Is Frozen Wagyu Beef Good?
16 JUNE 2022
If you have ever visited Wmart supermarket in person and checked out our Wagyu beef counter, you may have seen our display freezers across it.
Inside these freezers, we have stacks of Wagyu beef that look somewhat different from the A5 Japanese Wagyu beef at the counter. They can even come from the same cow, but the frozen Wagyu beef here is dark and purple instead of snowy and pinkish.
For some customers, purple Wagyu beef looks sus. If it’s an online order, they wonder if the images are for illustration purposes only because they differ so much from the actual product received.
In this article, we talk about how frozen Wagyu beef is perfectly fine and safe, and retains its freshness.
Why Frozen Wagyu Beef is Purple
The dark-purple appearance of frozen beef has to do with myoglobin and the absence of oxygen.
At Wmart’s Wagyu beef counter, our meat starts off as whole sections still enveloped in fat, which keeps the meat at its freshest. After cutting the meat and wrapping it with a thin plastic wrap, air and oxygen come into contact with the surface and oxygenate the myoglobin, transforming it into oxymyoglobin.
People generally associate this state of oxymyoglobin with the freshness and desirability of beef. This is when Wagyu beef appears bright red, even pinkish thanks to its intensive marbling.
This bright cherry state however lasts only for a couple of days, before the Wagyu beef starts turning brown and gets labelled with a big 30% to 50% discount sticker. Beef that has turned a dull brown has formed metmyoglobin. It may also mean that contamination has occurred to create the chemical reaction and brown pigmentation; either way, brown meat is not as fresh.
Unlike some other supermarkets, we prefer our Wagyu beef to stay fresher, right until the moment our customers are ready to cook it. For that reason, we recommend frozen Wagyu beef if you are not planning to cook it right away.
What About Vacuum-Sealed Wagyu Beef?
Here’s a possible scenario: Rejecting the thought of frozen Wagyu beef, you head straight to the butcher and demand for him to prepare and vacuum-seal the fresh meat you see at the counter. You then store your Wagyu beef in an insulated bag inside a heavy-duty cooler box in your car. You beat all the traffic lights to rush home. The moment you enter your kitchen, you pull out the vacuum-sealed Wagyu beef to start preparing your meal… only to find dark-purple meat! Even the blood has turned purplish!
Again, this has to do with oxygen, and the lack of it. Deoxymyoglobin is at work again. This time it’s because of the vacuum packaging, even though the meat is not frozen.
Wagyu beef you receive through deliveries should be purplish if it’s frozen or vacuum-sealed.
When to Buy Frozen Wagyu Beef
According to the Ministry of Health (Food Safety and Quality Division), “Foods stored in frozen parts can be stored for longer periods.”
This means your freezer. If you are planning ahead for your meal, buy frozen Wagyu beef. This lets you store your Wagyu beef for some time without losing its nutrients and natural flavours.
In fact, your Wagyu beef can be safely stored for up to 12 months. Frozen Wagyu steaks should ideally be used within 4 months though.
The nutrients of fresh meat are higher than frozen meat — but only for a short time. If you are not planning to cook your Wagyu beef within 2 to 3 days, we recommend buying them frozen.
Another reason to consider frozen Wagyu beef is to purchase your preferred cuts before they are sold out. Sometimes we run out of the popular striploin, or rare cuts like the oyster blade, so pick up your favourite cuts when they’re available.
As long as frozen Wagyu beef is properly sealed, you can store them safely for months. By the way, this is why supermarket staff yell at you if you poke at packets of frozen beef with your finger — they don’t want you to damage the packaging, contaminate the meat, or affect its freshness.
Shabu-Shabu Slices Gets Frozen BTW
Here’s some insight into fancy butchering: Those shabu-shabu slices with the curling effect must be frozen before a meat cutter can shave the stiff meat with razor-thin precision. This is the only way to achieve that impressive curl.
This means that you should pre-order shabu-shabu slices if you have preferences for certain cuts and how they look. As it takes time to prepare the thinnest shabu-shabu slices, you probably can’t stand around waiting and watching the butcher at work.
Or just pick Wagyu shabu-shabu slices from the freezer.
Talk to Our Warm Butcher
While you might feel shy talking to strangers who wield knives, the butcher is your best friend when buying Wagyu beef. Our butchers are Wmart understand that Wagyu beef is luxury meat, so they will make sure you are getting the best deal.
Approach our butchers for recommendations on the best cuts for your recipe and budget. One of the things Wmart does best is our customized cuts and customized services.
If you would rather shop on your own (maybe because you see just one butcher and people waiting around like in the picture below), then rest assured that you can pick up one of the Wagyu beef packages in our display freezer. Our frozen Wagyu beef selections are usually sliced and ready to go for yakiniku, shabu-shabu and sukiyaki.
The Right Way to Defrost Wagyu Beef
Thaw your Wagyu beef properly, and it will be like you’d just come home from the supermarket.
- In the Fridge Overnight: You can place your Wagyu beef overnight in the fridge in a sealed container. This method requires some pre-planning, especially with thicker slices or blocks of Wagyu beef, but your Wagyu beef will remain at a safe temperature in the fridge.
- In a Bowl of Cold Water: Make sure your Wagyu beef is in a sealed bag before placing it in a bowl of cold water. Place a utensil or weight over the bag to keep it immersed. Depending on the size of your beef, this cold bath could take from 30 to 90 minutes.
- In the Microwave: This is a fast method. If you really don’t have the time, pop the most expensive beef in the world into the microwave oven and hit the Defrost button.
Your Wagyu beef is ready for cooking when it is soft to the touch. If there are still icy and tough spots, continue thawing it.
Lastly, never defrost and refreeze your Wagyu beef.
At Wmart supermarket, we sell both chilled and frozen A5 Wagyu beef from Japan. Our exclusive Iga Beef range is fresh and halal. Visit Wmart supermarket today to buy Iga Beef. You can also contact us through email, WhatsApp and our direct line.