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Really good wagyu beef is almost shocking to behold. A beautifully marbled USDA Prime angus ribeye steak will feature rich veins of fat winding its way through the muscle groups. However, true Kobe beef from Japan is something different altogether. The fat is practically interwoven with the muscle fibers, creating an impossibly marbled steak that so-called American Kobe can’t compare to. The difference between the beef from Japan and America isn’t semantics; it’s genetics. Fat is actually stored inside the muscle tissue, creating a remarkable flavor and texture.
In years past, it could be tough to get your hands on great A5 wagyu, but there are some great online purveyors now, especially Holy Grail Steak Co. The company works with ranchers across Japan to source some of the best beef imaginable and import it to America. Recently, they’ve upped the ante even higher, offering the most richly marbled steak you can find. Because while A5 denotes the highest level of wagyu, there’s actually still some wiggle room inside A5 between different ratings in the Beef Marbling Standard (BMS). Holy Grail is currently offering BMS 12 A5 Kobe beef in three different cuts: ribeye, filet mignon and strip.
I tried the ribeye, and what arrived was a large, thin slab of intensely marbled meat. Because I’ve worked with wagyu before, on a piece this large I didn’t sear this one whole. When I’ve done that in the past, the meat has constricted and pulled away from the pan, preventing the sear I want. Instead I sliced it into one-inch-wide batons, seasoned with sea salt and seared in a stainless-steel pan without oil (there’s already plenty of fat inside the meat itself). Since this steak is so rich, it’s best to enjoy with friends, so slicing it like this works out great anyway. The meat browned perfectly with less than a minute per side and after a quick rest, the umami-rich beef was ready. Everyone at the table agreed it was one of the most decadent and delicious steaks they’d ever had.