I had to look this up to make sure that it wasn’t a hoax, but it seems legitimate.
Arby’s, best known for selling roast beef sandwiches, has had other kinds of sandwiches on its menu for years. Chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches, even weird things like a chicken salad sandwich. But it has never sold a burger before, and it’s starting big, with a wagyu beef patty. It’s only available for a week and then it’s gone.
At $6 I’d love to try one, but I get the feeling that they will either be out of them every time I check, or the line will stretch so long I won’t even be able to get into the drive thru.
There can be no way Arby’s is selling genuine wagyu beef. Wagyu beef goes for hundreds of dollars a pound. The cows are very special, and can only be fed certain things, and only slaughtered by blind left-handed Tibetan monks on full moons between Lent and Ramadan, etc.
Must not be any trademark here in the US for the phrase ‘wagyu beef’ because the only thing authentic about it at Arby’s is probably just the name.
In the United States, some Japanese Wagyu cattle are bred with Aberdeen Angus cattle. This crossbreed has been named American Style Kobe Beef, or “Wangus”, although many American retailers simply (inaccurately) refer to it as Wagyu.
Wagyu, which means “Japanese cow,” refers to specific breeds of cattle and is known for its rich flavor and buttery tenderness. Arby’s version weighs in at 6.4 ounces and is a 52% blend of American Wagyu and 48% ground beef that is cooked “sous vide style” to create a juicy and tender burger.
That is inaccurate, or at least misleading. A5 Japanese Wagyu beef (the highest grade) can go for hundreds of dollars a pound. The lower grades are cheaper.
In America, there are purebred Japanese Wagyu cows that are raised in the US, and meat from those cows can be sold stateside for a bit less money because there are no import fees. In addition, some cows called American Wagyu are actually Wagyu cows crossbred with Angus cows. The American Wagyu Assocation will actually perform DNA tests to certify that cows are legitimate purebred Wagyu.
According to this article, what Arby’s is selling is “an American Wagyu blended burger”.
What does that mean? Beats me. I suspect that either the cows are crossbred Wagyu/Angus cows, or they have actual Wagyu beef blended with another kind. It’s hard to say.
Quite a bit of misinformation here.
Thanks, I missed that. So it is a blend of Wagyu and another kind.
I’m pretty sure everything at Arby’s is cooked “sous vide style” if by that term you mean at lower than recommended temperature and without adequate quality control. When it comes to actual sous vide preparation, I think I’ll stick with restaurants who actually have trained cooks in this style who understand sanitation requirements, or make it at home where I at least know how I’m taking my life in my hands.
Just as interesting about the announcement is it’s the first time Arby’s has offered a burger on its menu. Did they have to install flattop grills for this one product, and does this portend other burgers or grilled items?
I know Arby’s makes their roast beef in 200F ovens where a big cut of the beef cooks for like 4 hours, and then they use slicers to portion it out on demand, and that’s their main method of cooking. But they do have a few odd ball menu items like chicken sandwiches, fish sandwiches etc, so they may have some sort of flat top grill in the stores albeit probably a small one.
Personally, I suspect that the whole Japanese beef thing is 100% marketing hype with zero actual substance behind it, because Japan is geographically about the worst possible place to raise beef. By making it so exclusive, if anyone ever has one and finds it unimpressive, they can say it’s not the real wagyu beef, and very few people are going to actually spend hundreds of dollars for a burger unless they’re already planning on saying how good it was.
The announcement said they will cook them the same way their other meats are cooked.
And yeah, it seems weird to not grill burgers on a grill, but one of the oldest burger places still in operation is White Castle and they steam their burgers, they never grill them. (That’s why the patties have holes, to let steam pass through.)
Not saying the patties are steamed at Arby’s, I think they boil the meat over a long period of time at a low heat in a bag. This article suggests the burgers are done that way:
Prepared using a “sous vide” style, which uses a vacuum-sealed pouch to slowly cook the meat in a temperature-controlled water bath, Arby’s said the patty emerges with a crispy outer edge and slightly pink center.
Japan is a not insignificant producer of cattle although they are a net importer and their exports are negligible. Despite the impression of Japan has a highly urbanized nation the Home Islands actually have a lot of rural land devoted to agriculture and a tradition of producing extremely-finely marbled beef. The Ryukyu Islands are known for intensive sugar can production, many of which also host cattle that eat the residual in cane fields producing a very special type of beef that is highly fatted and sweet-flavored (Ishigaki and Iriomote beef, from their respective islands of the same name) that essentially dissolves in the mouth. This beef is not produced in significant volumes because of how labor-intensive it is to care for the cattle but it is expensive and highly prized in Okinawa and in high end restaurants in the Home Islands.
Doubtless whatever Arby’s is selling is not true Wagyu beef, nor would it make sense to grind true Wagyu into ground beef for consumption by Arby’s customers, but there is certainly a beef industry in Japan.
My speculation, and this is speculation because I haven’t seen it, is that they are taking beef from cows colloquially called “American Wagyu”, which are the Wagyu/Angus hybrids. Technically, those are sometimes called Wagyu cows, though many often say that name is misleading. They can then take that meat, grind it, and mix it with regular Angus beef, and plausibly call it Wagyu even though it has practically gone through a homeopathic proving before ending up in your sandwich.
In addition, it could be ground chuck, which while fine to use ground up in a burger, is a pretty inexpensive cut of meat. With all that, they can afford to sell a burger without costing too much, and calling it Wagyu isn’t really false. It’s just that “Wagyu” doesn’t necessarily mean what people think that it means.
Wagyu is a Japanese cattle breed that produces intensely marbled beef. Bona fide Wagyu is rare and carefully guarded. The breed is unique in that it continues to add intramuscular fat as the cattle grows.
When crossbred with other non-Wagyu cattle breeds, it yields American Wagyu which features rich marbling and the traditional beef flavor preferred by American palates.