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.

Hey Joe! Where You going with that fork in your hand?

Holy smokes! We’re giving away a Weber Smokey Joe just to see who can step up and claim bragging rights for their recipes involving tabletop grills. Think you have a good dish? Well then dish it out.

Are you the master of bratwurst at your local picnic table? Do you live in a van down by the river but yearn to entertain guests by cooking steaks one at a time? Are you a vegan looking to start small on your journey to real food? If so, the Smokey Joe is right for you. If you already have one and are an ace grillmaster of all things small, let us know. We want to hear about it. Leave a comment below and be sure to check out our latest giveaway.

In the mean time, here’s a simple bratwurst recipe fit for a tabletop king!

Go get some Johnsonville Brats at your nearest grocery store. If you like the cheese ones, that’s cool. We’re going to add a little twist of flavor to them that will set you apart from the rest of your tailgate team. Got the brats? Okay good. Fire up the Smokey Joe with a handful of coal.

Now we need some other ingredients. Crack a cold one. Drink about half of the beer just to get your mind set and then fill the can or bottle back up with Sauce Beautiful to make a 1:1 beer to sauce ratio mix.

This is where the magic happens. Pour that beersauce mix into a sauce pan or some other kind of container where you can mix it up. If you have a baste brush, that’s great. If you don’t, get a spoon and get to mixing. Once the beersauce is mixed well, set the brats in the pan and let them rest while you carve up an onion.

Mince or slice the onion into pieces that are just small enough to be bitesized but not too small that they can fall through the grill later on. Roll up some foil and/or use a camp pot or small pan with a quarter stick of butter and the onion slices. Dash them with Jim Quessenberry’s Steak Beautiful for a nice even seasoning and then sautee them in the foil/pan/pot over the coals of the Smokey Joe. 

While the onions are cooking and making things smell so good, make sure your fire has a nice pleasant orange and white glow but not raging with flames. Lay the brats on and let them warm. DON’T BURN THE DAMN THINGS! I’ll know. Brats are best cooked slow. Eventually the brats will begin to plump over the warm coals. Baste them a few times with the beer sauce mix. Let them warm until they look like they’re going to explode. That way they’re super juicy. Pull a view onion slivers from your sautée pan/pouch and place them over the brats to get a little char grill flavor.

Once the brats are plump, you can serve them. Take them up along with the onions and serve on large hot dog buns. Spread a few onions on top and drizzle with sauce beautiful for a nice summertime treat at the campsite or back yard.

If you’re interested in more information on the Smokey Joe, here’s a brief history from Weber.

Smoked Harvest Stuffed Pork Loin

Smoked Harvest Stuffed Pork Loin

Ingredients:

1 ct 6 oz. STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
2 ct Small Apples, Chopped
3 Tbsp Dried Cranberries
1 cup PLANTERS Pecans, Chopped
1 Tbsp Dried Sage Leaves
1 ct Pork Loin (4 lb.), Butterflied
1 tbsp Jim Quessenberry’s Rub Beautiful

Directions:

Recommended: 1 serving sauce (Sauce Beautiful Original, Hot, White, or Gold)

1. Start off-set charcoal fire in Weber grill. Make sure coals are burning well. We like to add apple wood chips for an added sweet smokey flavor.

2. Prepare stuffing according to instructions on the box. Remove from stove top; stir in apples, cranberries, pecans and sage.

3. Lay butterflied loin flat with sliced side up. Spread layer of stuffing on top side of loin; Roll the loin up with the stuffing inside, placing the end seam down, on sheet of aluminum foil or aluminum pan covered in cooking spray. Use butcher twine to hold the loin together. Season with Rub Beautiful.

4. slow smoke until meat is (160ºF) approx. 45 min. Rest 10 min. before slicing.

Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast Sliders

Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast Sliders

This recipe is a game changer (pun intended). Here in Northeast Arkansas we like to hunt, grill, and eat.  We like to change things up a bit from the normal grilled chicken, burgers, etc.  Game recipes are starting to grow in popularity.  Cregeen’s Irish Pub in Jonesboro, AR has been using Jim Quessenberry’s products on their BBQ sandwiches, nachos, and wings for several years.  They wanted to add some game to their menu which gave them a chance to introduce Quessenberry’s white BBQ sauce to their customer base.  Sauce Beautiful – White is perfect for poultry, fish, and goes good on a pulled pork sandwich just as well.  If you want to try your hand at an amazing dish that is guaranteed to delight, follow the recipe below. If you happen to be in the Jonesboro, AR area and aren’t looking to grill for yourself, Come by Cregeen’s Irish Pub and get these sliders paired with a tall cold beer.

Ingredients:

9 ct Quail, Dressed
1 tbsp Jim Quessenberry’s Rub Beautiful
½ tsp Black Pepper
9 slices Bacon
2 tbsp Butter or Margarine, Melted
2 pkgs 4 pack – King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Dinner Rolls
1 ct Red Onion, Small (Optional)
1 btl Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful – White

Directions:

Step 1

Sprinkle quail with Rub Beautiful and black pepper. Wrap breasts with bacon slices using toothpicks to hold in place. Place, breast side down, in a roasting pan. Brush with melted butter.

Step 2

Grill wrapped breasts on direct heat (out of pan) for 3 to 4 mins per side (Or place pan in oven at 450° for 10 mins) Place pan of wrapped breasts on indirect heat of smoker/grill (Or in oven) Bake at 325°, covered, 40 to 45 minutes or until internal temp up to 160°. Then Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before plating.

Step 3

(Optional) Sautee red onion rings in butter using a skillet over direct heat.

Step 4

Remember to remove toothpicks from breasts.  Place 3 breasts on 3 rolls per plate with optional sautéed onions.  Serve with a dish of white sauce for dipping, and a favorite side. (Ex. Onion Rings, Potato Salad, Side Salad, Fries, Etc.)

Serves 3 people

Serves 3

Day 15: Five Things You Should Know About Charcoal

We’ve all had our experiments with wood, charcoal, and even gas when cooking outdoors, but did you know that charcoal was originally used for several other reasons including art, medicine, makeup, and metallurgy?

Image By DryPot – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12649706

Charcoal in Art

Charcoal has been used as a pigment for ages to represent the color black. From the earliest paintings and inscriptions to modern art, charcoal is a favorite among a long lineage of expressionists and artists alike. Furthermore, charcoal is microscopically absorbant and can be used as a pigment for dyes used to create black and grey fabrics.

Charcoal in Medicine

Charcoal is one of a few age old home remedies for dietary and digestive issues. For centuries people of the ancient world all the way to today have used charcoal to settle stomach aches and other digestive issues. It is so popular that charcoal is still used today in pill form to address and treat ailments.

 

Charcoal in Metallurgy

Charcoal is a fairly clean burning fuel when compared to wood and other organic rich fuel sources. That’s because charcoal has been through a process called pyrolysis, which is like fire anaerobics for trees. That means that wood or other vegetation like Bamboo, is heated to high temperatures with the absence of oxygen which consumes the organic matter and water and dries out the vegetation forming a charred black carbon substance we call charcoal. Since the wood has been burned once, the main byproduct, smoke, is cut in half leaving a combustible substance that puts out way less smoke. When you have less smoke, you can forge and weld metals with fewer impurities which allows for a better quality metal. Charcoal has fueled blacksmith forges from the early beginnings of the bronze, iron, and industrial ages throughout today.

Charcoal in Cosmetics

Like the dyes and paints mentioned before, charcoal can be ground into a microscopic powder pigment and used in a wide variety cosmetic products because it is absorbed very well by the skin and has staying power. Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Royal Oak?

Charcoal in Cooking

Naturally charcoal is a fuel of choice for many barbecue enthusiasts, and it’s American as Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer… Yep that’s right, charcoal as we know it in the briquet form was invented by Zwoyer in 1897 in Pennsylvania. So 6 years before the Wright Brothers were jumping off of sand dunes with a giant kite, Zwoyer was getting a patent on charcoal, literally one of the most abundant and widely used fuels in the world, because he made it into nice consistent square briquets. And you thought Steve Jobs was a visionary. LOL. This guy reinvented reburning wood and patented it.

It doesn’t stop there though, Henry Ford got into the game and changed it FOREVER. Henry Ford needed a way to recycle and reuse wood byproducts and horsefeed used in his automobile factories so he took the charcoal briquet idea and ran with it. He began producing charcoal and selling it which founded a little company called Kingsford.

So what does all this have to do with Jim Quessenberry BBQ? Well for one you won’t be seeing us using any of Hank Hill’s propane and propane accessories, but furthermore, we prefer to cook most everything with charcoal for a smooth, longlasting, and well controlled fire. I prefer Kingsford, but Royal Oak will do in a pinch. I suppose that makes me a Ford man afterall.

 

Tell you what, why don’t you grab a bottle or two of the good stuff in our shop and share some of your charcoal grilling techniques with us. We’d love to hear your stories.