If you’re a fan of high quality meats and like to splurge on you and/or yours, keep reading. In March of 2020 we were supposed to take a vacation to WA. Covid prevented that trip. So, with the shut down approaching and having vacation money, we wanted to treat our household w/ some wagyu steaks. We drove to Hugo, MN where the only HQ family owned fine meat shop was located. It was here at J. Morten’s Meat Market where we met the Meat Scientist, Dan. Now, this guy could talk to you for hours about Australian and Japanese meat cuts, marbling and beyond. A swell gent! Long story short, we bought some lovely cuts and left filled with meat knowledge that we never knew we needed.
Fast Forward to this this past weekend. We took a trip to their new(er) Edina location. It’s the old Caribou at 50th & France. Beautiful location with a parking lot within feet of their side entrance. Here we met Brandon, who also shares the expertise of fine meat cuts. We walked away with a MS9+ Purebred ribeye from 2GR ranch in Australia as well as a NY Strip MS9 crossbred from Rangers Valley. Reverse sear was the method used on the ribeye. While the strip was solely done pan seared. Decided to make a charcuterie board style presentation to feast on with fingerlings, smashed fingerlings, arugula salad, broccolini, tomatoes, carrots and an ample amount of Murray River finishing salt that also came from J. Morten’s. It was all melt-in-our-mouths magnificent! Dinner guests agreed! Kept it Aussie and paired with Penfolds Bin 389 Cab. Side note: We prefer the Australian wagyu over the Japanese.
The Purebred Wagyu that they get from Australia:
Because this is fourth generation cattle, i.e. it was originally a crossbred between wagyu and angus, and then over 3 more generations it was bred with fullblood to get to 94% wagyu, it is a pretty small herd with limited availability. This typically comes into the country just once per month, and they grab a bunch when they can, but it is a product that they do not always have in stock.
They typically stock the crossbred wagyu, as that is the most prevalent, and also what most wagyu in America is as well
They will switch between hybrid/crossbred and purebred of the same cut and grades depending upon availability. Unfortunately at this time they haven’t been able to get much fullblood out of Australia with the exception of some whole briskets.
Australian Wagyu is less expensive than Japanese due in part to the size of the country and the ability to raise more cattle, and also the fact that the animals are allowed to pasture for about the first half of their lives, and then put on feed for the remaining days. Up to 500 days on feed.
Australian Wagyu is graded based on marbling, and always as a minimum. Australian uses a number system, and is sometimes referred to as BMS, BM, or MS. The minimum grade is 3, and the maximum is 9 or 9+. For frame of reference, USDA Prime comes in around 3.5. USDA Prime is also graded on a minimum system, which is why sometimes steaks look a lot better or a lot less marbled than your previous visit to the meat counter.