We’re currently riding the wave of enjoying that most premium of beef in South Africa. Wagyu Beef, is a catch phrase that makes every meat eater sit up and twitch their nose. You will find that every market has a stockist, any self-respecting steakhouse has it on their menu and even your favourite weekend home-braai vendor is selling it. It’s on-trend and everyone wants a piece of it… literally.
The price tag on this prime product is hefty. You can find out more on the why’s around that and the background of Wagyu in my recent article here. Because of the price I would think most people would be reluctant to try and cook it themselves, rather trusting an expert to get it right. At least that would be my modus operandi. I’ve never been good at cooking a good steak. But I must admit that I used to eat my steak really well done. Which meant cooking the life out of it and usually ending up with a somewhat dry slab of cardboard. Albeit a deliciously flavoured one if I say so myself, but still dry nonetheless. The Indian way right?!?
I’ve more recently started ordering my steak medium, and actually enjoying it. So when I got the chance to try some Wagyu steaks from Zingela Meats I overcame my trepidation and got my braai action on. I got a bit of a raised eyebrow from Zaheer at Zingela when I said I wanted to braai my steak. Most people prefer to pan fry it because braaing renders the fat out of the meat and into the fire. Whereas pan-frying keeps the fat in the pan and subsequently the meat more moist. So I decided to do it both ways and see which one I preferred.
Wagyu Sirloin – The Braai Version
Normally I would wait for the man-hands (that’s husband) to get home and get the fire going. But the light was fading and I was having serious blogger anxiety about getting the right light for my shots. Yes, I know, first world problems…. So I got the braai stand and coals out and got down and dirty myself. No time to even clean the grid properly cos… light…
I kept the 2cm thick sirloin simple with just a light olive oil rub to make the spices stick and a salt and liberal cracked black pepper seasoning which I did just before I started the fire. My fire was hot and ready in about half an hour and I popped on the steak without moving or fiddling with it too much for just 3 minutes on each side. A thicker steak can go a bit longer, say 4 minutes for medium to well. Once cooked I removed it and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it. This allows the juices to slurrrrp back into the meat and keep it juicy, because if you cut it straight away the juices tend to run out and you get a drier steak. The finish was medium, tender with a good pink on the inside and the flavour superb with just the salt and pepper. It did not feel dry at all when you consider the concerns of losing the fat to the fire. Perhaps longer cooking would result in that.
Wagyu Rib Eye – Pan Seared
The piece of rib-eye I was cooking was thinner than the sirloin and had even more marbling. I coated this very lighty in olive oil too and rubbed it with some Calisto’s grill and braai spice. Using a heavy based pan I added just a tiny bit of oil once the pan was hot and added the steak. Giving it 3 minutes as well on each side without moving allowed a nice crust to form on the outside. Once removed from the pan this was also allowed to rest for a few minutes. Because it was a thinner steak this one was more well-done than the sirloin. It also seemed that the cooking process made the steak thinner too. But the texture was still tender and moist. The spice rub on the meat was good and didn’t take away from the quality or flavour of the meat in my opinion. But the purists may disagree.
I’ve captured the cooking process on a video which you can check out below.
So which version was better?
Honestly, I couldn’t make a choice. The braaied version with just salt and pepper was equally as good as the pan-fried spiced version. Both were moist and tender even though the pan fried version was more well done. I do think that if you tried to braai it well done though, you might ruin it. At a real push I would choose the Salt and Pepper Braaied steak. The other thing is, I also think it doesn’t really need the oil rub before seasoning. The meat contains enough natural fats and Omegas for that to be enough when cooking. Different oils will also affect the taste of the meat slightly.
The steaks from Zingela Meat Company were beautifully marbled and came individually vacuum packed. They breed certified South African Wagyu and Angus on their farm in Heidelberg, Johannesburg and supply selected outlets all over South Africa. In Cape Town you may be familiar with the guys from Conscious Carnivores who have been causing a stir with their Wagyu Burger and Braai pop-ups over weekends and at markets. They use only Zingela Meat and you can follow them here to find out where they’ll be next or call them on 082 978 7787. They are also authorized Cape Town distributers.
Other distributers include in Johannesburg: Benoni – Amans Meat & Deli 011 918 9102, Killarney – Franki’s Meat Cart 072 117 3949, Pretoria – Eziquik Deli 012 374 9796, Lenasia – Faheems Meat & Deli 011 057 0000 and in Durban: Durban Premium Beef 072 215 2526.
Zingela Meat Company will be at the Halaalgoods Market at the Fox Junction in Johannesburg this weekend 2nd and 3rd November. So get yourself there and you could talk Wagyu straight from the horse’s, or is that… cow’s mouth?