Uwajimaya: A Wealth of Wagyu Awaits
There is arguably no better steak than the one you grill in your backyard with friends, especially if you don’t scrimp when choosing that steak. In Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, and Beaverton, there is a wealth of wagyu choices at the Uwajimaya grocery stores. Butchers are on hand to offer tips on what to choose and how to cook your steaks for maximum flavor. Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll find in the glass cases at the Uwajimaya meat departments (our information was sourced from the Bellevue store. Please be aware that offerings vary from store to store.)
John Berry presides over the meat department at the Bellevue Uwajimaya. There you will find a lot of choices. At the top of the heap is A-5 wagyu from Japan. This is the most expensive and arguably the most delicious. It’s highly marbled and shouldn’t be cooked for too long. We recommend just some salt to enhance the beef flavor. These steaks will melt in your mouth. The New York striploin is often stocked at Uwajimaya, Berry says.
Uwajimaya carries a lot of American wagyu options too. Berry says Bellevue typically carries the New York steak, the ribeye Spencer steak (where all the large fat is taken out and the steak is rolled and tied), brisket, eye of round (good for steak, stews, or get them thinly sliced for hotpot dishes), and tri-tip steaks (for steaks, roasts and yakiniku).
American wagyu is a cross-breed of Japanese cattle with continental breeds of cattle such as Angus. There is also Australian wagyu, which is a blend of Australian and Japanese cattle. Each category offers distinct taste and some of the most delicious steaks in the world. If you’re not sure what to cook on the grill or need advice about how to cook the more marbled wagyu steaks, ask an Uwajimaya butcher; they are much more adept at handling Japanese beef than butchers at other grocery store chains. Plus, they will thin-slice beef for hotpots or yakiniku, which some American grocery-store chains either won’t do or won’t slice thin enough. As the weather warms, plan your ultimate backyard barbecue with some wagyu this summer.