Wagyu versus Angus Beef for a Gourmet Burger Beef Patty
Without a doubt Wagyu is the most expensive beef and arguably, the best beef available. So does it make a better beef patty for a gourmet burger than other breeds of beef? Here’s L’Burger’s view on how we went about determining the factors to produce an ‘optimum’ beef patty for our gourmet burgers. (If you want the answer jump to Point 4 - The Secret.).
1. The Easy Part - The $
The easy part first. Either Chuck or Brisket or a combination of, are the best parts of beef to use in a gourmet beef patty. Wagyu brisket or chuck is approximately 4 times the cost of the equivalent pieces of Angus, what is considered to be the next highest standard of beef. So using a Wagyu Chuck/Brisket patty will increase a typical no frills cheeseburger from $10 to around $16. Is it worth a 60% premium? If you are eating out in a fine dining setting a gourmet burger for this price is no issue (actually, probably a bargain against the other menu options) but in gourmet burger land most diners would baulk at that sort of premium. I hear you ask, yeah but I can get a Wagyu patty in a burger for much less…please read on.
2. Trimmings versus Primary/Secondary Cuts of Meats
A beef patty can be made from beef trimmings or from specific cuts of meats, or both. Is there any difference? L’Burger’s experience is that primary and secondary cuts of meat provide a much more robust and consistent beef flavour than trimmings. Trimmings come from various parts of the animal and the flavour varies with batches. But the big difference is in the ‘beefiness’. Chuck/brisket are the some of the tastiest cuts of the animal (although a little chewy) and you know from the first bite this is beef and its tasty. With trimmings you know its beef but you need your eyes to confirm it is beef because you get other flavours with it.
Okay if its that obvious why doesn’t everyone use primary/secondary cuts for their beef patties? Sorry its that old chestnut again - the $. Angus beef mince made from trimmings is approximately 12% less than 100% of an equivalent secondary cut (e.g. chuck). For a burger store, the cost of a 140 gm chuck patty is the same as 160 gm patty made of trimmings. But no one will say 100% beef patty made from trimmings so the diner sees 160 gm patty vs 140 gm patty. Easy decision really until you eat them and then it gets more complex ….
With Wagyu the difference is even more pronounced. Trimmings is around 65% less than a primary cut (brisket for example). So the Wagyu patty made from a primary cut is almost prohibitive but one made from 100% trimmings is possible because of the ‘premium’ (read higher $) associated with the Wagyu ‘branding’.
3. Wagyu’s Better Flavour versus the Rest
Wagyu beef has a very distinct flavour and texture. If you’ve eaten a good piece of Wagyu then you’ll know what I’m saying and there won’t be too many that would argue a premium Wagyu Rib Eye or Eye Fillet would be preferred by almost all diners over any other breed. There is very little argument here. Wagyu wins hands down.
For a gourmet burger restaurant like L’Burger, its not a case of Wagyu vs Angus, its Wagyu trimmings vs Angus primary/secondary cut. We conducted A-B blind taste tests comparing Angus primary cuts against the Wagyu trimmings with the same fat content, and almost all of the testers preferred the Angus over the Wagyu. Each establishment will place emphasis on what they want the diner to experience. We want an unmistakable big beef flavour, like when you take that first bite of grilled well marbled porterhouse in your mouth. The rush of fat and juices that wakes up your taste spuds and demands you chew and savour it. Okay maybe I’m going a bit over the top with the words but you know what I’m trying to convey. Wagyu has a buttery even nutty flavour and gorgeous tender texture. The meat almost melts in your mouth. Some prefer that.
Note: Wagyu has a texture and tenderness that is superior to other forms of beef but in a minced format this ‘advantage’ is nullified.
4. The Secret to L’Burgers Beef Patty Mix
Okay for the impatient - the answer is we use BOTH. Angus and Wagyu. The Angus for its beef flavour and the Wagyu for its fat. The exact percentages …. I can’t say because its an in-house secret! I can tell you it’s a lot more Angus primary and a little Wagyu trimmings. Angus for beef and Wagyu for the nutty oiliness.
We started our journey 100% Angus and received rave reviews on the quality of our patties and never a bad comment on the quality of the beef. But in the search for ‘Nirvana of Beef Patties’ we experimented and our latest iteration is an Angus/Wagyu beef patty. Big beef flavour and just enough fat to entice you to take that second bite.
For those who’ve tasted our beef patties there is nothing added to the patty. They are 100% beef (no binders, no added seasonings, and 100% hormone free) and we simply season them with salt and pepper on the grill and prefer to serve them pink and juicy.