My mother is an absolute steak nut. She’s crazy about eating steak that if you were to just give her 1/2 kg piece of perfectly cooked steak and nothing else for dinner, she’d be happy.
So when we went to Japan, what better gift to bring back than a couple of pieces of authentic wagyu – the famous Japanese beef with all the marble you’ll ever desire. Let’s just say we blew our souvenir budget by a long shot and everyone else got post cards! Mum should realise how lucky she is to have a daughter like me!
(a piece of Australian wagyu)
Now when you have just forked out about $100 for 2 pieces of 100g steak (yes, really, you think $200/kg for Australian wagyu at some posh Toorak butcher is expensive, try the real stuff in Tokyo), you’d hope to god that you don’t ruin in with your amateurish ways.
The lovely pieces of wagyu steak I bought in Tokyo were lovingly wrapped up in a dried bamboo leaf (I’m sure it’s organic and had a great life too), then a posh wrapping paper, then tie with a rustic looking ribbon then a special wagyu sticker. They were then presented to you with a bow. At this point, you know it’s going to be damn good*
(searing the steak)
Which brought me to the next point, this is going to be the most expensive piece of steak I have ever had, surely, I can just easily go and completely ruin it by not knowing how to cook it properly. So I researched around (do you know how hard it is to youtube a video on my parent’s 56k modem? yes, that was blood, sweat and tears), took a deep breath and had a go. It turned out beautifully and since Australia is lucky enough to have Australian wagyu** I keep taking back a few pieces of wagyu to my Mum in Thailand for her to enjoy each time I visit. Thank god, it costs nowhere near as expensive as the real deal and it’s not as good either. But it’s still the best bloody steak you’ll ever try.
So without further ado, Spatula, Spoon and Saturday presents…
How to Cook Wagyu Steak at Home (on a BBQ)
Bring the meat up to room temperature – This is really important because you will be cooking the meat for a very short time on very high heat, so the meat needs to cook relatively evenly. A boring food safety notice: once you’ve brought your meat up to the room temperature, you must cook it straight away. There’s no going back.
Heat up your hot plate – I have decided against direct flame on the barbie. My own logic concluded that the flame will melt away the fat in the marbling but won’t actually cook it. I could be wrong but all my research points to the Japanese teppan so I figured the barbecue hot plate is the next best thing.
Sear each side of the beef for about 30 seconds – you need to keep the meat moving and distributing the heat. Turn it over a few times for no more than 30 seconds each until it browns to the picture (while the inside is still totally rare). This shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes in total.
Slice the meat into bite sized pieces – use a very sharp knife and slice them. I got this idea from watching teppan chef slicing the meat.
Sear each side of the slices – again just fast searing on all side. Keep the meat moving around the hot plate to get maximum heat each time.
That is it. Quick as a flask. Serve with a spoon and no more than two pieces per person. Otherwise it won’t be special. Trust me on this one. So soft and meltingly tender. It’s just one of those must tries.
Where to buy wagyu in Melbourne?
Many specialist butcher’s shop sells wagyu in Melbourne but if it’s your first run at cooking wagyu at home, start with the not-so-expensive-but-still-special at this Japanese supermarket (in my ‘hood by the way):
Suzuran Japanese Food Trading
Address: 1025-1027 Burke Road, Camberwell VIC 3124
Phone: 03 9882 2349
* Really I should have taken a picture of that but that was before I started a food blog and took pictures of everything I eat.
** Now, as far as I understand it Australian wagyu literally means Australian Japanese beef. This does not compute when brought up with any Japanese I know but let’s just let it go. Like I have with the whole goat vs. chevon thing.