I’ve written many times about the glories of wagyu beef – the deeply marbled, super-juicy, ultra-tasty meat of the Japanese kobe cattle. The most glorious of the genre is said to be available only in Japan, but around the world, farmers have reared the steers to produce their own wagyu beef.
The best I’ve tasted is Australian Gold, which costs around £25 per steak but is very difficult to source. So I’ve now found another supplier, and the great news is, they’re right here in this country.
Based at Upper Bryntalch Farm in Montgomery, Mid-Wales, Ifor Humphreys is one of only a handful of British farmers to breed kobe cattle.
Wagyu, also known as Kobe beef is renowned for its superior eating qualities. Its unique taste and texture is down to the intense marbling or intramuscular fat within the meat. Don’t worry its good fat!
Ifor’s Welsh Wagyu are reared on clover rich pastures before finishing on a grass and blended grain ration. He also feeds them beer daily and gives them an occasional massage!
On his website, Ifor explains: “Wagyu were originally draft animals used in agriculture and were selected for their physical endurance. This selection favoured animals with more intra muscular fat cells – marbling – which provided a readily available energy source. Japanese Black Wagyu derive from native Asian cattle.
“There were infusions of British and European breeds in the late 1800’s but the breed was closed to outside influence in 1910. Realising the value of their unique product the Japanese Government banned the export of Wagyu and declared them a national treasure! Some ‘escaped’ by fair means or foul!
“The first Wagyu arrived in America in 1976 in Australia in 1990 and in Europe in 1996 – and we are still playing catch up.”
Price: Around £19.50 per Porterhouse steak.
Pre-trim weight: 220g
Post-trim weight: 200g.
Cooking: Heat a cast iron pan until it’s white hot. Oil the steak, not the pan. Cook for exactly 2 minutes each side for medium-rare. Season the steak after the first 2 minutes. Leave to rest for 2 minutes. Carve.
Tasting notes: Crusty, crunchy, toffee-like exterior, yields to juicy burst of mouth-filling fat. Dense, meaty texture with strong beefy-caramel taste. Utterly delicious.
Marks: 8 out of 10.
• Ifor sells his Welsh Wagyu via Alternative Meat.