While less of a recipe and more of a technique,
you can still skip the lengthy post and go here for just the necessary details.
Similar to my post about Wagyu Burgers, the story begins at the Capital Grille in Downtown Pittsburgh. I was offered a single bite of my Wife's $80 Wagyu Steak during a company Christmas party and ever since I have been trying to catch the dragon. While I have trouble pinpointing the first time I had crab meat and steak in my mouth at the same time, I believe it occurred when I decided to order Steak & Crab Cake during an evening out. Following that fateful dinner, I would frequently buy Black Angus Tenderloin at either Costco or Sam's Club, freeze it, and wait until Alaskan Snow Crab went on sale for $7.99 a pound or less at the local grocer. There is something about a perfectly cooked steak accompanied with tender crab that just sends my taste buds to a state of absolute Nirvana. Now that the same place I have purchased Wagyu from has authentic, straight from Japan, actual Kobe steak, the time had arrived to go big or go home. I did both as I made this insanely tasty and indulgent meal in my own house.
Following a work achievement I decided to celebrate by finding a local specialty meat shop that sold reasonably priced raw Wagyu Steaks. Since then, on only the most special and infrequent occasions, I venture down to get a few cuts of Filet Mignon to help celebrate life's special moments. A "thank you" for being apart of our wedding on super late notice. An unexpected and exciting baby announcement. Cooking a meal for a friend who is returning from a lengthy deployment. Or, in this particular instance, to compensate my best friend for traveling well over 2 hours to help get our house out of the 1980s and install new chandeliers. The only difference this time is rather than coming home with just Wagyu, we also picked up a single Kobe New York Strip along with some gargantuan King Crab Legs.
Since organizing this meal leaned heavily on quality ingredients and some basic techniques, I would first like to silence the naysayers before diving into some information on these cuts of meat. As you will see in the images just above, observe a side-by-side comparison of the Kobe NY Strip (left) and the Wagyu Tenderloin (right). A clear difference in the marbling is definitively noticeable. Both of these meats were obtained at Strip District Meats in the famed Strip District of Pittsburgh. While I was unable to obtain a certificate to prove the Kobe's authenticity, I was told it was "Grade A5 Kobe with a Marbling Score of 11 out of 12." Also, my house is not the only place this is being served at.
Now prepare yourself as I gut the contents of a Wikipedia page similarly to finishing an important research paper the night before it's due. The "Kobe" in Kobe beef refers to a select and particular type of bovine from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle. The best way to wrap your head around the distinction is "all Kobe is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe." In the late 1800s, cattle native to Japan were interbred with European cows. Much like how actual Champagne must originate from Champagne France, in 1943 the cattle originally recognized as "Kobe Beef" were cattle from herds in the Kobe area of Japan. 40 years later the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association was formed to promote and set the standards of anything labeled as "Kobe Beef."
The superior genetics of Wagyu and more so Kobe put the meat from these cattle in a class all of their own, well above that of anything labeled US Prime. The government of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan is said to use the semen from only 12 of the most exemplar bulls to inseminate all cows. Known specifically for their intramuscular fat, AKA "Marbling," the cows are fed a meticulously special diet which includes beer, they are massaged daily with sake rice wine, and the cows even get to enjoy classical music as a part of their life prior to slaughter. Whether or not every Wagyu or Kobe cattle is given this life of luxury is no certainty, there is a high likelihood the cow you end up dining on lived a wonderful life prior to being sent your direction.
- One 16 oz Kobe NY Strip Steak.
- One 6 oz Wagyu Tenderloin.
- Three or Four Steamed King Crab Legs.
- Freshly Cracked Salt.
- Freshly Cracked Pepper.
- A very light dusting of Morton's Season All.
- Avocado Oil.
- Thaw and allow the steaks to reach room temperature.
- Cover both sides of each steak with a generous dusting of salt.
- I did this 3 times on each side, about 15 or so minutes between each dusting, a good hour before I began actually cooking the steaks.
- Preheat your oven to 375F/190C.
- Heat a cast iron skillet between medium and medium high.
- Add enough Avocado Oil to excessively coat the cast iron.
- Gently pat each steak with a paper towel. (An excellent guide to salting steaks can be found here and also the method used in this recipe).
- Just prior to placing the steaks on the hot cast iron, grind fresh pepper and dust with a very small amount of the Morton's Season All.
- Place the seasoned side of the steak face down on the hot cast Iron for 1 to 3 minutes to develop a crust.
- As the steak is cooking, repeat the seasoning instructions of some freshly cracked pepper and Morton Season All.
- After your steak has developed a delicious crust, flip the steak and put the cast iron in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes for a nice medium rare to medium steak.
- With about 1 or 2 minutes left on your oven timer, place a thick pad of butter on top of each steak.
- Once the steak is finished cooking, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 or 6 minutes on a clean cutting board or plate. Resting is critical to keeping the flavorful juices in your steak rather than leaking out and running all over your plate.
- As the steaks are resting, gently drape the largest part of the King Crab Leg Meat over top of the steaks.
- Serve with your favorite sides and buckle up for the dining experience of your life.
A great steak is a wonderful thing to have and to share. Whether Wagyu or Authentic Kobe, great care is taken from the beginning to the end of the cattle's life. Learning the ropes to great steak cooking can be a pretty easy process, but one that is of paramount importance prior to embarking on a steak journey like this. I would have placed myself on suicide watch if I inadvertently burnt or overcooked either of these steaks.
While a great experience all on its own, our level of enjoyment with this meal was sent through the stratosphere with the addition of succulent, tender, and flavorful King Crab Leg Meat. A pinnacle steak experience was had for a fraction of what a similar meal in a restaurant would have cost. If you decide to go the path of this journey yourself, I hope you were able to absorb some of my methods and teachings to assist you along the way. Whether you make this for yourself just because you can or you choose to share it with a loved friend or family member, this is a steak experience that is impossible to beat. Thank you for reading and happy cooking!