The picture associated with this post is of a common brisket we had for dinner the other night.
What is uncommon about it is the marbling you see in the picture.
You simply cannot find that kind of marbling in a supermarket, a local butcher or from 90% of the websites online selling beef.
I snapped the picture because this particular brisket showcases what marbling in Wagyu is all about.
As you shop for Wagyu online – regardless of where it comes from or why they call it Wagyu – you are going to see a lot of claims about how the meat is graded.
Trust very little of what you read.
The most well-known grade of wagyu is what the Japanese call their best Wagyu – A5.
As you shop you will see some beef marketers claiming their stuff is A5. The only way that is true is if the meat is:
- Imported from Japan
- Graded by the Japanese Meat Grading Association
- Paid for with an arm, a leg and a first-born child
The stuff is rare. Not many can get their hands on genuine Wagyu raised in Japan because only a handful of entities import it and most of it goes to high-end restaurants.
So, any claims you see of domestic beef being graded A5 are bogus.
Australia, Canada and Argentina are all beef exporters into the US market. They each have their own grading systems.
But like the Japanese any beef you purchase from those countries are only graded by regulatory agencies. Marketers will claim a grade but very few actually back it up with official seals and certificates.
It is bad enough that they call their cross-bred fake wagyu Wagyu. It is worse when they claim it carries any kind of official grade.
All beef produced in the USA, if inspected, carries labels of grading. Most commonly known are the upper end of the US grading scale in Select, Choice and Prime grades.
But here’s the “problem” with wagyu: it is “Beyond” Prime – meaning there is no scale to grade just how it is.
Which gets me back to the picture above of our humble brisket the other night.
Take a long look at that image (click on it to see it in a larger size).
Do you see those streaks of white?
That is not gristly, chewy fat. That is the good fat of real Wagyu.
Those streaks and web-like pockets of fat you see in this ungradable meat has a very low melting point. That means it all dissolves into the meat as you cook it.
This is what makes all real Wagyu so very tender.
In the world of barbeque pit masters the lowly brisket is considered a bellwether of cooking prowess.
It is traditionally a tough meat and every recipe you see online and video you watch on YouTube warns you to cook it “low and slow” or you will suffer the indignity of a tough and chewy brisket.
Pit masters use brisket as a means of separating the men from the boys when it comes to grilling. Brisket is a bugger to get right.
Not so with our Wagyu brisket of the other night.
At our table we had us old folks, four adults, a teenager and two very young grandsons who feasted on the brisket.
Nobody used a knife. Everybody said “wow”.
This is the experience of Wagyu.
The brisket went into the oven looking like no other brisket. That one side, as the picture shows, was nearly white with marbling. Most in the house had never seen anything like it.
But it tasted like no other brisket anyone has ever had. That’s the effect of real full blood Wagyu marbling.
How would that brisket have scored by the Japanese? By the Australians? By the USDA?
None of them would have mattered.
This is the great thing about real Wagyu. You know it when you see it.
We always encourage carnivores comparing meat online to look at the differences in the photos posted in each website.
That’s my challenge to you here. Take a look at that picture above – which is not a studio image made to look fancy or anything – and compare it to ANY other photo of brisket out there on any website selling meat.
Do it. Compare it. We dare you.
You’ll see that nothing compares to real Wagyu.
The taste of whatever meat you buy is subject to that same comparison. Marbling just matters.
We recognize that when you spend money on Wagyu it comes with an expectation. We want to meet those expectations. In fact, we want to set the new bar when it comes to excellence in your beef.
Anything you order can be photographed – the actual stuff we send you – and you can see it before you buy it.
We don’t want you to buy it just because we say it is great. We want you to see it in advance. Just let us know and we’ll shoot photos of it and you can see the marbling in what you buy before we send it.
We don’t believe that is an unreasonable request.
We also know it will only make you hungrier.