Everything We Saw at Wyoming Meat Market’s Wagyu Beef Butchering and Tasting Event

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Want to see how an old school butcher slices up a side of beef? The Wyoming Meat Market recently demonstrated how to fully break down half a cow raised by Sakura Wagyu Farms in front of a packed house. During the event, called Santa’s Wagyu Workshop, market owner Jim Gelhausen and apprentice Shelbi Nation gave a step-by-step butchery walkthrough of an Ohio-raised Wagyu carcass while attendees enjoyed a Wagyu tasting menu with wines by Charles Krug Winery and dessert pairings made with dairy from Indian Creek Creamery

Wagyu is a breed of cattle prized for its exceptional tenderness and fat distribution. Meat connoisseurs consider it the champagne of beef thanks to tightly regulated guidelines on the animal’s breeding and diet. A lot of work is needed to process Wagyu cattle into steaks but the end results are deliciously worthwhile, as those in attendance at the Wyoming Meat Market’s ticketed event found out. 

Starting with the forequarter of the cattle, Gelhausen and Nation began to cut it down into individual cuts such as brisket, chuck and ribs. The cut of meats depend on the muscle composition and its placement on the body. The first dish of the evening was a “cowboy steak” which is cut from the prime rib. A luxurious bite served medium rare, you really get the fullest impression of how tender and buttery Wagyu is in its simplest form, well worth every penny of this highly allocated meat. Other dishes that were also made with forequarter cuts include sweet and savory meatballs made from the shoulder, bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers stuffed with cheesy brisket and, to round out the forequarter, shredded short ribs served over buttery mashed potatoes. 

As the hindquarter menu rolled out the wine never stopped pouring. The tasting setup essentially provided as much food and drink as any individual wanted while supplies lasted. The atmosphere was brimming with hunger and excitement mingled with the thrill of learning an interesting trade as the two butchers answered questions from the group, both about the breakdown process and serving suggestions.

Luckily, the Gelhausen family-run kitchen provided excellent examples of how to best savor each different cut of beef. Hindquarter dishes included sesame ginger skewers made with sirloin tips, a top round pinwheel with creamy artichoke, asparagus wrapped in New York strip and Beef Wellington made with beef tenderloin and puff pastry provided by the neighboring Wyoming Pastry Shop.

A standout of the evening was pho broth made from wagyu bones and traditional spices found in the Vietnamese soup staple. Paper-thin eye of round cuts were served raw with the broth, meant to be briefly dunked in the hot soup in order to cook the beef, it made for a robust and refreshing sip of savoriness. Desserts for the evening included milk tarts and rice pudding to leave on a sweet note. 

Tickets for the event cost $50 and another demonstration is planned for the spring. To keep up to date on any future opportunities, be sure to follow Wyoming Meat Market on Facebook.

- Sean Peters

| Photos by Sean Peters