From Wagyu to Ancient Beef, the West Is Producing the Country’s Best Meat Right Now
Ranchers have been raising cattle in the West for many years, now with sustainability in mind and dry-aging techniques that give steaks and other cuts an intense umami flavor
Antique Beef Anyone?
Cream Co. is a food hub working with ranchers and farmers to create new standards for raising beef, and for aging and processing whole animals. By partnering directly with the farmers raising animals, they are able to control the supply chain from farm to table directly, processing whole animals at their 15,000-square-foot facility in East Oakland.
“Antique beef” comes from older cows that have more flavor. It has a “gamey, earthy, developed flavor profile with terroir,” says Cream Co. founder Clifford Pollard. “It’s much more complex, with mushroom notes, a higher acidity to the meat. The secret ingredient to the entire process that has to be respected is time—to grow, to finish, to hang after slaughter.”
Three California Ranches Doing It Right
Stemple Creek Ranch, Marin County
Richard’s Grassfed, Yuba County
Five Dot Ranch, Lassen County
America’s Betting on Wagyu
Americans are breeding their own Japanese cattle in the pursuit of buttery, perfectly marbled meat that’s a little closer to home.
Domestic grain-fed, grass-finished Wagyu is available in a wide variety of cuts, including offal, from this Washington company. It sources beef from sustainable farms in WA, TX, and MT.
The Seattle-based company sources sustainably raised cows for their Wagyu. Order steaks or go for the ground beef ($13/lb.) for a decadent burger with all the buttery, beefy flavor of a steak.
Tip from a Chef
“I recommend not tempering Wagyu—it’s best to keep it as cool as possible over ice. Ten minutes before cooking, I also pre-salt the Wagyu slightly to firm it up before cooking it on a cast-iron or wood-fired grill.” —chef Michael Mina, Michael Mina, Bourbon Steak