All About Wagyu Corned Beef

How tempting is corned beef? It’s so enticing that astronaut John Young once smuggled a corned beef sandwich on Gemini 3 in the pocket of his spacesuit. Now, imagine how irresistible Wagyu corned beef would be if it had existed in 1965. John might have stashed a whole smoked brisket in his pocket! If you’re curious about Wagyu corned beef, buckle up because we’re about to give you everything you need to know. We’ll discuss what it is, where it originated, and how to make it. Plus, we’ll introduce you to some mouthwatering recipes.

Wagyu Corned Beef Explained

The term “Wagyu” loosely translates to “Japanese cattle.” When it comes to corned beef, the cut typically used is brisket. So, Wagyu corned beef is essentially corned beef made from the brisket cut of Angus cattle that carry the DNA of a Japanese cow. But not just any Japanese cow – specifically the Tajima breed.

Tajima cattle, raised in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan, are renowned for their exceptional marbling. Hyogo is also the home of Kobe, a term often misused when it comes to beef. If you’re interested in understanding the whole Kobe beef controversy, check out the article titled “The Real Beef On Kobe Beef” on chefseattle.com.

Unraveling the Name “Corned Beef”

While we’re on the topic of historical terminology (thanks to Kobe), let’s explore the misleading nature of the name “corned beef.” In Old English, “corn” was a common term used to describe anything with a consistency similar to cereal grain seeds. In the case of corned beef, it referred to the large-grained rock salt used to preserve the meat.

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In essence, “corned” beef simply means beef preserved in salt, a practice that dates back thousands of years. The name became prominent due to the tradition of serving corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, giving us a slice of tasty history.

A Brief History of Corned Beef

Historically, cows in Ireland were a symbol of wealth and primarily valued for their dairy products. Only the wealthy and royal could afford to consume them. In Ireland, the culinary scene revolved around pork products. During the 1600s, bacon and cabbage were the stars of an Irish table on St. Patrick’s Day.

Legend has it that when the first wave of Irish immigrants arrived in the US, kosher butchers provided an affordable supply of brisket. As Eastern Jewish immigrants settled in the same neighborhoods as Irish settlers, they diversified the dinner table and forever elevated the status of St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef has proven to be a versatile dish that withstands the test of time. In the 17th century, the British developed a strong appetite for beef, turning the Irish countryside into a massive cattle ranch. The salt-cured meat was shipped back to England, where it earned the name “corned beef” due to the rock salt used in the curing process.

Throughout history, corned beef has been a staple for US troops during both World Wars and has long been favored by the Israeli military (known as “loof”). Today, Brazil produces the largest quantity of canned corned beef, contributing to a range of comforting dishes throughout the Caribbean.

Why Brisket Flat is the Ideal Cut for Wagyu Corned Beef

When it comes to Wagyu corned beef, the leaner flat cut, often referred to as the “first cut,” is the deep pectoral muscle of the brisket. However, it’s worth noting that being leaner than the point doesn’t mean it lacks fat. A layer of fat, also known as the nose, separates the two cuts. This fat cap plays a crucial role in preventing the meat from drying out during the slow cooking process.

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Brisket is one of the nine primal cuts and features a significant fat cap and connective tissue within the meat. Slow cooking allows the gelatin to integrate with the leaner meat, resulting in a succulent and flavorful brisket. Brisket’s IMPS is 120A, for those who love diving into beef nerd territory.

The Process of Making Corned Beef

Corned beef can either be cured in salt or brined in spices. Although most recipes call for pickling spices, you can certainly try your own variations at home. The traditional process involves a multi-day salt rub or brine, allowing you the freedom to experiment with different spice blends.

Mass-produced corned beef often contains saltpeter, or sodium nitrate, as a preservative. Sodium nitrate also helps maintain the meat’s pink hue.

Cooking Wagyu Corned Beef

The key to cooking raw corned beef, regardless of the cut, is to go low and slow. While there are alternative methods, using a smoker or slow cooker yields the best results for Wagyu brisket.

If you’re already experienced with using a smoker, feel free to skip ahead. However, if you’re new to smoking, a smoker can enhance the flavor of Wagyu corned beef in several ways. Wood smoke adds richness and depth to the meat. During the initial stages of the smoking process, the fat drips onto the coals, further enhancing the smoky flavor.

Popular smoker hardwoods include Oak, Pecan, Hickory, and Mesquite. You can experiment by using a combination of hardwood and charcoal or create your unique blend. Think of using hardwood species like a chef utilizes spices.

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If you prefer a hands-off approach, the slow cooker method is perfect for you. Some recipes suggest adding root vegetables or potatoes near the end of the cooking time. However, if you want a fuss-free meal, add all the ingredients to the slow cooker, set it on low, and return eight hours later to a mouthwatering dish.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipes

If you’re already skilled in cooking brisket, chances are you’ve mastered the art of cooking Wagyu. However, if you’re new to raw corned beef, we’ve compiled a list of fantastic recipes categorized by cooking method to get you excited.

Smoked Corned Beef:

  1. Smoked Corned Beef And Cabbage – A straightforward recipe by Pit Boss that serves as a dual-purpose guide for smokers and acquiring hardwood pellets.
  2. Smoked Corned Beef And Cabbage – Hey Grill Hey provides a recipe that combines smoking and braising, marrying the best of both worlds.

Slow-Cooker Corned Beef:

  1. Corned Beef And Cabbage Slow-Cooker Recipe – Spend with Pennies offers a foolproof and easy-to-follow recipe that guarantees success.
  2. Slow Cooker Corned Beef And Cabbage – Dinner At The Zoo presents a go-to recipe for foodie parents with limited time. You’ll also discover links to a plethora of accompanying St. Patrick’s Day dishes.

Whether you choose to follow an existing recipe, combine multiple recipes, or create your own, cooking Wagyu corned beef will take your St. Patrick’s Day feast to new heights. Prepare to indulge in a tender and flavorful corned beef brisket that will leave you yearning for more.