Recipes for ground Kobe beef
September 11, 2012 12:08 AM   Subscribe

I am being gifted several pounds of Kobe beef. What shall I do with it?

My friend works at an exclusive grocery and is bringing home several pounds of ground Kobe beef. I'm excited to taste it, but don't know the best ways to take advantage of the flavor. I am very comfortable in the kitchen, but I currently have limited tools. I do have a range, oven and propane grill. Please share how I can experience Kobe paradise!
posted by kamikazegopher to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
Are you in the United States? The term "Kobe" is meaningless. It's just ground beef. Make burgers.
posted by halogen at 12:25 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

While you cannot export Kobe beef, you can export Wagyu semen and Wagyu embryos from cattle who may or may not be physically located in Kobe. (Kobe beef is simply beef from Wagyu cattle raised in the Kobe region, like Champagne is sparkling wine grown is a specific region of France.)

Locally there's a farm with 1/2 kobe cattle born from semen bred to native Aberdeen Angus cows, and another with pure-bred Wagyus born from embryos transplanted into Herefords. That's what can be produced outside Japan, and it should be more accurately described as Wagyu beef, if indeed it is. It's still not and never will be Kobe beef, because it's not reared on Kobe native grass, drinking milk from Wagyu mamas also grazing Kobe grass.

So what you have, at best, is Kobe-style Wagyu beef. It's still awesome because it's intensely marbled, has great flavour and will make great burgers. You don't need a recipe; the flavour of the beef stands on its own as long as it the burgers are not cooked past medium rare at most.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:21 AM on September 11, 2012

Yes, if it's Wagyu beef, it will make an excellent burger. It's the sort of ingredient that you should just leave to its own devices, so don't mess around with a bunch of different flavorings, and I'd keep it to hamburger, not cheeseburger. If you still really need to get fancy, you could make your own mayo from fresh local eggs!

I've also had ground Wagyu meatballs as an appetizer. They were small, pan fried dealies. I think there was just a little bit of egg, onion, and breadcrumb mixed in, and there was a black soy dipping sauce. I suspect they were browned in a pan and then cooked slowly through in the oven until just pink in the middle. Yummy, but surely fussy to make for dinner.

Wagyu beef is not any sort of revelation of taste as far as I'm concerned, and I've had a lot of quality beef in my life. It's yummy, sure, but that's mainly because of the care that people take in cooking it. It has a different flavor, but no more than the difference between types of oysters, for example. It's still beef.
posted by Mizu at 2:15 AM on September 11, 2012

The whole thing about wagyu/Kobe/matsuzaka beef is the rich marbling of fat. In unground form, it is often served in thin (about a centimeter or so) strips. Seared quickly on each side, still bright pink in the middle, it's... Really greasy beef.

Ground, that fat is going to just pour out of the burger. Take care not to end up steam/boiling your burger in fat. Thin burgers, cooked quickly, but not over done. It is still high quality meat, I'd do my best to prepare it simply, letting it speak for itself.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:44 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I thought the significant selling point in most of these high quality and Japanese 'derived' beefs is the marbling. Meaning that the Steaks are exceptionally succulent, tender and have a very even spread of fat. (flavour is mostly in fat).

Because this is ground beef you are missing out on that. And because it is mince / ground beef it must be from the tougher areas of the carcass. So yeah I expect its not going to be anything 'amazing'. Burgers seems like a reasonable idea. - as it conserves its 'meaty' flavour more than a dish such as Ragu / Bolognese.

Oh actually - if you are sure its very fresh Steak Tartare would seem the obvious candidate. but I suspect you are being given this beef as its nearing the Use By / Sell By Date. in Which case I wouldn't recommend eating it raw.
posted by mary8nne at 2:50 AM on September 11, 2012

I was about to recommend steak tartare and send along this and this recipe, but the photo on the second link does make me pause. However, the website for the first link is worth poking around in because it gives cooking information specifically for Wagyu beef.
posted by Houstonian at 2:57 AM on September 11, 2012

You have Wagyu cross beef not Kobe, but it's still nice beef depending on what it was crossed with. This is great meat for a grown up burger. You will loose a lot of the fat grilling and the fat is kind of the point for beef like this so if you grill it don't over cook it you want the fat to run through the patty not all drip out, I'd make a thickish hamburger and serve it medium rare unless you are confident at not overcooking. I'd try to cook it on a charcoal grill too if you can and then just serve it simply with a nice tomato jam and caramelised onions on a good solid bun that will soak up all the yummy fat. I would avoid cheese with it and just enjoy the beefy flavour.
posted by wwax at 7:59 AM on September 11, 2012

It's good meat, but you don't need to build a shrine to it.

I'd do it on a barbecue grill with charcoal, or a nice wood fire. The fat will just pour off the burger so watch for flare ups.

I'd Pittsburgh it, crusty on the outside, nearly raw on the inside.

Then I'd get naked and eat it on a fresh bakery roll.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:19 AM on September 11, 2012

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