What is a Zabuton Steak?
Zabuton Steak or Denver Steak, luckily you will never have to choose. The Zabuton steak (Japanese name) and the Denver Steak (American name) are precisely the same cut of beef. Surprisingly, this steak will taste and appear on your plate to be the most premium cut of beef that your guests will think you splurged. Located in the chuck, this cut needs no braising nor smoking, if you’ve chosen from a prime plus rated beef that is. Zabuton is the Japanese translation to “cushion,” assuming that was linked to describe the “cushion” between the chuck roll and the eye roll.
Chuck cuts, tend to play an unpopular role amongst their prim and proper loin cuts. If you want to be the unsung hero of your next bbq, bring this game changing steak. The Zabuton / Denver Steak will appear at your butcher to be a beautifully marbled New York Strip.
Wagyu zabuton Steak
Zabuton steak is a Japanese cut of Wagyu coming from the Chuck area of the cow. Its name loosely translates to, “Little Pillow,” which is in reference to its shape looking like Japanese floor pillows, as well as its tenderness being soft like a pillow. Origins of the Zabuton are a little uncertain; and as a lesser-known cut, it may be referenced by its Japanese name, or by its American name, “Denver Steak.”
Both steaks come from the same cut and are essentially one is the same in that regard. If you want to get technical, the American, Denver Steak, paying homage to the Japanese, Zabuton, will come from American Wagyu, while the latter will come from actual Japanese Wagyu.
Its origins in Japan are that it is an extremely rare cut of Wagyu, that is typically sliced thin and cooked for a very short amount of time, being around only eight seconds long. However, its American counterpart is rather in reference to marketing strategies and grill promotion, only going back as far as 2009. Preparing the Denver Steak properly will determine the quality of the outcome greatly. It essentially all comes down to how the cut is sliced in preparation to being grilled. Cutting it the wrong way could turn it into a tough, less flavorful steak. Akin to other muscular cuts it should be cut against the grain and left to its original thicker cube-shape rather than being sliced into thin pieces.
Flagstaffs Pick | Where to buy a Zabuton Steak?
The Zabuton / Denver Steak is likely a rarity at your local grocer or butcher. Click the here to order American Wagyu Black Grade Zabuton from 'Snake River Farms.'
Also known as the Denver steak, the zabuton is a rich and delicious steak with a buttery flavor and texture. A wonderful steak for the grill or skillet.
This steak is American Wagyu Black Grade, rated 6 to 8 on the Japanese Beef Marbling Score (BMS)
Beef sold in the U.S. is graded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There are eight total grades and the top grade is USDA Prime.
All Snake River Farms American Wagyu beef grades above Prime. Special breeds of cattle like Japanese Wagyu are capable of producing marbling beyond their American counterparts. To grade this high level of marbling, we adopted the Japanese Beef Marbling Score.
A unique cut
As stated before, the Zabuton is an up-and-coming cut, that is still fairly unknown. The cut specifically comes from the chuck area, located between the neck and the rib of a cow. Coming from the shoulder of the cow, the chuck area is most commonly known for producing a more tough, but rich in flavor cut of meat. Most of which is used for stewing, braising, roasting or slow cooking, not grilling, in order to create tenderness from the tougher cut.
The Zabuton on the other hand is the exception; in contrast it is rather tender to begin with, while still being rich in flavor. The natural tenderness allows for more versatility when cooking it, allowing it to be grilled. The unique cut comes from a section of the chuck that only accounts for around eight of the total twenty-five-pound area. This section is located in an area of the shoulder or chuck primal that has limited mobility, providing ideal conditions for higher marbling, and tenderness. It is often cut into smaller, square cubes, hence the name, “Little Pillow,” as mentioned earlier.
Grill factor alone, sets this chuck cut apart. The rarity of its capability to be grilled, coupled with its marbelization (fat and muscle combination) and rich, decadent flavors will set you apart at your next barbeque. Done right, the Zabuton may outdo the more popular, well-known loin cuts, bringing a huge surprise to your table.
chefs tip for the perfect denver steak / Zabuton Steak
From our family to yours, our Executive Chef, Chris Royster, will recommend grilling or searing it! Use a piping hot cast iron pan or a high temperature grill to achieve perfection. Don’t be afraid of some salt and pepper! A heavily seasoned exterior creates succulence and texture to a thick cut steaks exterior, locking in its juiciness and tenderness.
“In a small bowl, mince 2 cloves of garlic and one sprig of fresh rosemary, then add 3 tablespoons of oil and mix together. Fully coat your steak by rubbing the mixture onto your steak, allowing it to marinade while you wait for your grill or cast iron to heat. Salt and Pepper to season, then grill or sear away!” Bon Appetite!