Authentic Wagyu beef is among the most sought-after and luxurious meats in the world. What makes it so special? Why is it healthier and tastier than the other meats?
Mikel Pouw refers to himself as a butcher. His passion for meat dates back to his family days. His main aim is to find the best products for chefs around the world.
Rüdiger Brümmer is a chef with profound knowledge of meat. He is the only meat sommelier in the Netherlands, working for a Dutch company.
Meat of exceptional quality
Mikel started the conversation with the meat market situation in the old days. He said meat hadn’t been of great quality, and it had been very difficult to find a better product until he met a Japanese chef in Amsterdam, who showed him Japanese cattle. Then, he began his research on these high-quality cattle, which he found incredibly interesting. He gained knowledge on breeding conditions and finally started importing wagyu cattle from the USA. In 1997, Nice To Meat was the first to market the product.
Too fat and too expensive – a few words about wagyu beef
At first, people had many objections about this type of meat. Mikel said he had heard many times that this product was too fatty and too expensive.
“At that time, people didn’t understand the product at all. Because of the intramuscular fat and the different fatty acid style wagyu has, it is much different from the cattle we know. This means the wagyu has two unsaturated fats against one saturated fat in common beef, which makes the product much healthier; it is easier to digest.”
Authentic Japanese Wagyu is beef of the highest calibre, venerated the world over for its copious, intense marbling and rich fat content. Moreover, it contributes to an ultra-tender texture and buttery flavour. So it was a huge achievement when they were able to import the product from Japan in 2014. That was when Japanese wagyu started to be promoted and finally available in Europe.
How to recognise the wagyu
Mikel demonstrated us how to recognise the wagyu meat easily. The fat on the meat always melts at room temperature. This can be proof that we are working with the real product. With intramuscular fat, the cattle can be used much better. That means we can get a lot more steaks or other barbecue-style products than we do from other meats.
How to prepare real Japanese steaks?
Rüdiger Brümmer showed us how prepare chuck roll steaks in Japan. The chuck rolls are often used for minced meat, for example, in bolognese. ‘But it is also a product with high potential.’ said Rüdiger.
‘We could see techniques for slicing the meat. For example – if we cut it thinly enough, the slices will be able to cook very shortly, and thanks to that, they could have a steak effect.’
He also mentioned that wagyu was very saturated, so you didn’t have to eat much. Rüdiger demonstrated the whole process of preparing this excellent dish with the best products.
If you want to know more about Wagyu cattle and see how to prepare the perfect steaks, watch the whole interview recording.