How To Cook Wagyu Steak: The Ultimate Guide

wagyu steak

Wagyu beef is a type of beef known for its intense marbling, tenderness, and flavor. But how to cook Wagyu steak perfectly? Well, you need to cook it on a grill or pan-fry it.

When you cook a regular steak, you start by searing it on high heat for a few minutes on each side. Wagyu beef is different; therefore, a different cooking method is required.

First, you’ll need to cook it on low heat until the internal temperature is 20°F below the desired level. Afterward, you should sear it on a scorching hot surface for a minute on each side until the Wagyu steaks develop a brown crust.

I have to admit that as a chef with over a decade of experience cooking wagyu beef for the first time was intimidating. And trust me, I cooked thousands of steaks before. I learned and perfected the wagyu beef cooking method through trial and error, so follow along with the step-by-step guide below.

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How To Cook Wagyu Steak

cooking wagyu steak

Wagyu beef is an expensive cut of beef, so it is essential to cook it correctly, so you don’t end up wasting your money. Since you want to cook it at home, I highly advise you to follow the instructions below (the same cooking methods can be used at restaurants).

Trust me; I have burned a few Wagyu steaks on a grill. Because they contain a lot of marbling, Wagyu steaks are best cooked over low heat first and finished on high heat to create a nice crust.

Regarding quantities, 13-ounce Wagyu beef is more than enough to serve 6 people. After all, it’s a costly steak cut; therefore, it’s best when enjoyed in small amounts.

Here’s a list of ingredients you’ll need:

  • Wagyu steak
  • Kosher salt;
  • Freshly ground pepper;
  • Olive oil;
  • Fresh rosemary;
  • Fresh thyme;
  • Butter.

Here’s a list of equipment you’ll need:

How To Grill Wagyu Steak

  1. Bring steak to room temperature. Remove Wagyu steak from the fridge at least half an hour before cooking and season with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bringing steak to room temperature will ensure even cooking. Avoid cooking frozen or partially frozen steaks because they’ll cook unevenly;
  2. Prepare the grill. Prepare a grill for two zone cooking. Two-zone cooking is when you have a high-heat area and a low-heat area on the grill. It will give you more control over the cooking process. Rub the grill grates with some cooking oil to prevent the meat from sticking;
  3. Cook the steak on a grill. Place the steak on a grill over low heat. Cook wagyu beef until 20°F below the desired doneness. Flip the steak every few minutes to cook evenly. I’m cooking my half-inch Wagyu ribeye steak to medium. Once the internal temperature is 125°F – transfer steak over high heat and sear for 1 minute each side until a brown crust develops;
  4. Rest. Leave the steak to rest for about 5 minutes. Resting steak is essential because it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender steak. Even though wagyu is tender as it is – still resting is essential.

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Note: start on low heat when cooking Wagyu steak on a gas grill. When the internal temperature is 20°F below the desired temperature, turn the heat up to high and cook for 1 minute on each side.

How to Pan-Fry Wagyu Steak

  1. Bring steak to room temperature. Remove Wagyu steak from the fridge at least half an hour before cooking and season with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bringing steak to room temperature will ensure even cooking;
  2. Turn the oven on to 275°F. It’s technically a reverse sear method because you’ll start cooking steak in the oven and then finish it off by searing on a hot pan. Place the Wagyu steak on a wire rack on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Cook until the internal temperature is 20°F below the desired doneness. Use a leave-in thermometer if you have one. If not cooking about an inch thick rib-eye steak in the oven to 125°F takes about 15-20 minutes;
  3. Preheat the pan. Place pan on a stovetop over high heat until scorching hot. Keep in mind it’s best to use a pan with a heavy base because a cheap nonstick pan or carbon steel pan can warp or damage. Cast iron skillet is considered a gold standard for cooking steaks;
  4. Sear the steak. Take the steak out of the oven and place it in a scorching hot pan to finish cooking. Add butter, fresh thyme, and fresh rosemary and sear for 1 minute on each side until brown crust forms;
  5. Rest. Leave the steak to rest for about 5 minutes. Resting steak is crucial because it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender steak. Even though wagyu is tender as it is – still resting is essential.

Related:

Note: instead of using butter, you can swap it for oil with a high smoke point. However, since searing Wagyu steak requires only a few minutes, the butter will not burn.

What Is Wagyu Steak?

what is wagyu steak

Wagyu steak is a high-quality cut of beef that is known for its intense marbling, tenderness, and flavor. To make it more clear, wagyu beef comes from four cow breeds: Japanese black, Japanese brown, polled, and shorthorn cows.

The meat is very high in fat and is often called “butter beef” because of its smooth texture. Wagyu steak is quite a bit more expensive than other types of beef, but it is definitely worth the price. The priciest wagyu is called Kobe beef and comes from the Kobe region of Japan.

However, nowadays, you can buy American wagyu, which is a crossbreed of Angus and Wagyu. The meat is similar to wagyu, but it’s more affordable.

Which Wagyu Steak To Buy

which wagyu steak to buy

Since wagyu is an expensive beef, I suggest buying rib-eye. It’s the most popular cut and has the best marbling. Best wagyu steaks are known for their fat content, so you might as well try the best of them all – ribeye.

If you like to treat yourself, then A5 and Kobe are the most prized and expensive types of wagyu. They are highly marbled and flavorsome; however, they are the most costly steaks money can buy.

If A5 and Kobe are too expensive, you might ask yourself if you should go for American or Japanese Wagyu beef (there’s Australian wagyu as well). The answer is, it depends. American Wagyu is bred with purebred Angus cattle, while Japanese wagyu has a more complex breeding process. It makes Japanese wagyu more expensive, but the meat is often considered higher quality.

To sum it up, if looking for the ultimate experience, go for a Japanese wagyu. However, if paying $200 per pound is too much, American wagyu is also great since it’s juicy and incredibly tender with a buttery flavor.

Note: Thin wagyu cuts are better since they do not burn as fast as thick ones. It takes more time to cook a thick cut of steak, and because wagyu has way more fat than any other regular steak, it tends to burn more quickly.

Steak Doneness Guide

steak temperature chart
  • Rare steak: 125° F;
  • Medium rare steak: 135° F;
  • Medium steak: 145° F;
  • Medium-well steak: 150° F;
  • Well done, steak: 160° F.

To check the steak’s doneness, stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part of wagyu steak and check the reading. Depending on thickness, cooking times may be different.

My favorite way to check steak’s internal temperature is by using a finger test method. The finger test method is very accurate and easy to do. Press on the steak with your index finger – if it feels soft, then it’s rare. If it feels bouncy, then it’s medium-rare. If it feels firm with a slight bounce, then it’s medium, and if it’s firm, it means it’s well done.

FAQ

What is the best way to cook wagyu steak?

The best way to cook wagyu steak is on a grill or pan-frying. Unlike cooking a regular steak – wagyu requires a slightly different cooking method. You need to start on low heat and finish it off by searing on medium-high heat on a grill. Whereas cooking on a frying pan, you’ll need to reverse sear the steak. Place the steak in the oven until the internal temperature is 20°F below the desired doneness. Finish off the steak in a scorching hot pan.

Is it better to grill or pan-fry wagyu?

Both grilling and pan-frying wagyu beef are great cooking methods. It depends if you prefer the smokey flavor from the charcoal or not. However, most steak lovers agree that grilling steak is the purest way of cooking the meat

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