Are you a fan of Wagyu beef?
This premium meat is known for its incredible marbling and melt-in-your-mouth texture. But if you’ve invested in some high-quality Wagyu, you want to make sure you’re storing it properly to preserve its flavor and tenderness.
In this article, we’ll explore how long Wagyu beef lasts in the fridge and share some tips for keeping it fresh.
Whether you’re a seasoned Wagyu connoisseur or just starting to explore this delicious meat, read on to learn more.
How Long Does Wagyu Beef Last In The Fridge?
Raw, unfrozen Wagyu beef can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. However, it’s important to note that organ meats and ground beef should be consumed within three days.
To ensure that your Wagyu beef stays fresh, it’s important to store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator. You should also place your steak in an airtight package and store it on the lowest shelf, away from other foods and containers, to avoid cross-contamination risk.
If you plan on consuming your Wagyu beef within the next 48 hours, you can simply store it in the refrigerator. Make sure the packaging is intact and airtight before storing it. Raw meat should be placed on the lowest shelf to avoid contamination with other foods in case of spills or drips.
Understanding Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is a highly sought-after type of beef that originates from Japan. The term “Wagyu” refers to Japanese beef cattle, which are genetically unique and have a predisposition for marbling. This marbling, or the white specks of intramuscular fat, gives Wagyu beef its unique taste and tenderness, making it an unrivaled eating experience.
Wagyu beef gets graded from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest quality. The grading system depends on how well the beef meets criteria for coloring, texture, and fat standards. The letter grade represents the Wagyu yield, or the amount of meat that can be cut into quality portions of beef.
It’s important to note that not all Japanese cows are Wagyu. To be eligible for a Wagyu designation in Japan, a purebred cow must be genetically tied to one of four Japanese-born breeds: Akage Washu (Japanese Brown), Kuroge Washu (Japanese Black), Mukaku Washu (Japanese Polled), or Nihon Tankaku Washu (Japanese Shorthorn).
Wagyu beef is also known for its high price point due to its exclusivity and the expenses incurred by breeders. Prior to slaughter, a cow bred for Wagyu beef can amass up to 50% of its weight in fat thanks to a meticulous feeding routine that can last up to two years. This feeding routine ensures that the meat retains its juiciness and flavor when cooked.
When storing raw, unfrozen Wagyu beef in the refrigerator, it’s important to keep it in the coldest part of the fridge and place it in an airtight package on the lowest shelf. Organ meats and ground beef should be consumed within three days, while other cuts can last up to five days. Proper storage and handling will ensure that your Wagyu beef stays fresh and safe for consumption.
Proper Storage For Wagyu Beef
Proper storage is crucial to ensure that your Wagyu beef stays fresh and maintains its quality. If you’re not planning to consume your Wagyu beef within the next 48 hours, it’s best to freeze it.
If the Wagyu beef is not vacuum-sealed upon purchase, it’s best to tightly wrap it first in cling film before placing it inside the freezer to prevent the Wagyu beef from oxidizing. Once you’re ready to consume your Wagyu beef, it’s important to thaw it slowly. Thawing should be done inside the fridge and not at room temperature or using a microwave oven as this will ruin the meat’s texture.
When thawing, take the Wagyu beef out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, keeping it in its airtight packaging throughout. This will help retain the flavor and tenderness as the beef thaws out. Do not run your Wagyu beef under hot water or use the microwave to defrost it.
You can freeze Wagyu beef for up to 12 months, making it one of the best types of meats to freeze because of its delicious marbles of fat running through it, which helps with freezing. However, if you decide to refreeze your Wagyu beef, make sure it’s still vacuum-packed and has not been thawed for 24 hours or more. Any time longer than this risks bacterial growth, particularly if it is no longer vacuum-sealed.
It’s also important to note that once you’ve bought frozen Wagyu beef and then thawed it, you should immediately freeze it again until you’re ready to use it. This will help prevent freezer burn caused by exposure to air.
Signs Of Spoilage In Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is known for its exceptional quality and flavor, but it’s essential to know the signs of spoilage to avoid consuming bad meat. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Slimy Surface: If you notice a slimy film on your Wagyu steak, it may be spoiled. The film can be clear or slightly yellow in color and will make the steak appear shinier than usual. After the surface develops, mold will begin to grow.
2. Discoloration: Another sign that your meat is spoiled is if the steak is a different color than it should be. Usually, Wagyu should be red and white. If it looks more brown, yellow, or green, you should not eat it. It may only be in one location as well, but any area is a sign of being spoiled.
3. Smell: The smell of spoiled beef is usually pretty obvious, and spoiled Wagyu is no different. The smell of a spoiled steak is usually off and will be very potent.
4. Dryness: Your steak should not be dry. Wagyu is known for being more tender and juicy than other steaks as well. If you touch it and it seems dry, the meat might be old and spoiled.
It’s important to note that if you’re ever unsure whether or not your Wagyu beef is bad, it’s always best to play it safe and throw it out. Raw meat can go rancid quickly, so it’s essential to be vigilant about checking for any signs that might indicate spoilage. By following proper storage techniques and being aware of these signs, you can enjoy your Wagyu beef at its freshest and safest state.
Tips For Extending The Shelf Life Of Wagyu Beef
If you have a larger quantity of Wagyu beef that you won’t be consuming within the next two days, freezing is a great option. Raw meat should be kept in the freezer for no longer than one month. To ensure that your beef stays fresh while frozen, make sure the packaging is airtight. If you’re unsure whether the original packaging has been compromised, consider placing it within a resealable plastic bag or airtight container for an extra layer of protection. Keep beef on the lowest shelf in the coldest part of the freezer, far away from the door if possible.
When you’re ready to eat your Wagyu beef, it’s best to thaw it slowly. Take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, keeping it in its airtight packaging throughout. This will help to retain the flavor and tenderness as the beef thaws out. Do not run your Wagyu beef under hot water or use the microwave to defrost it.
Another great way to extend the shelf life of your Wagyu beef is to vacuum-seal it. A good vacuum sealer is by far your best tool for preserving quality longer when it comes to meat. Vacuum sealers work by removing all of the oxygen from the packaging you use to store your meats, meaning most bacteria have almost no chance at further growth. This can mean freezer storage times three to five times as long with comparable freshness.
When vacuum sealing meat, it’s important to use safe meat handling practices. While most bacteria are aerobic and require oxygen, some dangerous bacteria are anaerobic and do not require oxygen. These can thrive in a vacuum-sealed environment, so make sure that you don’t contaminate your meat and vacuum seal harmful bacteria in with your food.
Vacuum sealing can extend the fridge life of meats as well, but because anaerobic bacteria can grow at temperatures above 3°F, all vacuum-packed refrigerated meats should be unsealed and cooked within 10 days.
Proper storage techniques can help you extend the shelf life of your Wagyu beef and ensure that it stays fresh and delicious for longer periods of time. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the same flavorful and luxurious dining experience regardless of whether you plan to eat your Wagyu beef right away or save it for later.
Freezing Wagyu Beef: Yes Or No?
Contrary to popular belief, Wagyu beef can be effectively frozen due to its high-fat content. In fact, Wagyu is one of the best meats to freeze, as the fat ensures that the quality of the meat is not affected by freezing, which often happens with other types of meat. If you’re not planning on consuming your Wagyu beef within the next two days, it can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.
To keep your Wagyu beef fresh while in the freezer, make sure you’re using airtight packaging. Consider placing it in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container for an extra layer of protection. It’s also best to store your beef on the bottom shelf, which is the coldest part of your freezer.
When you’re ready to eat your Wagyu beef, it’s important to thaw it slowly. Take it out of the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, keeping it in its airtight packaging throughout. This will help to retain the flavor and tenderness as the beef thaws out. Do not run your Wagyu beef under hot water or use the microwave to defrost it.