In all respects, marbled meat surpasses ordinary beef, differing in tenderness and useful properties. The name itself appeared due to the external similarity of uniform fat layers and a pattern on the surface of the marble. Unlike ordinary beef, marbled contains substances that prevent the formation of cholesterol and even has anti-carcinogenic properties. Wagyu is the finest marbled beef and the rarest variety. But what is the taste of Wagyu beef? Let’s find out.
What does Wagyu taste like? Thanks to the special diet and stress-free way of life, Wagyu beef has a soft texture and unique coconut or peach-like taste. Wagyu beef tastes buttery and fatty because of the special fat veins in it. Some people describe the Wagyu taste as “extremely fatty melts-in-your-mouth, and rich.”
What does Wagyu smell like? Wagyu has a sweetish aroma that reminds the smell of peach and coconut. Wagyu best releases its aroma when heated to 80° Celsius, after dry Wagyu beef aging.
Since Wagyu cows are fed with premium selected grain, Wagyu gets a unique, sweetish aroma, unlike ordinary beef. No other meat has a sweet, coconut, milky and peach-like smell. Due to the perfectly matched, balanced feeding, Wagyu obtained its unforgettable, incomparable sweet aroma. You will definitely not feel this when eating other types of beef.
What Is So Special About Wagyu Beef’s Taste?
What is “umami,” and how can it be described? The literal translation of the Japanese term umami means “good taste” or “yummy.” We all know four main tastes — sweet, salty, sour, bitter. And there is umami — the mysterious fifth taste. Although it is no longer so mysterious, its study was quite officially approached at the beginning of the last century. But first things first.
Have you ever tried something that couldn’t be described in one word? Have you noticed that only when you look at some dishes, you already have a taste sensation in your mouth? Why, when you look, when you think of a piece of marbled meat or delicious cheese, a specific taste already appears in your mouth. This is what umami is.
Does Wagyu taste better? What is the taste of Wagyu beef? Wagyu does taste better than ordinary beef. Wagyu meat is juicy, soft and can be eaten even by those who have teeth problems. Wagyu beef is extremely rich and fatty, contains many useful elements and vitamins and is good for everyone’s health.
Wagyu makes the most delicate steaks, which are fried until medium-rare without the addition of seasonings or salt. Soy sauce is often used instead of salt.
When you cook Wagyu beef, the heat causes the proteins inside to undergo molecular changes. In this process, proteins completely disintegrate into different units, L-glutamate, a special molecule responsible for umami.
Like the other four main tastes, umami is felt when L-glutamate binds to specific receptors on our tongue, triggering a chain reaction of chemical processes leading to taste. And we know this thanks to the Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda, who investigated what umami is at the beginning of the last century.
Glutamate, the main reason for the umami taste, is present in varying proportions in various foods. For example, lesser-known umami-containing foods include tomatoes, beets, corn, and soybeans.
Wagyu beef is among the popular products with a bright concentration of the fifth main taste. Its preparation is a whole art, although this is not the only point. The entire production process of Wagyu is concentrated on maximizing the expression of the umami.
Starting from the Wagyu cows’ raising and their fattening and ending with the technology of production, storage and delivery. And, of course, the subsequent cooking process also plays a significant role here. Properly cooked Wagyu is a high concentration of umami, giving Japanese marbled beef dishes their special taste and a highly memorable aftertaste.
Wagyu fat is known to contain a high percentage of oleic acid, which enhances your taste receptors. According to some reports, oleic acid not only enhances taste but also stimulates the formation of beneficial gut bacteria and may be effective against autoimmune disorders. Researchers are currently working to increase the oleic acid content in order to increase the value of Wagyu. Japanese Wagyu beef is a product of Japanese cuisine and is a gift from the generous nature and rich culinary tradition.
The Japanese diet cannot be imagined without rice, which requires draft oxen to grow. The basis of Japanese beef became, as in other countries of the world, draft cattle, but in the process of selecting a rare breed of bulls was bred, in the meat of which, due to the presence in Japan of a wonderful climate, fatty layers accumulate (“marble pattern” ).
Later, Wagyu began to be used in traditional Japanese cuisine: sukiyaki and shabu-shabu, where thinly sliced meat is cooked in a saucepan along with vegetables, and gradually Wagyu began to attract attention all over the world not just as a high-quality ingredient, but as a work of culinary art.
Wagyu Beef Grades
You can distinguish Wagyu beef by its mesh structure: fat is deeply absorbed into the subcutaneous layers, forming frequent thin lines. The more meshy the meat, the higher the degree of its marbling. The higher the degree of marbling, the better the product is considered to be. There are eight main quality categories for marbled meat. They are assigned to the meat based on combinations of marbling and age group.
The highest category is Prime, which includes meat from bulls slaughtered between the ages of 9 and 30 months. This is the meat of the first degree of marbling. It is uniformly red in color, with a dense network of fatty layers. This is followed in descending order by Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. Choice meat is a degree of marbling from 2 to 4, this meat is more uniform and slightly darker than Prime. The Select category allows for marbling from 5 to 6. The last two categories include lower marbling meat from the “older” age groups. It is usually used for further processing.
Wagyu is elite and delicious meat. It has such a rich original and unique taste that you should certainly fully experience it. Do not overload dishes made from this meat with unnecessary ingredients.
The best way to cook Wagyu is to fry your favorite steak. Fry it in a pan or grill for 2-5 minutes with the addition of pepper and spices, and the gourmet dish is ready. Meat is best consumed with fresh or grilled vegetables.