Although Wagyu beef is prized for its amazing steaks and roasts, that’s led some people to believe the beef isn’t a good fit for making hamburgers, because the flavor will somehow get lost and end up tasting like any other burger you’d get from a drive-thru.
But the opposite is true.
The quality of Wagyu beef ensures you’ll have the ultimate burger, one that’s so buttery, rich, and fantastically textured that it may ruin you for other burgers. Take the risk.
Best of all, you can have these burgers year-round, not just when the grill is ready. Fire up the kitchen with these simple tips on making the most of your luxury burger experience:
Know the cooking differences
Although Wagyu ground beef and regular ground beef like Angus might look fairly similar, they should be treated differently when it comes to cooking, whether you’re grilling, frying, or broiling.
Wagyu’s higher fat content—which gives it all that juiciness, tenderness, and flavor— lends itself to faster cooking times and means the burger is at its best when served medium-rare. That’s likely a change for most burger-makers, who tend to cook their patties until they’re well-done.
Thaw for best flavor
Another difference between Wagyu beef burgers and other types is a pre-cooking thaw. Regular ground beef can go from fridge, or even from freezer, to heat without much change in flavor quality.
But Wagyu does best when thawed—safely, of course, by first defrosting in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours—and then brought to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
Prep your add-ons
Because Wagyu beef burgers are so incredibly flavorful, many people choose to go light on the seasonings so they don’t mask the taste of the patty. We definitely get that. You might choose to go naked and skip seasoning altogether. Or consider spices that complement whatever add-ons you’re planning. We’ve just gotten into Convivial Spices; give them a try if you haven’t.
For example, if you’re going for a Thai-inspired BBQ burger, consider making a sauce that combines garlic, ginger, and lemon peel, and then brush that over the burger toward the end of the cooking time. Want a more Southwestern taste with some New Mexico green chiles? Then opt for some cumin and pepper to bring out that flavor.
Grab your skillet
Don’t get us wrong, we love grilling. But if it’s too chilly outside or you’re out of coals—or you just feel like using the kitchen instead—it’s completely possible to make the perfect Wagyu beef burger in a skillet. Here are the steps to make it happen:
1. Separate 1/2 pound of ground beef, if you’re not using patties already.
2. Form into a patty and flatten to one inch of thickness.
3. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
4. Heat skillet on high and add a small amount of butter, about a tablespoon.
5. Place patty in skillet, with seasoned side down, then season the top with more sea salt and black pepper.
6. Cook without flipping or moving the patty until browned on the bottom, which will take about four minutes.
8. If you want a cheeseburger, this is the moment to add the cheese on top.
9. Cover and then cook about six to eight minutes, which will result in a medium-rare burger.
10. Remove patty and let it rest for about five minutes, which will help seal in the juices.
You can also opt for broiling or using an electric grill, using these same fundamentals.
Of course, keep in mind that the usual disclaimer: altitude, pan selection, and cooking nuance make for variations in timing and cooking speed. So, use your common sense and keen eye for adjusting the heat and timing as needed, rather than sticking only to the clock when gauging doneness.
From there, you can top with whatever you like, such as lettuce, tomato, sautéed onions, or other toppings. Use a bun or try a non-bread option like tortillas, lettuce wrap, eggplant, or portobello mushrooms.
Burgers are a beloved summertime dish, but with these simple steps, you can get that sunny feeling anytime. When you make a Wagyu beef burger, you get the ultimate burger experience, right from your very own kitchen.