If you consider yourself a meat connoisseur, you have to try meat from a pure-blood, Wagyu steer. While the “best” meat is a matter of individual taste, your money would be pretty safe if you were to bet on a Wagyu steak.
We were fortunate enough to witness the butchery of a 100-percent, pure-blood Wagyu cattle carcass at RingSide Steakhouse in Portland, Ore. Executive Chef Beau Carr supervised as several local chefs and sous chefs took their knives to the magnificent beast.
Wagyu, which is Japanese for “Japanese cattle,” technically describes all cattle from Japan. However, you more often hear the name in reference to a specific type of ultra-high-quality beef.
“Wagyu is beyond prime,” says Beau Carr. “The level of marbling in this meat is way beyond the USDA grading system.” Chef Carr continues: “The more marbling, the better the meat is going to taste. Marbling is probably the single most important aspect of good meat, if you have to pick one.”
According to the American Wagyu Association, there’s some evidence that genetic separation of Wagyu forebears began as early as 35,000 years ago. Through the eons, these cattle were bred to have an extraordinary amount of intra-muscular fat — the aforementioned marbling. Only four Wagyu cattle were exported to the United States in 1975, then more came in the ’90s. To this day, very few U.S. farms raise this amazing and rare cattle.
The particular specimen that Chef Beau and his colleagues butchered came from Pacific Rogue Wagyu, near Gold Beach, Ore. This ranch received its first Wagyu embryos in 1993, and witnessed the birth of the fifth and 11th steers ever to be born on U.S. soil. Pacific Rogue Wagyu has been breeding pure-blood Wagyu ever since, and sells roughly a dozen heads of 100-percent Wagyu every year.
It’s incredibly uncommon for American steakhouses to serve Wagyu, and it’s even more uncommon for steakhouses to butcher their own meat, as RingSide does. This yields a number of advantages for RingSide and their patrons.
“I can do things I wouldn’t normally be able to do,” says Chef Carr. “For example, I can make a consommé out of the bones, or I can do Wagyu bone marrow for an appetizer.”
Meat from Wagyu steer is among of the juiciest, most flavorful meat you’ll encounter. The next time you see Wagyu on a steakhouse menu, whisper “thank you” to the Japanese beef gods and seize the opportunity to try some of the greatest meat on the planet.
Pictured: Petit bone-in filet mignon with Wagyu bone marrow butter, courtesy of RingSide Steakhouse.