How to cook American Wagyu Beef

So you just bought your Wagyu Beef. It was expensive. You don’t want to mess it up by cooking it the wrong way. If you’re having guests over, you especially don’t want to I felt just how you did when I first got on the Wagyu train.

Wagyu beef has an incredible history that I think is fascinating, but if you don’t care about that then just scroll to the bottom where you receive our step by step instructions on how to cook the perfect American Wagyu steak.

What is American Wagyu Beef?

This past year, I focused my extra time on reading, cooking, and other hobbies. While many focused on perfecting their sourdough, I turned to a different culinary interest; wagyu beef. After befriending a couple of local ranchers, wagyu became an expense I was more than willing to splurge for. The one question that they couldn’t exactly help me answer was how to cook wagyu beef.

It’s easy to understand why wagyu is rising in popularity. The quality, taste, and ability to simply melt in your mouth is unparalleled in the beef industry. But if I was willing to spend that much money on beef, wouldn’t I want to be sure that I was maximizing flavor? This is the beginning of Sumi Shio.

I decided to start with the basics. I found this book on Amazon to be extremely informative.

In this book, I discovered that the Japanese cooked over charcoal and only used salt.

Like all things American, I borrowed the Japanese method of cooking and reformatted it to fit my lifestyle. Without access to a charcoal grill, I had to get creative. I blended charcoal and salt in my kitchen and used it as a rub. I decided that a high-heat sear would seal in the flavors and fat within a thicker cut of American Wagyu. 

So the Japanese used charcoal and high heat, but why is that an important factor? To understand the details, we should first showcase the differences between Japanese, Australian, and American Wagyu.

As you can tell below, Japanese Wagyu has a high percentage of fat. This is called ‘marbling’ and is attributed to the abundance of oleic acid in the beef. This is a byproduct of genetics, rearing, nutrition, and a variety of other factors that distinguish Wagyu from the herd.

There is a scoring system called the Beef Marbling System, depicted below. In the BMS, you will typically see Japanese Wagyu beef with some Australian and few American mixed in.​

Japanese Wagyu that is higher on the BMS scale is often sliced thinner (¾ of an inch or less. This is largely due to the richness of the meat. The Japanese traditionally cook these over charcoal or skillet on high heat for a short period of time before cutting into small servings. If you were to cook this for too long, it would melt off the majority of the fat, leaving you with no meat. To be clear, this isn’t a fork and knife slab that Americans are accustomed to. This is a delicacy meant to be enjoyed rare and in small quantities. This isn’t a very popular way of eating in America, which is one of the reasons why American Wagyu was born.​

In recent years, making a profit without industrial farming has been a challenge for American cattle ranchers. Taking after the Aussies, Americans began importing and breeding Wagyu with American cattle. American Wagyu, also known as Wangus, is typically bred with Angus cows. 

The result is a lower-level of Oleic Acid, and less marbling than Japanese Wagyu. This flavor is like a Prime grade steak on steroids. With a great balance of marbling to meat, American Wagyu does very well on charcoal or pan-sear.  While some of the fat burns off, the steak doesn’t shrink too much due to this balance. The thickness of American Wagyu is typically also greater than Japanese. American Wagyu usually runs from 1”-1.5” thick when cut. 

The makeup of American Wagyu as well as its thickness should denote that you will want to cook this steak differently than Japanese Wagyu. A simple sear over charcoal or a skillet would not be enough to achieve a medium-rare consistency with American Wagyu. In fact, this method would lead to a very undercooked, 

Here's my favorite recipe for how to cook American Wagyu Beef with Sumi Shio. Let us know how you like it or if you've discovered a favorite way!

Reverse Searing American Wagyu Beef with Sumi Shio

Steps to perfection:

The magic of Wagyu steak happens before you even put it in the oven to achieve a medium rare center. If you want you and your guests to experience all of American Wagyu in its glory, use our Sumi Shio Dry Rub to seal in all the flavorful mouthwatering juices and enhance your dining experience.

Dust each side of your Wagyu steak with a pinch or two of Sumi Shio depending on the size of your cut of beef. (If you are planning on cooking the steak the same day/night as reading this, you can use Salt as a replacement until you’re able to place your order of Sumi Shio).

Let sit at room temperature while the oven heats to 275-degrees Fahrenheit.

Place Wagyu in skillet (we prefer cast iron) and move to oven.

After about 30 minutes, check Wagyu with a meat thermometer

Remove from oven once the internal temperature reads 110 degrees.

Allow Wagyu to rest for 5-10 minutes on clean cutting board.

Place cast iron skillet on stovetop at highest heat.

Move the Wagyu back onto the skillet with a tablespoon of high-quality butter.

Baste a few times for ~3 minutes on each side of the steak.

Remove Wagyu from the skillet and place back on the cutting board for 5+ minutes before cutting or plating.

What do I use to season Wagyu Beef?

How can a man with a $179 Wagyu steak settle for a $7 dry rub?