Steak It $$$

Cooking meat takes more than an oven or BBQ, and not everybody is a steak aficionado, many prefer just to eat a good steak rather than cook a good piece of meat.

Spending time in Tokyo you get used to the idea that Japanese beef is the highest quality you can find. Of course, everyone has their own opinion about what is the best steak; some would argue marbling is as important as age, or no fat at all as we find in northern Italy Piedmonte Fassone.

Cooking steak is complex, more complex than it seems when I think about barbecue and infrared cooking, or about using classic charcoal and in Japan sumi-charcoal, the end result for everyone is going to be different.

We all have different expectations about what the best steak looks and tastes like. It’s true it’s a question of seasoning is key, and without seasoning, in theory, beef doesn’t have much taste. But contrary to what most people believe Japanese beef because of the high intensity and distribution of fat it does not need much.

You have a very rich taste which requires only some salt-and-pepper at most. That’s if you’re a purist when it comes to cooking, keep it simple. However simple isn’t always what people expect and if you go to any restaurant for a prime piece of meat you’ll find they each have their own ways of seasoning. Personally, I try not to season Japanese beef before cooking, or risk burning the small particles sometimes creating off-flavors. So I always season Japanese (Wagyu) after it is cooked, or at the end of cooking, I use low heat to prevent burning or scorching the seaosning, but at the end of the day it all boils down to personal prefernce.

But no doubt cooking beef using Sumi is an excellent option but you really have to pay attention to temperatures used, it all depends on the size and type of beef. If you go too low temperatures it’s okay if the beef is lean but if it’s not you’re going to run into trouble because the fat will be indigestible – almost inedible and you can’t even chew it. So in selecting your piece of beef, you have to be really careful about the fat concentration and that’s what makes Japanese beef so easy to cook.

Whenever I have the opportunity to cook the steak there’s nothing challenging about cooking Japanese beef, It is always excellent. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that because of the high-fat concentration it needs to be rendered at a high temperature. That’s why the Japanese use high-density charcoal, red hot coals retain the heat and glow. But at home, I don’t use charcoal for a lot of reasons, and one is that the charcoal can explode which is a nuisance especially if you have wood floors.

So yesterday I picked up a nice big piece beef of Aussie at the local supermarket it was a roast large in size in comparison to what I normally bye it was 1.204 grams and the total cost was approximately $100.

The same piece of meat, if it was Japanese, would be 2-3 times more and there’s nothing wrong with paying if the quality is there. But it isn’t much of a challenge to cook Japanese beef because 99% of the time it’s amazing.

If you look carefully at the roast you notice something which Japanese beef rarely has, and that is the irregular density and fat tension. Japanese Gyu, namely Wagyu’s fat veins are evenly and harmoniously distributed. The fat is often intense due to diet, and it isn’t common to see clear veins (tissues) or too many oversized veins (intramuscular) or any kind of gristle you see in this kind of meat pictured above.

This Aussie beef was likely shipped frozen and defrosted. No doubt cooking this beef requires more time due to the thickness, and sufficient heat to render the fat, otherwise, it is inedible. And whenever I get imported beef and it is bloody, I brine it to remove the blood until the water is clear, otherwise you risk off-flavors.

But recently I cooked the same beef the other night but there was an odd chemical reaction and the cooking temperature was 54°C and this time 55.5°C.

The next steps are a water bath and letting the beef get cooked before taking it for a ride into the skillet.

And instead of getting into trouble with flavor compounds, I was more careful this time and use only a slight amount of clear Mirin to avoid any complications. Mirin is key to give the beef a good and glazed look. But be careful it raises the temperature as the alcohol blows off, flames are everywhere. You can see the fat gets slightly singed.

Then before serving lots of sea salt, and I offered homemade chimichurri sauce or some fresh garlic sauteed quickly, and the fresh garlic with olive oil is drizzled on top to give some good flavors.

Categories: Meaty Days

Tagged as: ,