Beef Pho with Wagyu Slices
Phở Tái Bò
Phở Tái Bò topped with this, fatty slices of Bushu Gyu Wagyu
WHY I LOVE PHOPho has quite a captivating story that entails colonialism, food rationing, & diaspora. If there’s any Vietnamese dish that tells the story of Vietnamese history in the last 100 years, without hesitation, it would be #pho.
Pho was originally made with water buffalo. And it wasn’t as popular at the time. It was a regional dish found in Northern Vietnamese provinces. It wasn’t until the 19th century [French Occupation] that Water Buffalo in Pho was replaced with the European cow, specifically in Hanoi. [1900-1950s]
There are many contributing factors & theories. However, there was one main fact that gave birth to Beef Pho; Hanoi was the capital of French-Indochina [compiled nations of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, & the Chinese territory of Guangzhuowan]. Thus, translating a strong presence of French colonists. The demand from French palates brought the European cow. Naturally, the European cow (as an ingredient) would find its way to Hanoi’s food scene to be utilized as an essential ingredient; beef found its way to be the permanent substitute for water buffalo in pho. Considering these historical contexts & cultural intersections, going into the 20th century, Pho would be an iconic staple in street food in Hanoi. And its popularity was contagious. In the next 50 years, Pho would go from a local Hanoi favorite to a national dish. [1950s-1975]
In the latter half of the 20th century, food rationing was imposed on the citizens of Vietnam, in particular rice. And left no room for other ingredients (beef) as it was considered a luxury item. This “shift in policy” immediately reflected in the way people cook. Recipes were adapted. And Vietnam’s iconic Beef Pho evolved to Chicken Pho. [1980’s]
The International Vietnamese Diaspora community is a generation without. Their generation [birth years: 1950s-1980s] experience severe hunger. Thus, translating into their special relationship with food. In their new communities, they would attempt to assimilate. However, their memory taste of Pho remained. And it was in these expat Vietnamese communities that Beef Pho, once again, had its uprising.
What is Wagyu?Wagyu literally means Japanese Beef. It is known for its fine and abundant marbling and for smooth muscle texture. Three key elements that make Japanese wagyu so unique are 100% wagyu genetics, special feed ration, and extreme care. First, Japanese wagyu cattle originate from either one of the four reeds mentioned above. Second, they have a special low energy diet consisting of corn, barley, and on occasion roasted soybeans. They are fed for 600 days versus US cattle of 150 days.Third, Japanese wagyu are under the most extreme care. They are brushed and massaged.
What is Kobe Beef?In 1868, Kobe opened its doors to foreign trade as an international port. With many foreigners arriving from abroad and settling there, Kobe soon became a cosmopolitan town, a veritable crossroads of Japanese tradition and foreign culture. At the time, the Japanese were not accustomed to eating meat. However, an Englishman was about to change all that. Apparently, Tajima-gyu was first eaten in Kobe by an Englishman who obtained a cow from some farmers that was used for farm work. Upon eating its meat and savoring its flavor, he must surely have felt that it was a gift from heaven. From then on, foreign ships entering Kobe port also started to ask for deliveries of cattle and beef, which in no time came to be called “Kobe Beef.”
Wagyu Grades ExplainedYield Grade is the ratio of meat to dressed carcass weight, and is classified into three grades, from A to C (A: 72 and greater; B: 69 and greater; C: less than 69), according to numbers determined in four categories – rib eye area, rib thickness, subcutaneous fat thickness, chilled carcass weight. Quality Grade is classified into grades (from 5 to 1) according to marbling, meat brightness, meat firmness and texture, and fat brightness and quality.
About Bushu Gyu “Samurai Wagyu” from Hasegawa FarmsJust north of Tokyo proper lies the Saitama Prefecture of Japan, home of well-preserved Edo-era structures and Buddhist temples. Amidst the lush mountains and rock formations lies the family-owned Hasegawa Farm, a fourth-generation private producer of Bushū wagyu, which is commonly referred to as Bushu-Gyu or “Samurai Beef.” The cattle of the Hasegawa Farm - which are bred from the famed Black Wagyu breed - enjoy impeccable cleanliness during the humid season - earning the highest recognition from the Japan Ministry of Agriculture - all while enjoying a diet of sake lees, beer pulp, apple peels, pineapple chips mixed with rice bran, and an abundant access to mineral rich spring water. All of this amounts to an umami rich, fragrant beef with notes of fresh pressed olive oil – it simply cannot be replicated anywhere else. With only 350 head going to market a year, it's no wonder the Bushu-Gyu is almost completely unheard of in the United States, and it gives Kobe beef a run for its money at about half the price.
Top Round Bush-Gyu “Samurai” Wagyu is perfect for Phở Tái BòWagyu cuts [such as: NY Strip, Filet Mignon, Ribeye) are in the highest demand. And if you’ve had wagyu at a restaurant, it was probably one of these cuts. However, they are not ideal for Pho. It tends to fall apart. Top Round Bush-Gyu offers a cost-effective cut that is perfect for thin slices for Phở Tái Bò. Want to know a secret? Top Round Wagyu is one of my favorite cuts. Why? Because it has the perfect balance of texture, it’s very flavorful, and it doesn’t break the bank. In my opinion, Top Round Wagyu is a comparable cut to the wagyu loins, aforementioned. Particularly, Bush Gyu “Samurai Wagyu” Top Round from Hasegawa Farms.
How to CooK
Phở Tái Bò
Beef Pho with Wagyu SlicesPhở Tái Bò topped with this, fatty slices of Bushu Gyu Wagyu
- 2 lb. Beef Chuck
- 1 each Yellow Onion
- 1 each Garlic, Head
- 2 oz Hawaiin Ginger, Fresh & Unpeeled
- 1 packet Tumami Pho Spice Blend [or substitute  star anise, cinnamon stick, [½] tsp fennel seeds [¼ ] tsp cloves]
- 2 tbsp Organic Sugar
- Kosher Salt As needed
- 4 tbsp Son Fish Sauce
- Water Fill to cover [do not overfill beyond max capacity, reference Instapot manual]
- 2 quarts Beef Bone Broth
- 14 oz. Pack Three Ladies Dried Pho Noodles
- 12 oz Top Round Bush-Gyu “Samurai” Wagyu
- 16 oz Bean Sprouts
- 2 bunches Scallions, sliced
- ½ each Yellow Onion, sliced
- 1 each Jalapeno, sliced
- 1 bunch Thai Basil
- Hoisin as needed
- Sriracha as needed
- optional Tiger Satế [this is my favorite pho condiment]
- Please wash your hands before and after every task. And sanitize all equipment and surfaces that had contact with raw meat
Prepare the Beef Chuck
- Brine Beef Chuck to clean and remove any impurities that seep into the pho brotha. In a large pot, fill it with 2 quarts of cold waterb. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, mix until salt is dissolvedc. Submerge the beef for 15-20 minutesd. Drain water and rinse beef under cold water, until water runs clear
Make the Broth
- Roast Aromaticsa. Set oven on broil (low) preheat for 5 minutes [or fire roast on gas stove]b. Slice ginger into 1” chunks, do not peelc. Slice onion into 1 “ chunks do not peeld. Break apart garlic cloves, do not peele. Place all aromatics in the oven to broil for 10 minutes.f. Place all roasted aromatics into Instapot
- Toast Spicesa. In a small saucepan, place in the cinnamon stick, star anise, clove, and fennel seedsb. Heat saucepan over low heat for 3-4 minutes, continually moving the pan to prevent the spices from burning
- Add spices into the Instapot with Beef Chuck
- Fill the Instapot with 2 quarts of Bone Broth
- Season the Instapota. 1 tsp Kosher Saltb. 4 tbsp Son Fish Sauce
- Fill the Instapot with water up to max line
- Set Instapot on “High Pressure” for 1 hour
- After the Instapot timer goes off, release the pressure [reference manual]
- Remove Beef Chuck from broth to cool at ambient temperature
- Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer
- Transfer broth to a pot and bring to a simmer
- Once the pot comes to a simmer, bring the heat down to a low-medium
- While the broth is cooking, it's a good time to prepare the noodles, and also the herbs for the table so you have everything ready
- Continue to skim the broth to remove impurities
- Continue to simmer the broth for an additional 30 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low, to keep the soup hot.
- Soak the dried rice noodles in hot tap water for 10 minutes. They will soften just a bit, and become more opaque. Drain the noodles.
- Simultaneously. bring a separate pot of water to a boil.
- Bring 2 quarts of water to boil
- Add noodles, stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning
- Cook until the noodles are done (2-3 minutes)
- Once the noodles are done, drain the noodles into a food colander and rinse them thoroughly with cold water until the water runs clear.
Butcher Bushu Gyu Top Round Steaks [Samurai Beef]
- Top Round Sub Primal is 40-50 lbs.
- Top Round steaks freeze really well, especially with a food saver . Cut 3” x 6 “ blocks
- In this YouTube tutorial learn [ How to butcher Top Round Steaks ]. It’s very easy.a. Once steaks are portioned into 3” x 6 “ blocks, thinly slice steak on it’s bias lengthwiseb. Layer a piece of plastic film on each slice, and use a mallet to pound the slices thinnerc. Transfer steak slice to a plate
- Sliced stewed Beef Chuck into 1” slices
- Slice 2 bunches of scallion
- Rinse and clean 16 oz. of mung bean sprouts- to get them crispy, soak them in cold water for 5 minutes prior to serving
- Thai Basil is kept whole
- In a large soup bowl, first, start with your pho noodles to a bowl
- Garnish with stewed Beef Chuck slices
- Garnish bean sprouts, Thai basil, and scallion
- Garnish sliced Bushu Gyu slices
- Ladle boiling broth into the bowl.
- Serve with hoisin, sriracha and tiger satế on the side.