What Makes Wagyu Beef So Good?

wagyu steak

What makes Wagyu beef so good? To find out, we need to learn what wagyu Beef really is. Simply put, wagyu, pronounced “wa” meaning Japanese, and “gyu” meaning cow, is an old breed of Japanese beef cattle, but there is much more to this tasty breed of cattle than a name. Originally, wagyu were selected for their physical endurance. The livestock with more intramuscular fat cells was chosen because of their ability to easily store energy… What we in the business refer to as “marbling.”

The distinctive flavor and tenderness of wagyu beef is a rare eating experience due to its finely marbled consistency… A super beef, famous for its appearance, and so tender, it literally melts in your mouth…

It’s not only a gourmet pleasure, it’s also safe for you. The un-saturated to saturation fat ratio in wagyu has been discovered by health experts to be higher than in other beef. 40% of the saturated fat is a stearic acid form, which is considered to have minimal cholesterol effects.

Wagyu is also higher in fatty acids known as CLA, linoleic conjugate acid. Due to higher concentrations of linoleic acid, wagyu beef contains the highest CLA of foods per gram— around 30 percent higher than other cattle breeds.

I got to have real wagyu beef last November, and I was not disappointed at all. I took a trip to Japan, just for fun. I love to travel the world, see the sights, meet the people, and of course, eat the food. I was traveling with my friend Joey. We have been several world cities together including New York, Dallas, Kansas City, Atlanta, Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The latest trip was to the Japanese cities listed. Joey had told me Japan was one of his favorite places he had ever been to. He had insisted I go there. It didn’t take much convincing since I had an awesome travel voucher from Google Fi burning a hole in my pocket. So we did just that.

Here’s a referral code to get a $20 credit when you join Google Fi! Redeem it at https://g.co/fi/r/8UH82X

I had so many great meals, but I was blown away by my first wagyu experience. We were in a train station in Tokyo, with some nice restaurants all around the food court area. We had been in Tokyo a few days, and by that time we were starting to look for something besides noodles or fish. So we decided upon a restaurant that had steak on the menu. As you began to learn in Japan, most if not all restaurants have visual representations of their foods from the menu right outside the entrance to lure you in. It worked.

We sat down, were promptly greeted with warm, damp towels, and offered water as we looked through the menu. A beautiful looking dish with 3 different cuts of wagyu beef and side of fried potatoes? Yes Please!! With a reasonable price of 3500 Yen, (Just under $35) it was a no brainer for us to order this platter, knowing we would be experiencing something we couldn’t easily experience at home.

My first Wagyu platter.
My first ever Wagyu platter.

The platter was served with a little salt, real wasabi, and a dish of Au Jus on the side. The steak from all 3 cuts was so good I rarely dipped them in anything, however, I tried all of those things as well. The steak itself when cooked looks and smells like any other steak I’ve had, but when I took that first bite and the steak just melted in my mouth, I knew it’s something I had never experienced before. Of course, the steak texture was still there, but it was so tender and the flavor was as rich as heaven.

After we returned from Japan, and having had the best steaks of our lives, we decided to see if it was possible to get that amazing experience in The States. We did our research and this is what we found… My Experience with American Wagyu

How good is American Wagyu Beef? My Experience with American Wagyu

American wagyu

After my friend Joey and I returned to The States from our trip to Japan, we were wanting to try American wagyu to see how it compared to Japanese wagyu. We found the website MishimaReserve.com which specializes in selling American Wagyu beef. We opted for the highest quality rib-eye they carry. It came in a day later than anticipated, but was still frozen. We were a little worried since we dropped about $100 a piece on them. Once the order came in, our worries subsided. There they were… beautifully marbled frozen American wagyu rib-eyes. As our worries faded momentarily, we then realized that we had to cook these things. I shouldn’t have been worried I’ve cooked countless steaks, and the only critics were ourselves, but when you have invested in such an expensive cut of meat, you definitely don’t want to mess it up.

Weber with Steaks

The steaks turned out amazing! Such a tender texture with buttery taste seasoned with our own Steak Beautiful – Hickory. The recipe was quite simple. In fact, it was really just a matter of cook time.

2 Steaks (we preferred these American wagyu rib-eyes)
1 Bottle of Steak Beautiful – Hickory
A hot charcoal fire

(Prep) If your steaks are frozen like ours were thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.

  1. Once thawed, remove steaks from fridge season them with Steak Beautiful – Hickory
  2. Light fire. Get coals peak hot.
  3. Place seasoned steaks on grill, over direct heat, and let them cook 4 to 5 mins
  4. Flip steaks. Continue to cook 3 to 5 mins for medium rare, 5 to 7 mins for medium, and for well done, just open the charcoal bag and grab a few briquettes to snack on.
  5. Let steaks rest. Serve with a baked potato or grilled asparagus.

Kansas City Barbeque Society Releases Statement on the KCUR Article

KCBS

Earlier this week, KCUR released an article that seemed to be all doom and gloom for our beloved KCBS organization. While the article seems to be painting a portrait of F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), one thing that is apparent is that the article was released regardless of commentary from the organization itself.

While Emily Detwiler, CEO of KCBS, didn’t return emails or calls, it wasn’t from a place of defiance. The KCBS organization has since released an official statement explaining the inaccuracies of the initial story while taking on the issues directly with anecdotal positions for each scenario.

KCBS Responds to KCUR Article

Judging from the initial paragraph of the response, it seems that a plot to undermine the KCBS was derived from disgruntled former members posing as “anonymous” sources.

The response takes on the F.U.D. with reason and an objective stance to the hearsay coming from disgruntled former members and outsiders.

Jim Quessenberry BBQ and KCBS

Jim Quessenberry BBQ proudly stands behind the current board of directors and the KCBS organization. We are proud members, including our Jonesboro resident contest judge, Michael Quessenberry, who had this to say about the story.

“I find it hard to believe that Carolyn Wells is stepping away from the organization. When we met with her at the American Royal 40th Anniversary World Series of Barbecue, she was extremely excited to see us there and couldn’t wait to tell us about the exciting future of the KCBS.”
Michael Quessenberry

Carolyn mentioned to us both that she had been delegating some of her responsibilities in the organization to others while taking on new roles; hardly a departure. If anyone in the organization knows the opportune time to step up and make an impact for the good of the KCBS, its Carolyn. She doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

When the Jonesboro, AR contest rolls around in the fall of 2020, I will be attending the judge training course myself.

Staying Connected with the KCBS

We encourage anyone with questions regarding the KCBS to go straight to the source. The KCBS keeps an open line of communication with the public and its members.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Origin Story on Competing

 

Lolis Elie interviewing Jim Quessenberry

[00:00:00] Lolis Elie: How did you get into the actual barbecue business? Did you start off doing some competitions or…

[00:00:06] Jim Quessenberry: Yeah. Uh, well, see, I was in food service in Memphis. I was in …. with the Britling cafeterias over there. B, R, I, T, L, I, N, G, and uh, they’re an old company. They have cafeterias in Memphis. They have a cafeteria is in Nashville called B and w cafeteria.

[00:00:31] They have cafeterias in Kentucky, Louisville, Lexington, and all up in there called, uh… Blue Boar… Blue Boar like a boar hog. And, uh, the actual company, is a very, very old company that came out of… Uh… It came out of Birmingham years and year ago, but, uh, It’s an old family owned company. I worked for them for oh, four or five [00:01:00] years, four years, I guess. Which, you know, I’ve always been interested in food, I mean, even as a hobby. Well, I got into it as a business there. And I’ve always been into barbecue. My folks, that’s what the idea did to entertain when we were kids. Uh, you know, the both of them together kind of made a, uh, an indelible impression on me. So, uh, when these contests started coming along. It was a natural pursuit. You know, something I knew I was pretty fair at, so I just started doing them. And. uh..

[00:01:34] Lolis Elie: What year was that?

[00:01:36] Jim Quessenberry: Woo… uh… ’78 maybe…

[00:01:39] Lolis Elie: You do Memphis in May in ’78? first one?

[00:01:42] Jim Quessenberry: Yeah, been to every one of them. Under one name or other. We’ve been under a lot of different team names was always, always been me. And, a lot of my folks that I have now, have never, you know, have never been to two or three contests. A lot of folks I had with me back then, don’t go [00:02:00] to them anymore because they’ve all decided they’re too old. Me, I don’t ever get too old.

[00:02:04] Lolis Elie: Hmm… Did you ever win any of them?

[00:02:07] Jim Quessenberry: Yeah, we won uh… second one year… We won second in the second year they had it, we second in whole hog. We won third in… I believe 84, and uh… I won a comp… A side competition they had over there one year. John Morel was one of the sponsors. They had a contest called The Jet Net Ham Contest, which is nothing but a boneless ham in a jet net. And I won that. And that was really an accomplishment ‘cause it had about 200 entries. Um, but, uh, we’ve been pretty consistent about scoring fairly high. During one little period there, like about a five or six year period, we didn’t… We didn’t come in any worse than tenth place, which in a place… competition that big, that’s pretty good. Of course, we’ve come in… We’ve [00:03:00] literally brought up the rear before. You know.

[00:03:04]

We “never get too old.” That’s why Sauce Beautiful has been the preferred choice for thousands for over 30 years.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Cleveland Rib Mafia

Here we have another segment from the Smokestack Lightning interview tapes. Jim Quessenberry tells his story of locking horns in Cleveland over ribs, and how his ribs went missing like Jimmy Hoffa.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Jim Quessenberry’s BBQ Origins

I have recently come across some amazing recordings that I believed were lost to time. But, I did a little research and uncovered these amazing treasures. I reached out to author Lolis Elie, and he directed me to the Southern Foodways Alliance. He had donated all of the cassettes to them. There is more to come… Listen below as dad tells Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart a little about his beginnings in BBQ. -Michael Quessenberry

Interview with Jim Quessenberry by Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart

Lolis Elie: [00:00:01] Well, how did you get into this barbecue business? And, you can go back before the sauces themselves… the sauce and rub…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:10] Um… It’s been basically a hobby all my life, and…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:16] Actually, BBQ has been a big part of… uh…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:21] Most of our family… uh… celebrations… be it Easter,

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:28] Fourth of July, all your three day weekends, like your labor day, and Memorial Day, and that type of thing, you know?

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:37] Um… Even Christmas.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:39] Somebody’s always barbecue and something, you know, my brother-in-law over here. He always prided himself and doing a wild goose. I think it’s wild… maybe domestic… he always does a goose for Christmas and you know, I’m always doing something Christmas a big fresh ham or something, but…

Lolis Elie: [00:00:56] You say fresh ham, you mean green or like…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:59] Yeah Green ham. Yeah. I didn’t know you knew what a green ham was man.. Where you been learning all this shit?

Lolis Elie: [00:01:04] I used to read Green Eggs and Ham, man.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:04] *laughs*

Frank Stewart: [00:01:05] He’s a smart boy.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:06] Yeah he is.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:13] You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what a green… what green meat is.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:17] Oh no, I, We… The people at Craig’s and Duvall’s Bluff.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:21] Yeah.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:21] I was trying to figure out if they were doing green or slightly smoked, so I got the terminology. But I can tell you where I got it from. The guy at Cozy Corner, Ray Robinson… When you go talk to him, tell him, Uh.. you know, tell him you know us. In fact, we told him we come here to see you.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:34] Yeah.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:34] We told him about you.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:36] Yeah, I want to meet him.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:37] Also, he has a totally different style from everybody else… If we even talk about food… half… shoot… At this point, half the time it’s not about barbecue. It’s one of our stop off points. If we finish, you know, doing Memphis in May, We will crash there for a minute.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:51] Yeah, I’m gonna check him out, but I need me a new place to stop.

Frank Stewart: [00:01:54] Oh Yeah. He’s efficient. He closes at 7.

Jim Quessenberry [00:01:54] Oh really?

Lolis Elie: [00:02:02] Yeah.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:02:02] Independent type dude… That’s what I like.

Frank Stewart: [00:02:03] Opens promptly at 10, and closes promptly at 7.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:02:03] That’s great!

Frank Stewart: [00:02:03] He is not open on Sunday and Monday.

Lolis Elie: [00:02:03] Right.

Jim Quessenberry’s Prime Rib

Jim and his Arkansas Trav’lers cooking team took the grand prize and first place for his prime rib recipe at the Irish Cup Invitational Barbecue Festival in Ireland in 1985. Timing is important on this one; practice makes perfect!

1 5-pound standing rib roast,
nicely marbled

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 bottle of Sauce Beautiful – White

1/4 cup olive oil

Freshly cracked black peppercorns

1 small bottle of prepared horseradish

With a boning knife, carefully separate the rib bones from the roast, keeping them in one piece. Then remove the lip, or fat, layer in one piece. This will leave you with three pieces of meat: the ribs, the lip, and the ribeye.

Sprinkle the ribeye with garlic powder, then reassemble the three pieces and tie them tightly with butcher’s string, binding each rib. Brush the roast generously with olive oil, then cover the entire surface with cracked pepper. Insert a meat thermometer in the center of the roast.

Cook in a closed barbecue unit (Jim preferred his Weber kettle) over medium (250°F) indirect heat. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, checking frequently after 2 hours, to an internal temperature of 140°F for medium rare. Then wrap the roast tightly in foil and head for the kitchen; it’s carving time. (The foil wrap is important, as it allows the roast a little extra steaming time.) Carve into slices at least 1/2-inch thick There should be a slice to fit everyone’s preference, from the well-done outside tot he rare center. Serve with Sauce Beautiful – White (add prepared horseradish to taste).

Serves 10

Pioneering Days of BBQ

In the early days of competition BBQ, the rules were just being written. It was like the “wild west” days of BBQ. Many techniques were not mainstream, and even some at the time were considered cheating, such as injection. In this audio clip from 1987, Jim Quessenberry gives Ardie Davis a tour of his whole hog smoker, which at one time had a propane burner in it. The main source of heat was the propane, but it was indirect, and allowed for using logs for the smoke flavor. The thing was as big as a camper trailer and cook easily 4 or more hogs at the same time. Listen below…

Jim Quessenberry and Ardie Davis talk smokers and whole hog.

Jim Q: 00:00
Alright, when I built this thing, I built it to take to Cleveland to a rib championship, but cost efficiency is the main thing there, You know? I have this burner here… This 500,000 Btu burner, It came out of one of these green house furnaces. Alright, that burner, See I use instead of a wood box under there… And then I put me a little log in there for the smoke. You dig? All right, see you draw your heat underneath your water jacket, back up, and back across and it pulls that little hickory smoke over and back. Okay… The Memphians and all, had a little problem with the rules. They didn’t want a propane man out here. So… I built that firebox. It does a wonderful job. It’s just a little slower than propane. Hey my man… (talking to a passer by)

Ardie D: 00:53
I didn’t taste any…

Jim Q: 00:54
Alright! Alright! How you doing? I’m Jim Quessenberry. Good to see ya. (talking to a passer by)

Ardie D: 00:57
I didn’t taste any whole hogs worth a smoke that was as good as yours.

Jim Q: 01:00
Thanks… now, part of that is the wood I use.

Jim Q: 01:04
What we do… We cut that hickory…

Ardie D: 01:06
You can see that red ring on it.

Jim Q: 01:08
That’s Sandy… That’s my girlfriend.

Ardie D: 01:09
You got it hands down… or there’s something wrong.

Jim Q: 01:21
Man I appreciate that, but I’m so damn anxious, I don’t wanna know. I don’t wanna disappoint myself if I don’t make it.

Ardie D: 01:21
You can’t. That’s the thing. I mean uh… in a contest like… You can come in last…

Jim Q: 01:26
Well sure…

Ardie D: 01:27
I don’t know… I don’t know what it is. He makes the best that I’ve tasted here. I mean, it is good stuff.

Jim Q: 01:35
Boy, I appreciate that… Grab you a little nibble off that shoulder over there. That’ll give you a little sample right there.

Jim “The Arkansas Trav’ler” Quessenberry: Serious Contender for The Barbecue Hall of Fame®? The BBQ Central Show Thinks So.

Steve Ray standing in for Greg Rempe as the guest host of The BBQ Central Show asked the other embedded correspondents of the show, Doug Shiding, David Huff, and Jon Solberg who they would choose to be inducted into the The Barbecue Hall of Fame®.

Steve Ray and Jon Solberg both gave a nod to Jim “The Arkansas Trav’ler” Quessenberry due to his pioneering career in competition barbecue along with the impact he made on many current barbecue legends, teams, and competitions along the way.

We’re all holding our breath until 2pm CDT May 29, 2019 when Greg Rempe will announce the winners on the show. Wish us luck! Live stream is below:

https://www.youtube.com/user/rdrempe/live

Barbecue Hall of Fame Semi-Finalist Press Release

MEDIA ALERT

Will Gregory

American Royal Public Relations
[email protected]
816-645-6116

Kansas City, MO., May 24, 2019 — The American Royal is pleased to announce the Barbecue
Hall of Fame® 2019 Top 9 Semi-finalists from this year’s nominees.

  • John “Big Daddy” Bishop, Tuscaloosa, LA
  • Aaron Franklin, Austin, TX
  • Meathead Goldwyn, Chicago, IL
  • Michael Ray Higgins, Mesquite, TX
  • James Lemons, Chicago, IL
  • C.B. Stubblefield, Lubbock, TX & Austin, TX
  • Wayne Monk, Lexington, NC
  • Jim Quessenberry, Memphis, TN
  • Desiree Robinson, Memphis, TN

Each year, the Barbecue Hall of Fame has the pristine honor of inducting three individuals that have
impacted the world of BBQ. For a full calendar year, nominations for this honor are sent in from
individuals throughout the world and this year, we received over 50 nominations. At the close of the nomination period, each individual nominated is reviewed by the Hall of Fame
Nominating Committee and the list is reduced to the top nine. The nine semi-finalists are then reviewed and voted on by Hall of Fame voting members. Voting members include the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and all living Hall of Fame Inductees.

The three 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Barbecue Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and events will take place during the 40th American Royal World Series of Barbecue® held at the Kansas Speedway, September 13 – 15, 2019.

 

About the American Royal Association

Woven through the history of Kansas City since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for
youth and adults from around the country to compete in our Livestock Show, ProRodeo, Horse Shows,and the World Series of Barbecue®. These events allow the American Royal, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, to give over $1 million annually for youth scholarships and support agriculture education programs. In 2018, over 101,000 attendees attended American Royal events generating over $60 million of economic impact.

To learn more about the American Royal visit AmericanRoyal.com.