A Longhorn, a Shorthorn, a Dexter, a Lincoln Red, an Aberdeen Angus, a Belted Galloway, a Highland (and, oh, so many more) all have their beefy merits. I’ve tried them all, and they are all – in their different ways – as wonderful as each other.
But wagyu is different, and that difference is in its muscle-to-fat ratio. Look at this beauty, by example, I bought this from a purveyor who imports from Australiaand then sells on to the best restaurants in London.
It is Australian Wagyu (aka Kobe beef). It is the caviar of beef; the white truffle of beef; the lobster of beef; the champagne of beef; the saffron of beef. But – bizarrely – not to every beef lover’s taste.
Why? It is ludicrously, juicily, mouth-fillingly, gorgingly rich. It has a marbling of fat so intricate it would put the Elgins to shame.
And as a result, it isn’t a Beef For All Seasons: it is an occasional treat – pure lipid luxury. It is a fat map of pleasure, a web of mouth-filling wonder.
And it comes at cost. In a Mayfair restaurant, this steak would set you – and has set my wife back (for my 50th birthday) – ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY POUNDS…..for ONE STEAK!!!!. (And a few more !!!!!! for emphasis).
Fortunately, I know a man, who knows a man, who knows a woman called Kelly, and I am able to obtain this wagyu at cost price – which still works out at £25 per 8oz (200g) steak.
Yes, still expensive – but magnificently, extraordinarily, mouth-feelingly, luxuriantly, decadently worth it.
Which I – and my wife – am (is). As I stare into its cobwebbed beauty, my head is filled with Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares To You’. Which is, simply, a fact.
Nothing in the beefy firmament compares with wagyu. There is chalk (good for using to write on blackboards); there is cheese (good for chomping in huge quantities – especially Westcombe, Keen’s, Montgomery or Isle of Mull Cheddar).
And there is beef (of which, no better representative exists than the Ginger Pig cofe-de-boeuf); and there is wagyu. Waaaaaaaaaaaag yuuuuuuuu….nurrrrrrrrrrrrrthing compppppppppppparrrrrrrrrrrrrs to you! Ahem! (And, Amen!!).
Find it, cook it, try it. Wagyu is Bucket List beef. When you’re on your death bed, it is the steak you will regret never having eaten. It is love. It is sex. It is pleasure. It is bliss. It is, as I have already stated, beyond compare.
And when and if you do find this jewel in the crown of steak, here’s what you should do with it…
1. Heat a cast iron pan until it is white hot. This could take as long as an hour. Don’t argue: just do it – wagyu is NOT fast food.
2. Meanwhile, trim off any excess fat from your steak. Put this is another pan on a the lowest possible heat and render it down. This will give you several tablespoons of beefy dripping.
3. Lay your steaks on a plate or board and, using a pastry brush, paint your steaks with the dripping.
4. When you’re ready to eat, lay the steaks in the white hot pan. Cook for 90 seconds each side. No more, no less. Wagyu doesn’t conform to the rare/medium/well-done rules: the way to cook wagyu is to caramelise the exterior (to give you a crust) and to melt the interior (to give you a molten-fat-explosive-mouth-feel-experience).
5. Serve with the world-famous triple-cooked chips, salad and beefy sauce (I used the gravy from last week’s leftovers).