What’s all the fuss about Wagyu?

If there’s something that we, at Burger Brews, take more seriously than anything else it’s the quality of the burger meals which we go out to enjoy. Whilst there are many different options available to act as “the burger”, beef is primarily the burger of choice for many of us.

What constitutes a great burger?

Most important is the quality and flavour of the patty itself. Many people order their burgers loaded with toppings and sauces. Based on this, how many of us can say that the actual flavour of the patty comes through to tickle our taste buds?  If I were to generalise the answer to this, I would venture to suggest not as many as there should be. A great burger is not one in which you cannot distinguish the flavour of the patty.

When it comes to flavour in beef, there is none more highly regarded and sought-after than Wagyu. More and more restaurants these days have begun serving Wagyu beef burgers as a specialty item on their menus. As with any specialty items, ordering this comes at a heftier charge…but for very good reason.

Wagyu (literally meaning “Japanese cow”) is sometimes also referred to as Kobe beef. The term Kobe beef, however, is specific to the Japanese cattle from the Kobe region in Japan (think Champagne – only allowed to be called that if from this region in France) and so should not be used as a generic term.

What makes this beef so much more flavourful? The marbling within the meat is what does it! Marbling refers to the fat streaks within the meat which gives it a marbled appearance.

What makes it so much more expensive? The fact that this cattle is slaughtered at 3 years old (18 months longer than traditional techniques) means added costs to herd. Added to this, many farmers have been known to continue a tradition of feeding these cows beer to stimulate their appetite for their high quality diet. A number of farmers also believe in giving these cows massages which they believe helps to make the meat more tender through the stress relief it provides. Although often believed to be myths, these two methods have been confirmed to be carried out in some parts.

How is Wagyu beef cooked? This meat, which has a low melting point, should never be undercooked. The secret to cooking the meat and accentuating the flavour is to allow the marbled fat to melt into the meat which will allow the meat to obtain its elegant, buttery flavour.

Surely all this fat in the meat makes it a less healthy option than regular beef? Well, actually no. The ratio of mono-unsaturated to saturated fat is far higher in Wagyu than in regular beef which makes it the slightly healthier option.

So, if budget allows and a restaurant has the option of a Wagyu burger then go ahead – tantalise those taste buds!



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