Wagyu brisket is practically royalty among the beef community. With its exceptional quality and eye-catching marbling of fat, this cut is a cut above the rest.
But cooking this prized meat can be a daunting task, even for experienced grill masters. If you’re unsure of how to approach Wagyu, though, don’t fear. After extensive experimentation and thoughtful analysis, we’ve cultivated several tips for making a perfect American Wagyu brisket that will impress even the most discerning beef aficionados.
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But Wait, What’s Wagyu?
Before we go further, we should break down the Wagyu basics.
The term Wagyu describes a descendant of certain Japanese cow breeds. These cows were originally crossbred between Japanese and American bovines to produce a breed of veritable supercows.
In short, these cows are Wagyu that have been crossbred again with American Angus cows, resulting in a slightly different breed.
The upshot for chefs and roastmasters is that American Wagyu beef is cheaper (Japanese Wagyu are far more regulated and thus rarer, while American Wagyu is less regulated and thus more common) and slightly less delicate in flavor. However, it is no less delicious – and widely available online.
It’s time to figure out how to prepare the perfect American Wagyu. Let’s dive in!
Start With The Best
The first and perhaps most important step in making a great American Wagyu brisket is to start with high-quality meat. Your final results relate directly to your initial materials–bad starting ingredients will make for bad food.
To find high-quality American Wagyu, contact a reputable butcher or meat market in your area.
As you peruse their selection, look for a brisket with good marbling and a nice layer of fat on top.
For the absolute best Wagyu, pick out a piece of beef that is graded Prime, which contains 8 to 13 percent fat.
Don’t Chew The Fat (Trim It Instead!)
Fat is flavor, however, there’s a good reason not to want a piece of brisket with too much fat.
While a layer of fat is necessary for flavor and tenderness, too much fat can result in uneven cook and a greasy finished product. As a result, you should carefully trim the excess fat from your Wagyu brisket, leaving about 1/4 inch of fat on the top of the meat.
Doing so will help to prevent the meat from drying out while cooking and ensure that the seasoning penetrates the meat evenly. After all, you want that homemade spice blend to go into the meat!
While Japanese Wagyu can typically go with minimal seasonings, the subtler flavor of American Wagyu means that the cut can stand up to bold seasonings.
If you want a slightly subtler flavor to your brisket, feel free to season it with salt and pepper. However, if you are planning on smoking your brisket, you surely want a nice bark on the meat, which means that you should season the cut salt, pepper, and any other seasonings of your choice.
Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, or chilli powder are all great choices.
For best results, rub your seasoning onto your brisket the night before you cook it. If you don’t have time, try to give it at least 6 hours in the fridge to absorb the seasoning.
Low And Slow
As any barbecuer knows, low and slow is the way to go.
The key to a tender and juicy American Wagyu brisket is to cook it at a relatively low temperature for a very long period. Plan for about 1 hour of cooking time per pound of meat (assuming your smoker is set to 250, which it should be).
However, keep in mind that cook time can vary depending on the size and thickness of your brisket. To ensure you’re in a good spot, cook the brisket until it reaches an internal temperature of 195-205°F, which should take about 12-14 hours for an average brisket.