Wagyu Beef On The Rack

I had a conversation with my friend, James Lawlor, who runs the butcher shop that bears his name (on the Upper Rathmines Road in leafy south Dublin). It was over the counter while he was putting my weekly order together. He mentioned that he had some Wagyu beef at the end of his 21 day dry ageing process. I am a sucker for a nice Wagyu, so James fetched the side from which to cut the rib that you see in the picture.

We chatted as he passed his butcher’s knife through the meat with only the gentlest of pressure. As he did this he filled me in on the provenance of the meat. It was supplied by Ridgeway Farm, located in the west Wicklow Mountains. We have cycled that way in many occasions, oblivious to the rare Japanese cattle that are reared there. On the website the owners claim; :On Ridgeway Farm we are committed to creating a stress-free and healthy environment where the cattle are fed grass and olive feed to produce the finest Irish Wagyu beef.” There is a lot in that short sentence. Our expectations are high…

One can’t expect to eat dry aged, rare breed beef without paying a premium. The question is “Is it worth the premium price?” To find out, I put the meat on the rack, both figuratively and literally.

As you gaze at the meat, you may be tempted to say something stupid like “There is an awful lot of fat on that steak”. Let’s be plain here. Fat equals flavour. If you are one of the seemingly innumerable band of people who like “a nice lean steak”, then look away. In fact, go away. This is not the place for you.

Salt and pepper, nothing else. Don’t mess around with it.

To give the meat every chance of proving itself to me (and the Wife, a far sterner critic), I simply seasoned the meat with salt and pepper and cooked it on a hot barbecue. My barbecue instructions are really easy to follow.

Don’t be tempted to poke it or shift it around.

Place the seasoned meat on the grill. Leave it there until it is half cooked. Turn it over. Leave it until it is three quarters cooked. Take it off and let it rest for ten minutes. Carve it. Serve it. I cooked ours on the rare side of medium.

Delicious meat. Really delicious.
Plenty of meat for two. Delicious.

So, how did the beef stand up to the grilling (a pathetic word play, I know)? It was beautifully tender, juicy, soft-flavoured (in a good way) and generally delicious. The crispy edges of fat adding a lovely bit of flavour and texture too. We enjoyed it with a big pile of slow cooked onions and some English mustard, made fresh from mustard powder.

This was really tasty. As I say, a real treat.

If you get a chance to try some, do so. It’s a rare treat.

Footnote on commercialisation: I have never met the people who run the farm. I would be too embarrassed to charge my friend. So it looks like I’m doing this for the love of it. #notanad

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  • Just to pore over those photos (no pun intended) makes me salivate! And not one pouring shot in sight. You did well to preserve the pink interior while rendering and crisping the fat. It’s not easy.

  • Do you do Deliveroo??

  • Well done!
    (errr, uh… I mean, medium rare!)

  • This whole post is beautifully naughty! I’ll bet those charred bits of fat were almost as good as the meat!

  • Looks delicious! I wouldn’t trim the fat before cooking as it does add flavor. After cooking, I pass it to my husband. 😊

  • I wonder why this didn’t appear in my Reader, despite the email notification…. I’m glad to see your butcher friend cut the top of the rib for you to make it easier to get the meat off the bone. So many of them don’t bother, and to me it’s the mark of a superior butcher. That’s a lovely bit of meat, good but not excessive marbling, and a nice ‘crust’ of fat. The Husband’s cousin raises Wagyu on his nearly 85,000sqkm station in Central Queensland. It has been a game changer from his original Angus operation…

      • I think a very much smaller property in Ireland would do astonishingly well with Wagyu, considering the quality of soil, abundance of grass and rain, compared with what the cattle are able to access in very dry, very hot Central Queensland. Tell your butcher friend the admiration is mutual, and I wish I had him here due to my complete inability to access offal like ox tongue, oxtail, calves liver, lambs hearts and all the rest. I keep getting told “there’s no demand”, to which I reply “well, what d’you think I am?”… hopeless.

  • A Saturday morning’s ‘fairytale’ to me as my current pocketbook in no way runs to purchasing wagyu, so popular here in Australia. So yours has to be a virtual dream ! However a number of local chefs have published photos . . . most of which I have seen have far less fat surrounding but considerably heavier marbling . . . . happenstance re what I gave seen or a somewhat different breed or way of raising ? Al laughing – yes, personally I do eat my meat leaner but no, I shan’t ‘go away’ !!!

  • the meat looks very tender and tasty Conor. we are not big beef eaters in this house but i can go for a steak a couple of times a year. Yum!

  • Conor: I do wish you could see my huge smile every time I write a sentence like that last one . . . . you could not possibly have taken that at face value . . . was making fun at myself . . . . be well: am checking the Irish figures daily also . . .

  • Hi Conor,
    Considering you told me just before Christmas that you were going to feature a lot more vegetarian style cooking, I have to say that that is the most delicious looking piece of tofu that I have ever seen!

  • Missed this when you posted it Conor, looks like my type of beef, including the fat. Agree re the slow cooked onions, we use what the Spanish call cebollas dulces, sweet onions. The only place I have only found them in Ireland is in Lidl. Coincidence … our new house which is almost finished being built, is literally a stone’s throw from Lawlor’s in Upr Rathmines so looking forward to trying some of their beef. Reminds me of a meal we had in a restaurant in Nerja shortly before we left in a hurry in mid March. Decided to try the Chuletón de Vacuno Gallego, Galician beef from 7 or 8 year old grass fed cows. Not cheap at €49 per Kilo so my 700 gramme portion cost €34.30. It came to the table on the bone and just seared on each side, the middle was totally uncooked. The waiter brought a little gas stove to the table, then removed the bone and cut the beef into vertical slices about 6 mm thick. I was left to cook the beef on the little pan, a few slices at a time, exactly as I wanted it, nice and rare. Absolutely delicious!. First time I ever cooked my own beef in a restaurant.

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