After sushi and ramen, Japanese beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan. But because we are not there my nephew generously purchased some “fatty beef” (A5) at Harrods and hand carried it to our test kitchen in Mykonos. The piece was almost 2kg (wow-takai) and I cut it into 3 steaks. I kept in our fridge and cooked it over some days leaving one piece until yesterday.
The meat did discolor (after a week or longer) it had oxidative degradation of the lipids, known as lipid peroxidation. It is the process in which free radicals “steal” electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage, or what we call rancidity. While this happened it was still perfectly fine (scrapped off) and consumed.
It’s so crazy how fat works and too often people are confused about which fats are what. The Japanese meat is not only fat, it’s condensed with fat intensity, and if you leave it at room temperature it melts and very quickly.
What’s so unique about Japanese beef is the meat has a high amount of intramuscular fat commonly known as marbling. The high amounts of intramuscular fat has a fatty acid composition that is significantly lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher in monounsaturated fat, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA).
To understand the basic about fat, from a chemical standpoint, saturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature.
First of all, red meat provides a small amount of naturally occurring trans fats. Both of these natural trans fats are categorized as omega-7 fats and can help promote healthy cholesterol levels by lowering LDL, or bad cholesterol.
When eating so-called Wagyu beef you should know that the fat is a healthy fat – unsaturated fat and unlike the counter part American beef loaded with more saturated fats. For the most part not all of the fat in red meat is harmful, and Japanese beef helps protect your heart by boosting HDL cholesterol levels, the good cholesterol and has healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.
You might want to also pay attention to the source of your meat more than anything because most beef in the US is often from CAFO (Confined Animal feedlots Operations) which feed the cattle grains, thereby increasing tremendously the omega 6’s in the meat.
Just know what you eat!…