let down. I was expecting mind blowing / life changing...and it just didn’t happen...and certainly not for what I spent.
                    It was certainly good...but not earth shattering.


                    • Panhead John
                      Panhead John commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Glad to hear your comments about the Wagyu! That just confirms my decision. Gonna take that money and spend it on crack and hookers instead.

                    • surfdog
                      surfdog commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I think it’s sorta worth trying Panhead John but I’m also not convinced that it lives up to the hype. And, at least for me, it’s a little stressful putting a hundred dollar steak on. O_o

                      The other option is to get it at a high-end steak house. Still expensive, but no stress.


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