How Well-Done Should You Cook Wagyu Steaks

There's no one right answer here, and as with any steak, no matter what one recommends, someone else will pop up to argue for a different level of doneness. To us, though, the Japanese wagyu was at its best cooked to about medium, while all the American steaks hit their peak around medium-rare, though medium was very good too.

The thinner cut of the Japanese steaks means they cook through more quickly, which, we think, is a good thing. Because of its abundant intramuscular fat, Japanese wagyu doesn't easily dry out, and, if anything, needs a little more heat to begin melting that internal fat. It was hard to find a piece of the Japanese wagyu we didn't like, once again thanks to that intramuscular fat: It's an incredibly forgiving piece of meat that bastes itself and remains juicy no matter what. Medium-rare and below was harder to achieve with the Japanese cuts because of the thinness of the steaks—if you wanted any sear at all, the interior was going to heat up past those doneness levels.

The American steaks, both wagyu and Black Angus, eat much more like the steaks you've eaten at a classic American steakhouse or purchased from a butcher. The Japanese wagyu is a different story: It's like a water balloon of liquid beef fat in your mouth, exploding as you chew it, and melting even more from the heat in your mouth. It's more like foie gras—you want a small portion to savor, not a big slab of meat to eat with a side of potatoes.