I can’t seem to escape the coverage of Aldi’s £8 Wagyu steak. I was concerned about the misinformation being peddled in the articles but decided that the best way to deal with it was to eat it.
What the Wagyu?
Wagyu means Japanese beef (you can read our full article on Wagyu here). Aldi’s steak isn’t real Wagyu. It is actually a halal crossbreed from New Zealand.
Metro, Gizmodo, the Mirror and even Lad bible have been promoting Aldi’s £8 Wagyu steak with headlines like “Aldi are bringing back the world’s most expensive steak – and it’s an absolute bargain“. In many of the articles they infer that Aldi’s Wagyu steak is equivalent to Kobe – one of the world’s most premium beefs. Gizmodo has done slightly more research, but then claims that people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Kobe beef and Aldi’s Wagyu steak.
This isn’t just misleading, it is utter nonsense. Let’s compare:
On paper Aldi’s Wagyu is not remotely similar to Kobe. But the acid test is the taste test.
The acid test – eating Aldi’s £8 Wagyu steak
I purchased two of the Sirloin Wagyu steaks from Aldi’s Charlton branch. They were ‘matured’ for 14 days, I assume this is wet aged in the packet (otherwise I’m sure they would’ve said dry aged). The packaging states the origin of the beef as well as the identification number of the slaughterhouse which is ME124, a Halal approved slaughterhouse in Hamilton, New Zealand which is run by a company called Greenlea Premier Meats Limited.
The steak itself is about 227g, has some marbling, although it’s very little compared to the real Wagyu you’ll find in Japan. I rested the steak (before and after cooking) and pan-fried the steak 2 minutes each side for a decent medium steak. The steak cut well.
I cut into the steak and started to eat it. I got an initial juicy hit immediately followed by a rank rancid taste. The steak was sour and unpleasant. I ate a few more pieces and the sourness intensified to the point where I could not stand to eat any more. In contrast, if you have Wagyu it is noticeable for an intense buttery sweetness. I assure you that this meat is nothing like Kobe or any sort of real Wagyu.
The only thing going for this steak is its tenderness (and price). For a sirloin it was very easy to eat and very juicy, but unfortunately the taste was so bad I needed to rinse my mouth out.
I’m frustrated that this terrible steak is being compared to Kobe beef. It is not in the same league and it is alarming that the wider media have done nothing but promote misinformation.
It is fittingly tragic that in an age of fake news they’re telling us porkies about our beef too.
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