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Paarl Post
Wag'roo beef for the discerning braaier
Wag'roo beef

What does one get when crossing a very large herd of cattle with the unique native vegetation of the Great Karoo? Wag’Roo of course! And no this is no joke. This is the all-new rage – delectably soft, juicy, melt-in-the-mouth steaks and burgers.

Wag’Roo is the brainchild of a couple of businessmen who not only have a passion for meat and braaiing, but saw great potential in the ever growing trend of Wagyu beef.

They now keep a herd of these cattle in the Karoo, where the unique vegetation is already known for rearing some of the best lamb in the world. But what exactly is Wagyu? Simply put, Wagyu means Japanese cow – not just an ordinary cow, but the “Rolls Royce of beef”, as it’s described.The Wagyu has evolved over the centuries as a draft animal in Japan. This resulted in an animal with a large forequarter and a smaller hindquarter. The marbling (intramuscular fat) was developed to provide a ready source of energy for an animal that is expected to work long hours and pull cars up and down steep hills. In traditional beef breeds, the forequarters are usually used in stews or as minced beef (for example for hamburger patties). 

Because the Wagyu forequarters are very marbled, Wagyu producers can sell the forequarters at a premium. Cuts such as the top sheet are used as a roast, the top thick rib is surprisingly soft and the brisket is very marbled and is an excellent dining experience. Wagyu marbling is also better tasting. Wagyu fat melts at a lower temperature than any other cattle’s, resulting in a rich, buttery flavour unseen in other strains of beef. This fat is also unsaturated and high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, meaning not only is Wagyu marbling more delicious, it’s also healthier.

Well is it really that tasty – is it worth all the hype that it has been receiving worldwide? The simple answer to that is yes. As a great lover of meat, having eaten great steaks across the world, from the famous Scottish mammoth, the Aberdeen Angus to the spectacular American Black Angus, I should know. Then prime beef that has been dry-aged for several months on end.

I am not one for any form of hype – I don’t go with the flow and am not at all a follower of fashion. So when the Wagyu hype started to rear its head I was sceptical over whether the end result would be worth more than just a fashionable foody trend.And even when the nice young men of Wag’Roo delivered some Wagyu steaks and burgers to my front door, I was still pretty doubtful about whether I would really by impressed.I was told that the beautiful thickly cut sirloins, which were given to me should not be braaiied on a grid over open coals, but rather cooked in a searing hot frying pan. I was also not going to spoil these impressive looking steaks with all sorts of spices or sauces as I wanted tot taste the meat, not condiments.

So I got a pretty fierce fire going and once I had an extremely hot bed of glowing coals, I placed my griddle pan directly onto the hell-fire and waited for it to get seriously hot. When the two sirloins hit the heat, they immediately started to sizzle and almost dance on the pan. It was the most delightful sight and aroma that I had experienced for quite a while.

I seared the steaks for four minutes a side – they very quickly became beautifully deep-caramelised brown. Then I removed them onto a warm platter and let then rest for 10 minutes near the fire, but not exposed to too much heat.The verdict – well, if I had to sum up the taste and texture explosion in my mouth, then one simple sentence would do – sex on a plate. The generous rind of fat was melt-in-the-mouth buttery, and the meat itself as soft as filet steak but far more flavourful and juicy. And melt in the mouth is really no exaggeration!

Shortly after this it was time to put the Wag’Roo burgers to test. Given very much the same treatment they were also mind blowing exquisite taste sensation. My dinner partners that evening are actually rather pissed off with me, as they reckon no burger except a Wagyu burger will do for them again.And yes, Wag’Roo has also spoit my beef lust forever, because normal steak will never be the same again!

For more information, visit the Wag’Roo Facebook page.

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