The Art of Grilling Wagyu: Tips for Perfectly Cooked Steak

There’s something so satisfying about cooking steak on a grill. While cooking steak in a cast iron skillet is undoubtedly a tried-and-true method, it can’t recreate that special flavor that the grill imparts. That unique sear from the grill creates a unique visual impact, while the smell of the flames and sizzle of the meat help to whet your appetite.

If you plan to grill, why not choose the finest cut of beef to make the experience even more enjoyable and delicious? Wagyu steaks are considered to be some of the finest steaks in the world, which makes them an ideal choice for a perfectly grilled steak. Learn more about this type of beef, including what makes it so luxurious and what steps you’ll need to follow in order to grill it properly.

Wagyu Cooking Tips

Before you throw your Wagyu steaks on the grill, keep in mind what makes this type of steak distinct from traditional beef. The most important difference is the way the fat marbling is integrated throughout the steak. With a traditional steak, there is less marbling of the fat throughout the cut. In addition, there’s a significant fat cap that typically needs to be trimmed. These characteristics typically result in beef which is leaner and chewier than Wagyu beef.

The fat marbling in a Wagyu steak is very different from that of a traditional steak. The fat marbling is very consistently marbled throughout, and there isn’t a fat cap that needs to be trimmed off. The fat marbling is also seen in much thinner streaks, almost like a thin white web or veins across the entire piece. Because the fat marbling is so well integrated, it helps to keep the steak very moist throughout the cooking process.

As far as texture goes, a Wagyu steak can have a melt-in-your-mouth quality thanks to the exceptional level of fat marbling. If you’re working with a particularly high-end cut, such as filet mignon, consider whether grilling is the best cooking method. Fine cuts are a bit more delicate texture-wise, so if you want to grill them, consider using a grill mat or stone to keep them intact. Keep in mind that A5 Wagyu should not be grilled. Only American Wagyu and Australian Wagyu are suitable for grilling.

Another factor to consider when cooking Wagyu is seasoning. With traditional steaks, there are plenty of recommended ways to experiment with flavor, including spices, sauces, rubs, marinades and more. Bolder flavors are often utilized to add a kick to the finished result. However, this type of approach generally isn’t recommended for Wagyu steak. Because the natural flavor of Wagyu beef is so luxurious, it’s best to take a less-is-more approach. Keep the seasoning simple with just salt and pepper when preparing Wagyu steak. This is the best way to enjoy the inherent flavors, which are buttery with a hint of umami.

How to Grill Wagyu Steaks

The best way to grill Wagyu steak is to prepare a dual-heat system. While you can certainly grill a Wagyu steak without this setup, it can aid in the precision of the steak’s internal temperature.

Speaking of temperature, it’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer for your Wagyu steak. This will help you cook it to your preferred level of doneness:

  • Rare: 120-125°F
  • Medium rare: 130-135°F
  • Medium: 140-145°F

Once you have your steak ready and your meat thermometer on hand, it’s time to begin. Follow these steps to grill Wagyu steaks properly:

  1. Allow your steaks to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Season liberally with kosher salt and pepper.
  2. After lightly oiling the grates, preheat your grill to 500°F. It’s important that your grill is HOT before putting the steaks on. If you are grilling with two heat zones, keep another area of the grill on a low heat setting using indirect heat.
  3. Place the steaks over direct heat and close the lid. Allow them to cook for 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Open the lid and flip the steaks over (they should have a good sear at this point). Allow them to cook for another 1 to 3 minutes.
  5. Move the steaks over the indirect heat zone.
  6. Use the meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Remove the steaks when they are about 5°F below your preferred doneness level.
  7. Lightly tent the steaks with foil and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.