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Premium meats like wagyu are given the best treatment they could possibly have. From eating the best grass, to roaming the lands freely, these cows are what will eventually give you wagyu meat. But is wagyu halal? Can it be halal or haram? Depending on what the animal has eaten and how it has been fed, will determine whether it is permissible for Muslims to consume or not.
Table of Contents
- What is Wagyu?
- What is Wagyu Beef?
- Is Wagyu Halal?
- What is Wagyu A5?
- Halal Wagyu Taste and Texture
- Types of Wagyu
- Halal and Delicious Wagyu Recipes
- So is Wagyu Halal?
What is Wagyu?
Wagyu means Japanese cow, but not just any Japanese cow. Wagyu refers to a specific breed of cattle which possess a special genetic value. Wagyu is also known as “the luxurious beef” and is exceptionally delicious because of the abundance of intramuscular fats which results in tender, juicy textures of this highly valued meat.
These cows eat the best grains, and lush green grass, have the capability of roaming the cool pastures near the mountains so that they remain calm and stress-free. If the temperatures change ever so slightly, the cows are removed from that area. Wagyu is meat derived from cows, that has a white marbling texture. The more the cow has been spoiled, the better the quality of the wagyu meat.
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu in literal terms means “Japanese cattle.” Wagyu beef comes from the four main breeds of cattle in Japan: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Poll and Japanese Shorthorn, as well as crossbreeds that are the accomplishment of interbreeding amongst these four breeds. Wagyu beef isn’t wagyu beef unless it comes from one of these breeds, as well as being both born and raised in Japan.
Essentially some farmers had transported purebred Wagyu cattle to the USA, but very few had actually managed to maintain their bloodlines, in order to categorise them as purebred Wagyu, because they are not 100% Wagyu. Instead the American Wagyu Association have decided to call their Wagyu “percentage wagyu” mainly because it is partially Japanese breed, after being associated with other types of cattle.
Is Wagyu Halal?
Wagyu beef or steak can be halal or haram depending on what the cattle had been fed before slaughtering them. If the cow had been fed alcohol, then the wagyu is haram, but if the cattle had not been fed any kind of alcohol, then it is halal.
The main issue regarding whether wagyu is halal or not, relies heavily on what the cattle has been feed during its lifetime, in order to achieve the marbling it its meat. Real authentic wagyu are from cattle which are fed alcoholic beverages, as the consumption of alcohol increases their intramuscular fat, which later translates to a higher grade of wagyu due to its fantastic marbling. This is what makes wagyu haram.
What is Wagyu A5?
Following the four categories that the beef cattle is separated into, there are also some grades for Wagyu beef, with A5 being the highest grade, given only to the finest beef. The standards of grading beef consist of Yield Grade and Quality Grade. Essentially the “A” of A5 means the yield grade, while “5” expresses the quality grade. Furthermore, the Japanese beef grading system is made up of 5 quality grades, which consist of:
- Marbling – these are flecks or thin strips of fat in the beef, in Japanese, it is called SASHI. Marbling is classified into five grades, the larger number indicating that it is a higher grade, i.e. grade 5 is the largest so the highest.
- Meat Colour and Brightness – the colour of the beef and the brightness are evaluated by the visual appraisal. With 5 being excellent and 1 being poor.
- Firmness and Texture of Meat – the firmness and texture of the beef are also evaluated by visual examination, 5 being outstanding and 1 being poor.
- Colour, Lustre and Quality of Fat – the colour, lustre and quality of the fat are evaluated by the beef fat colour standards, while evaluation of lustre and quality of fat is by visual appraisal.
These are separated out and provide the overall score in terms of each of the above. The Yield Grade is used to rank the proportion of meat obtained from a certain part of the animals body, determining its value by placing it in A, B or C categories.
- Grade A: Above Standard
- Grade B: Standard
- Grade C: Below Standard
The higher the grade of Wagyu the better the taste. Not all Wagyu is of great quality, in order for the meat to be labelled Wagyu, there is only a small percentage of marbling required, which might not be high enough to maintain that infamous melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Halal Wagyu Taste and Texture
A full-blood wagyu has an impeccably tender texture, with a beef marbling score of 9 or 10. Achieving an entirely new universe of rich creaminess obtained from these fine steaks, a softness that can only be compared to butter. Succulent and drool-worthy, complete with a spectacular web of intramuscular fat, a texture you’ll never forget. Wagyu makes for an immaculate tasting experience, with pleasant unique umami flavours, and a tenderness that is seemingly unmatched by other meat obtained by cattle.
Types of Wagyu
With cattle that can be transported all around the globe, allowing many to enjoy this wonderful heavenly meat. There are different types of Wagyu, separated into different categories, which determine how much wagyu marbling you’d expect to be present within the meat. You’ll find:
- American Wagyu
- Australian Wagyu
Full-blood Wagyu is the purest form of Japanese cattle, and are direct descendants of 100% Japanese Wagyu cattle. They have pure lineage, which means that both parents are certified full-blood Wagyu. This is the rarest form of Wagyu with just a few thousand cattle qualified for it. Many believe that the best, most tender and succulent meat is derived from the purest form of Wagyu.
Purebred Wagyu is the result of a full-blood crossbred with another breed of cattle – more commonly Angus. To be certified as full-bred, the meat must be at least 93.75% Wagyu. Anything that is more than 1/16th of another breed is not eligible for this designation.
Usually used as a marketing term, American Wagyu is commonly referred to any crossbreed of Wagyu with another breed, i.e. 50% Wagyu and 50% Angus. Some of these can be considered as purebred Wagyu, meaning that they are 15/16 Wagyu, and 1/16 Angus (or similar breed).
Australian Wagyu is pretty much crossbred between the full-blood Wagyu and another breed. Australian Wagyu cattle are bred, fed, grown and processed in Australia.
Halal and Delicious Wagyu Recipes
Grass-fed Wagyu packs a gorgeous tenderness and succulent, juiciness within its meat that characterises Wagyu beef. Not only does it contain a distinctive sweet, nutty and delicate taste, but it is safe for those following a halal diet to consume, it’s richness is a total contrast to the overpowering potent texture that you can taste when eating grain-fed Wagyu. Let’s take a look at some delicious recipes for you to try:
- Char-grilled Wagyu Rump Steak and Garlic Bok Choy
- Wagyu Beef Massaman Curry
- Wagyu and Mushroom Pie
Char-grilled Wagyu Rump Steak and Garlic Bok Choy
This grass-fed wagyu steak is exceptionally tender, bursting the excellent flavour, and absolutely impeccable when fast-cooked on the char grill. Simply lightly season your Wagyu steak with a little salt, and a splash of oil, gently massaging them into the juicy meat, before slapping it onto the very hot char-grill, which will provide a supreme layer of decadent flavour to the rump. Serve this with some garlic-infused Bok choy for a delicious meal. See the recipe below:
- 2 x 250g first light grass-fed Wagyu rump steaks
- Mild vegetable oil
- 6 baby Bok choy
- 1/2 tbsp mild vegetable oil
- 1 large clove minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp rice wine or white vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds – toasted
- Bring the Wagyu steaks to room temperature, brush them with oil and season generously with salt, on either side. Heat a hot plate until very hot
- Cook the steak for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until it caramelises, switching sides once. Remove the steak from the hot plate, just before it has reached the desired doneness.
- Allow the meat to rest in a warm place for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.
- Wash the Bok choy by dunking it in water and draining several times. Cut the Bok choy in half lengthwise.
- Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and set it aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and set it over high heat. Add garlic then Bok choy and fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the pan; cover and allow to cook for 2 minutes more or until the Bok choy has softened perfectly at its base.
- Serve the Bok choy drizzled with the sauce you prepared and sprinkled with sesame seeds, as well as your caramelised Wagyu steak for maximum deliciousness.
Wagyu Beef Massaman Curry
You can never go wrong with a thick, meaty curry, with such versatility you can pair it with anything you like! From plain white rice, to your favourite, soft, thick bread, perfect for soaking up all the decadent juices of the curry. Imagine having the juiciest meat you could ever have eaten to go with it? Crumbling beneath your fork, as you spoon mouthfuls of tender Wagyu in your mouth, along with that undeniably savoury curry. Before you drool some more, take a look at the recipe below:
- 750g first light diced Wagyu beef
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 large onion, cut into chunks or thin wedges
- 400g coconut milk
- 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp ginger finely chopped or grated
- 1/3 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lemongrass paste (or 2 tbsp lime juice)
- 1/2 finely chopped chilli
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1/2 cup toasted and unsalted peanuts
- 2 large waxy potatoes – peeled and diced
- Fresh coriander and jasmine rice to serve
- Preheat the oven to 160C, then season the beef with salt and pepper. Pan fry the steak in batches in hot oil until completely brown. Remove and place them in a casserole dish
- Using the same pan, sauté the onion in a little oil until almost thoroughly cooked. Add a few tablespoons of coconut milk, to the pan, then add the garlic, ginger and curry spices and gently toss to release a fragrant aroma.
- Add half the can of coconut milk, then add the fish sauce, lemongrass paste, chilli, sugar, and tamarind.
- Put most of the peanuts in a blender with the remainder of the coconut milk, leaving a few peanuts aside for garnishing. Blend this until a smooth consistency has been achieved then add this to the casserole dish
- Add the diced potatoes to the dish and pour the curry sauce over the top. Mix to coat the beef and potatoes. Rinse the coconut can with a little water and use this to deglaze the pan, then add this liquid to the casserole dish
- Cover with some baking paper, pressing down onto the meats and liquid, trapping these contents inside the dish, which will allow the flavours to develop. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2 and a half hours
- Adjust the seasoning to your liking, and serve with your choice of plain white rice, with fresh coriander and peanuts.
Wagyu and Mushroom Pie
There’s something particularly irresistible about having meat, with mushrooms tucked into a beautifully crusted pie. Perfect for any time of day, this delectable Wagyu and mushroom pie will have you and your family coming back for more, so make sure there’s plenty!
- 750g Wagyu beef diced
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 small carrot finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dark ale
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock
- Marmite, vegemite, or miso paste
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 2 1/2 cups diced mushrooms
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1 egg yolk
- 500g store-bought flaky puff pastry, short crust, or sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 150C. Season your Wagyu beef with salt and toss through the flour, then pan fry the flour dusted beef in hot oil until browned, then remove and place in a casserole dish
- Fry the onions, carrots, and garlic in the butter, stirring over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add some red wine. Boil until the liquid has half reduced then pour the remainder into the casserole dish, along with the beef stock, marmite, tomatoes, herbs, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
- Cover with a disc of baking paper, pressing down onto the meats and liquids, essentially trapping them inside. This will help the flavours develop perfectly. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 2.5 hours, then remove this from the oven allowing it to cool
- In a large frying pan, cook the mushrooms in olive oil on very high heat till they’re caramelised. Season generously with fresh ground pepper. Remove and cool, then add to cooked beef.
- Lightly grease a pie dish. Roll the pastry thinly, cut it to shape and gently press it into the dish. Fill the pastry with the casserole mix.
- Cut the remaining pastry to form the lid, place it on top, then seal it by carefully pressing the edges into the base pastry. Trim off the excess, pinching the edges to form a neat pattern all the way around.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt to make an egg wash. Poke tiny holes into the top of the pie with a sharp knife, potentially allowing steam to escape. Bake the pie for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Perhaps the pie is enough to satisfy your hunger for the day, unless you desire a delicious side of crisp vegetables, in which case you might prefer roasted asparagus, sautéed green beans, or simple caramelised onions. For more interesting and delicious recipes for Wagyu meat, check out this brilliant site.
So is Wagyu Halal?
The only entity that could make Wagyu potentially haram will depend on what the cattle had been fed before they were slaughtered, and distributed to different butchers. Grass-fed Wagyu are considered halal, as opposed to cattle that had been exposed to alcohol, to create those tender webs of fat in the meat. Regardless Wagyu meat can be enjoyed by anyone, providing that the Wagyu is either purebred or full-blood, so that you can maximise your entire experience of this tender, juicy, mouth-watering meat.
Can You Get Halal A5 Wagyu?
Wagyu can be both halal or haram, providing the cattle had not been fed alcohol prior to slaughtering, which would determine whether it is categorised as halal or not. This goes for the meat that has been separated into its individual categories determining its quality before it is purchased.