Japanese Meal Recreation - Japanese BBQ

Wagyu beef from Matsusake @ M restaurant
So in an attempt to eat as well as we did in Japan, I tried to recreate some of our favorite meals.  Japanese BBQ and Japanese Curry Beef were two dishes that I felt confident enough to make from all of the meals we ate while vacationing in Japan.  We've heard numerous stories on Japanese BBQ. Some say that it originated in Korea, but the Japanese perfected it.  We've only had the Japanese version of it and all we know is that it is indeed delicious.

Japanese beef is "Wagyu" and it is some of the best in the world. The Japanese treat their cattle well by feeding them beer and massaging them with shochu. Wagyu cattle are known for their extreme marbling and quality, which is why it is more expensive.  It is sold in the states and is usually referred to as Kobe or Wagyu, which is probably a misnomer is some cases.  "Kobe beef" simply means beef that has originated in Kobe, near Osaka.  "Wagyu" beef is simply Japanese beef.  There are several regions in Japan that produce excellent beef.   In particular, we had a meal with beef from the Matsusaka region.

We went to a few Japanese BBQ places, but we hit the jackpot when we went to M for Jeff’s birthday dinner.  They literally showed us a picture of the cow’s identification (nose print) and the farmer that raised it.  The meat was cooked right in front of us by the chef and was delicious.  Probably the best we have ever eaten.   Japanese BBQ usually involves the customer cooking the meat, but as a result of negative reviews from foreigners on a travel website, this restaurant cooks the meat for you if you're "gaijin" aka non-Japanese.

I wanted to recreate this style of meal at home, but couldn't get any Wagyu so we resorted to grass fed beef purchased from our local farmers market.

Japanese Beef Marinade

1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp Sake
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tsp grated ginger

I marinated a skirt steak after cutting it into smaller pieces. After a few hours, I took the steak out of the marinated to be grilled.  We really tried to recreate the scene and used the electric griddle on the dining room table to cook right in front of us.  There were veggies and lettuce to eat with the steak.  If we were in Japan, there would be personalized table grills that would have hot coals added when you arrived at the restaurant. I think we were playing it safe using the electric griddler, but it would be a cool gift idea in the future...hint, hint.

This was more similar to a Korean BBQ place with the lettuce and the toppings, but this girl did what she could with what she had available. My favorite was the seasoned leeks (ramps) I made as a side. 

Jeff and I broke out our new chopsticks and sake boxes for the meal. The boxes are placed under the small glasses and the Sake overflows into the box after the glass is full.  This way when you are finished with the glass, you pour the remainder from the box into the glass. We had never seen it done this way until this trip.  It was really nice to remember our journey and bring home some experiences from this trip of a lifetime.

As soon as I get my Japanese Curry Roux, I'll be making some of that as well. Mmm, I can smell it already!  

<3 mk

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