Cooking Meat “GYU”

The cooking of meat is a lengthy process and involves a certain level of experience, touch and feel. I am not fond of sirloin and I much prefer filet given the meats fat content. I am speaking about Japanese gyu, as western beef is very different and not comparable.

When judging meat we look at the grade and the Beef marbling structure in order to access the beauty and quality of the meat. The striation of fat is key, concentration and flecks of fat make up the meat’s final grade. I point this out because when it comes to cooking, you need to judge how to best handle the steaks. The cooking of a filet is different to the sirloin.

The first step is to decide on the size of the meat. I suggest you stay below 250g when it comes to Nihon-gyu. The most important is the flavouring and colouring of the meat. If you have sumi-bincho, a Japanese charcoal you can simply cook the meat over a grill and in this case salt and pepper. If not you are obliged to use a pan and the oven. The key factors in preparing the meat is using the right tools.

So you’ll need stainless steel skewers [kushi] so you can raise the beef in the oven so the meat gets air circulation and heat transfer equally on all sides.

I always seat with a warm pan but never a sizzling pan. The reason is, you will scald the fat and render it beyond a point where is burns and doesn’t sear with flavour enhancement. I always colour the meat and then add my dried powders, pepper, garlic and paprika. I am careful not to expose these to the hot pan at temperatures above 130 celsius or you’ll burn them. I sometimes deglaze with a shoyu and sake mixture to glaze the meat and even add some mirin.

Lastly I skewer the beef and place it above a pot to cook it in mid air. This ensures that the beef isn’t touching a hot surface and getting over cooked on one side. I always try to use a thermo couple to measure the temperature of the meat to cook it to a perfect state. This is a topic by itself.