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American Wagyu beef cuts, prep tipsAmerican Wagyu beef cuts, prep tips

American Wagyu beef producer Zachary Mengers shares some of his favorite cuts and how they're prepared.

Shelley E. Huguley

October 13, 2023

4 Min Read
Zachary Mengers talks about American Wagyu beef
American Wagyu beef producer Zahary Mengers discusses beef cuts and preparation tips with producers Brett Sauls, Shellman, Ga., and George Perry, Tunica, Miss.Shelley E. Huguley

Zachary Mengers, Mengers and Sons Farms, raises American Wagyu beef near Tynan, Texas. He crosses Wagyu bulls with Brangus heifers. Wagyu are known for their high-quality marbling while the Angus bring the growth and muscle structure and the Braham, the heat tolerance, he said.

Wagyu, which means “Japanese cow,” originated from Japan. “Every registered Wagyu bull can be traced back to three bulls that came from Japan,” Mengers said.

Once his American Wagyu reach 1,400 pounds to 1,600 pounds, he butchers them at a USDA-certified facility. Then, from the Mengerses farm, he sells the vacuum-sealed beef as individual cuts or as a half or whole beef.

He discussed some of the various cuts and how they are prepared or used.

American Wagyu beef cuts

Picanha coultte steak is the shoulder cap, he said. “The Brazilian people actually came up with this cut. It’s the end of the sirloin, the sirloin cap. This used to be turned into ground beef. But this is sirloin steak meat quality right here. If you go to a Brazilian steakhouse, they will have this because of the way it tapers. So, you have a thick chunk of meat (on one end) and a thinner chunk here (on the opposite end), so that you can cook this to medium rare and this (end) will be well done and serve a variety of people at the Brazilion steakhouses.”

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In other words, “You can have medium rare for me and well done for my wife, all in one chunk of meat.” Mengers likes to smoke it like a brisket, but not as long. “Let that smoke get in there and then what you can do is cut it into steaks and sear them really quick.”

Tri tip tapers as well. “It’s just a smaller piece of meat. This is big in California.” He said it resembles a pizza slice.

Flanken ribs, also known as crosscut ribs, can be grilled and in 10 minutes “you’ll have rib tenderness, rib flavor, quality meat, all with just grilling it instead of smoking it for eight or nine hours.”

Flat irons are Mengers’ favorite steaks. “It’s little and it has the beefiest flavor out of your steaks.”

Wagyu briskets are popular for barbecue competitions. “We’re taking in (to the butcher) 1,400- to-1,600-pound animals. You’d think their briskets would be huge. Ours aren’t that big. Normally, a 1,600-pound cow will have close to a 20-pound brisket, easy. Ours are 10 pounds.”

Osso Buco beef shank is the leg. “They cut it against the bone, so it has the bone marrow in it.” Mengers says it’s good cooked like a stew with potatoes, green beans, carrots. “It’s like a roast but I like it more than roast. There seems to be more flavor because it’s got the bone marrow in it.”

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Thor’s Hammer is a newer shank cut. “The butcher will butcher the animal and leave the bone in and the meat around it (about 10 inches).” The bone sticking out is like a hammer or a mallet. “So, you can smoke that in a smoker and then shred up the meat, put it in a taco with tortillas. The bone marrow heats up and flavors the meat. It’s just awesome.”

Beef bacon is also available. Just like pig bacon, “it’s off their belly.”

Mengers’ specialty meats are popular with the region’s Mexican and Hispanic populations. Cuts include lingua or tongue included in tacos, and liver, heart and oxtail, which is often used to make oxtail stew. “The cheek meat is used to make barbacoa. Down here, barbacoa is made out of everything from the head. The tongue’s thrown in there, the cheeks and they scrape the meat off the top of the skull.”

Flank steaks are like fajita meat. “You marinate it for a day and then grill it,” he says.

American Wagyu ground beef

And of course, Mengers and Sons Farms has ground beef and beef patties. “The ground beef is going to be a little fattier because Wagyu is a fattier cow, so you’re going to have to drain some grease.” But he says there is a distinct flavor difference between it and regular ground beef.

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He also sells flavored beef sticks and beef jerky. Before the Mengers started selling ground beef consistently, they had more ground beef than they could sell, so they started having the butcher use some of that meat to make various flavors of jerky and beef sticks. The jerky comes in black pepper, garlic pepper, and Teriyaki. The snack sticks are available in pepperoni, jalapeno and cheddar, pepper jack cheese and regular beef.

From conception until they’re butchered, Mengers’ American Wagyu never leave the farm, and their daily rations contain corn, cottonseed and milo grown on their Tynan row crop farms.

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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