A Wagyu beef brisket is a high-quality cut of beef that has the extra marbling from the Wagyu cow which works to counteract some of the drying out problems that are typically seen when cooking brisket. Spending the extra money on a marbled Wagyu brisket is worth it for those special occasions when you're gathering with loved ones. Just remember that a high-quality brisket isn't the same as cooking corned beef for dinner as it requires extra time and attention to get right.
To help you understand some of the ins and outs of Wagyu briskets, we've put together this complete guide so you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your brisket. In this article we'll go over what to look for in a Wagyu brisket, what the grading system means, how to properly cook a Wagyu brisket, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about this type of meat.
What Should I Look for in a Wagyu Brisket?
The term Wagyu refers to one of four types of Japanese cattle breeds that produce an above-average level of marbling of its meat. It's because of this marbling that the meat is so sought after because it creates a melt in your mouth texture that can't be matched by traditional beef brisket like corned beef.
If you're ordering a Wagyu brisket outside of Japan, you're typically getting domestic or American Wagyu meat. American Wagyu beef is the result of purebred Wagyu crossed with traditional cattle breeds. This crossbreeding creates a beef that has the higher amount of marbling with more of a common beef flavor when compared to pure Wagyu. You should also remember that if someone is trying to sell you Kobe brisket outside of Japan you should shop somewhere else as this type of beef isn't available outside of that country.
If you're looking for Wagyu brisket you should consider a cut of meat with a Beef Marbling Score (BMS) of 9 and above as this will give you a brisket that is a step up from your usual USDA Prime brisket. Continue reading to learn more about how certifications grade brisket and what it means for your dining experience.
What is the Highest Grade of Wagyu Beef?
When you're on the hunt for Wagyu brisket there are some considerations you should take before you make your purchase. One of the most important factors is the grading system used to indicate the quality of the brisket. The USDA Prime brisket has a certification grading system that examines two factors; the age of carcass when slaughtered and the intramuscular fat content. In contrast to this is Wagyu beef which is graded using the Japanese beef grading system. To grade brisket the system looks at the following three factors for its certification results:
If you're buying Wagyu brisket online, you should read the details about the Wagyu beef to make sure you know which grade you're getting. For example, the Snake River Farms brisket has a lower tier grade brisket called Black Label as well as an upper tier called Gold Label. There are other suppliers you can use online to find Wagyu beef brisket as well. Some of these include Holy Grail Steak Co., D’Artagnan, Chicago Steak Company, Wasatch Wagyu, and The Wagyu Shop. Just remember to read up on these companies before making your purchase so you know exactly what you're getting.
How Do You Cook Wagyu Brisket?
As you know if you've bought it before, the Wagyu brisket price tag isn't cheap. This means when it comes to cooking Wagyu brisket you want to make sure you know what you're doing so you don't waste one of the more expensive cuts of beef you can get this side of a Kobe brisket in Japan.
Cooking Wagyu brisket is a lot like cooking a high quality beef brisket such as a Prime brisket. If you live in America, you're going to be cooking an American Wagyu beef brisket which is one of the best cuts of meat you can get in the country. Just make sure you check with the supplier to ensure that it is actually Wagyu beef and isn't just being labelled as such as a way for them to make more money off the beef brisket.
Some tools you should have on hand include a sharp knife for trimming the Wagyu beef brisket, a beef brisket injection, a nice dry rub, and a reliable timer. Also, before you start cooking your Wagyu brisket you should trim anything over 1/4" of fat.
A couple days before you plan on cooking your brisket you should heavily salt it and store it in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. This will help tenderize and season the brisket.
The cooking temperature for American Wagyu briskets should be around 325 F to ensure a low, even cooking. Once the brisket is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for around 15 minutes so the juices have a chance to redistribute and the brisket can finish cooking.
Brisket Cooking Method
One thing to keep in mind when cooking American Wagyu beef brisket is that it takes longer to cook than a traditional beef brisket. So if you're used to cooking a brisket that weighs 12 lbs for a certain amount of time, you'll need to extend that cooking time to account for the extra marbled Wagyu brisket meat. This extra cooking time allows for the fat to render properly with some professionals reporting a finished internal temperature as high as 213 F.
If you're planning out a special dinner party or event, you need to allow for this extra time so the Wagyu beef brisket isn't under-cooked and ruined as a result. A toothpick or temperature probe is going to be the best way for you to know if the beef brisket is finished cooking and ready to be served.
Why is My Brisket Still Tough?
Have you ever spent a lot of time and energy on a brisket only to discover its still tough when you went to serve the meal? The main reason that a brisket is still tough after you've taken it out of the oven is because it needed more time to cook and tenderize. The cooking time helps the brisket break down the connective tissue, resulting in a more tender brisket.
To avoid this problem in the future, you should take your time when cooking the brisket and make sure its cooked all the way through before removing it from the oven. The same rule applied if you have the brisket on a smoker or barbecue. You should also invest in a good thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the brisket is where it needs to be before you remove it to rest.
At What Events Should I Serve Wagyu Brisket?
As you'll know if you've done your research, Wagyu brisket is an expensive investment that might be best served at special events with intimate gatherings. We wouldn't recommend you serve this type of brisket at a large event like a wedding as the cost would be astronomical. However, for smaller formal dinners and events it can make for a show stopping meal.
Some events you could serve a Wagyu brisket at includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, birthdays, anniversaries, and formal dinner parties. Just make sure you plan ahead so you have time to properly cook the brisket along with everything else you're planning on serving for dinner.
There really is nothing like the flavor of a well-prepared Wagyu beef brisket. The advanced marbling creates a melt in your mouth experience that can't be matched by any other brisket on the market. You just have to make sure you're following the proper cooking instructions to ensure you don't under or over-cook the brisket. If you take your time and follow the steps above, you'll end up with a delicious brisket that will be the talk of the dinner table.
You should also remember that when you're looking for Wagyu meat you need to be aware of the difference between the more commonly found American version versus the full-blood alternative. At Choice Beef, the Wagyu on our farm are 100% pure-blooded (AWA certified). Unlike American versions, which are a result of crossbreeding with Angus cattle, our pure-blood Wagyu cattle produces a higher quality meat that is melt in your mouth tender.