Uncover the secrets behind mastering the art of how to cook wagyu steak to achieve that buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to impress, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will transform your approach to cooking steak forever. Here we go!
Picture this: a tender, marbled piece of wagyu steak sizzling in a hot skillet, its rich aroma filling the kitchen as it caramelizes to perfection. Cooking wagyu steak is an art form, a delicate balance between precision and intuition that can elevate your culinary skills to new heights.
From its origins in Japan's Kobe region to its renowned reputation for superior marbling and unparalleled flavor, wagyu steak has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of foodies around the world. Yet, cooking this prized beef requires more than just throwing it on a grill; it demands careful attention to detail and an understanding of how its unique qualities affect the cooking process.
So if you've ever wondered how top restaurants achieve that luscious texture and decadent taste in their wagyu dishes, stay tuned as we unveil expert tips and techniques for bringing out the best in every bite of this luxurious meat.
Wagyu Steak - Choose the cut of your choice. We chose a ribeye.
Butter - Since we are cooking the steak in a skillet the butter helps it not to stick while flavoring it.
Salt & Pepper - Both of these enhance the natural flavor of the beef.
Seasoning - All other seasoning is optional. We used a bit of fresh garlic.
How to Cook a Wagyu Steak?
There are three elements to cooking the perfect steak.
- The Seasoning
- The Steak Sear
- The Steak Rest
Step One - Get the steak ready: Many times you might purchase wagyu or other fine cuts of beef frozen. They will usually be packaged in vacuum-sealed packaging that eliminates air exposure to avoid freezer burn. If your steak is frozen, allow it to completely thaw overnight in the refrigerator, remove it from the packaging, then pat compete dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Allow your steak to come to room temperature.
Why do we do this?
We want the entire piece of meat to be at the same temperature when we put it into the cast iron skillet. If the center is still frozen, there is a chance that we overcook the outside while the inside is still underdone. Removing all the moisture is key. We don't want to steam our steak. Any excess moisture will generate steam that will overcook the inside of the steak before we have that wonderful sear on the outside.
Step Two - Season the Steak:
Here is our first element of the perfect steak. The Seasoning. You don't need a complicated steak rub or any type of sauce. All you need is some kosher salt and black pepper. If you are cooking thicker steaks, they will require more seasoning than thin steaks.
A good rule of thumb is to use about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. Fresh black pepper adds a textural crunch, some subtle heat, and a wonderful earthy flavor to the beef. Don't go overboard, a little goes a long way. I'll use about a ½ teaspoon per pound of Wagyu beef.
Step Three - Sear the steak:
Here is our second element of the perfect steak. The Steak Sear. You need a hot pan and hot oil to create a good sear. I like to use a cast iron pan because it will heat evenly and hold the heat. I use a combination of butter and olive oil. The butter adds a velvety flavor and the olive oil increases the burn temperature of the combination. That way the butter doesn't over-brown and burn too quickly. Add some garlic cloves and fresh rosemary sprigs to flavor the oil.
Once the cast-iron skillet is hot, add the steak. To achieve a perfect sear, you want to watch the cooking time and the internal temperature of the steak. Set the steak into the skillet and cook over medium-high heat. Allow the steak to cook for two to three minutes before turning it over. That will allow a good thick sear to develop. Flip the steak over and sear the other side for two to three minutes.
To have the perfect Wagyu steak, you must use a meat thermometer. An instant-read thermometer will be the best way to monitor the internal temperature. My goal is to have a medium-rare steak which means a final internal temperature of 130 - 135°F. Resting the steak will allow the internal temperature to rise another 5 to 10 degrees depending on the thickness of the steak. So pull the steak at least 5 degrees under your desired doneness.
During the cooking process, I like to spoon some of the hot butter oil mixture over the steak. This will decrease the cooking time, but it also keeps the top side hot as you baste it. I find this is an easy step to achieve the best flavor possible. The garlic/rosemary oil just adds a little more flavor to the dish.
Step Four - Allow the steak to rest: Here is our third element of the perfect steak. The Steak Rest. As I mentioned, the internal temperature of the wagyu beef steak will continue to rise after you remove it from the cast iron skillet. Set it on a cutting board to rest for at least five minutes.
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu beef, a highly esteemed and sought-after delicacy in the culinary world, is renowned for its exceptional marbling, unparalleled tenderness, and rich flavor. Derived from a specific breed of cattle originating in Japan, this type of beef is characterized by its distinct flavor profile and rich mouthfeel, owing to the unique composition of its intramuscular fat. The intricate distribution of fat within the muscle tissue creates a luscious and buttery texture, elevating the dining experience to an extraordinary level.
The breeding and rearing of Wagyu cattle involves meticulous attention to detail and adherence to traditional husbandry practices that have been refined over centuries. This careful curation results in premium meat that boasts a superior quality, commanding admiration from chefs and gourmands alike.
Why should a steak rest?
The process of allowing steak to rest post-cooking is a crucial step that facilitates the redistribution of juices within the meat, thereby enhancing both its texture and flavor. Upon removal from the cooking source, the muscle fibers in the steak contract due to heat exposure, causing the juices to concentrate towards the center. This is known as thermodynamic equilibrium.
Allowing the steak to rest for five minutes enables these contracted muscle fibers to relax and reabsorb the concentrated juices, resulting in a more evenly distributed moisture throughout the meat. Additionally, during resting, residual heat continues to gently cook the steak, leading to further denaturation of proteins and yielding a more tender and succulent final product. However, by neglecting to allow your masterpiece to rest, you risk losing all those incredible flavors and textures that you worked so hard to create.
Other ways of how to cook wagyu steak
You might ask, can I cook Wagyu on a gas grill or a charcoal grill? Yes, however, it can be tricky with cooking steak on a grill with direct heat because of the fat content in the wagyu steak. When you have an open flame and then combine that with fat dripping between the grill slats, you have the potential to have a grease fire on your hands.
If you want to cook on the grill, I recommend that you preheat the grill. You want to get a nice sear. Once the grill is hot, turn one of the burners off, then cook the steak over the off-burner to avoid those flare-ups. Same thing with charcoal. Set the charcoal to one side of the grill and cook the steak on the opposite side.
How to Cook Wagyu Steak
- 1 lb wagyu ribeye steak
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Remove Wagyu beef steak from the packaging and completely dry off with paper towels.
- Season steak with salt and pepper.
- Add butter, olive oil, garlic cloves, and rosemary sprig to the hot skillet.
- Once oil is hot, add steak and sear for 2 minutes on each side.
- Cook until the internal temperature reaches 125℉.
- Remove the steak from the skillet and allow it to rest for five minutes before slicing and serving.