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What Are Wagyu Burgers?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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Wagyu burgers are particular types of burgers made from the ground beef of cattle bred for their highly-marbled fat content. The meat from these cows is noted for its intense flavor and tender texture. Due to the specialized techniques of raising Wagyu cattle, their resulting meat is considered gourmet quality. These cattle are generally free roaming and are fed a specialized diet of barley, corn, and alfalfa. Wagyu burgers ground from this kind of meat have higher than average amounts of monounsaturated fat versus saturated fat.

A common misconception about Wagyu burgers is that they are the same as Kobe burgers. Although the breeding and ranching techniques for Wagyu cattle originated in the Kobe region of Japan, only the meat from cattle raised in this geographic area can accurately be called Kobe beef. Wagyu burgers are made from the meat of cattle raised outside of Kobe, but with the same methods of ranching. A fairly common practice in some restaurants is to advertise Wagyu beef as Kobe beef, although this is technically a misnomer. Wagyu cattle that have been cross-bred with Angus cattle yield meat that is often designated Kobe-style beef.

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Gourmet Wagyu burgers are often available in fine dining restaurants, and they can also be ordered from various beef vendors and cooked at home. Many home cooks find that grilling these kinds of beef burgers yields the best taste, although this process often takes some more attention to detail than with other barbeque foods. Temperature is an important factor in grilling Wagyu beef due to the marbled fat. High heat from grill flames can easily liquefy the fat and cause it to run out of the burgers, resulting in lost flavor. Melted fat can also sometimes cause flame flare-ups that can char the outside of the burgers.

Homemade Wagyu burgers are usually best cooked over somewhat lower flames on either a gas or a charcoal grill. Experienced cooks often recommend medium to medium-high temperatures at the most. This tactic will generally allow the burgers to become nicely browned without any charring that can influence the taste. Recipes for grilling Wagyu burgers often recommend that they be cooked for about five or six minutes per side in most cases. Using a meat thermometer is also an easy way to ensure the burgers are cooked all the way through.

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