What to Pair With Wagyu: Sides & Beverages for Wagyu Beef

Wagyu beef: There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about it, and we’re here to clear them up. The first thing you think when you see wagyu is “fancy”. But wagyu beef is so much more than just a fancy cut of beef. It’s a truly luxurious experience that’s worth the price. 

Being able to enjoy wagyu beef steak at home is one of the best things about living in the internet age, and at Hall Farmstead, we’re dedicated to providing you with the best Japanese American wagyu beef in the United States. We spent time researching (and taste-testing) the many different types of Japanese wagyu cattle before selecting Japanese Akaushi Wagyu cattle. Our cattle are 15/16 Akaushi, far exceeding the 50/50 ratio of typical American wagyu. This gives you unparalleled flavor, marbling, and tenderness.

In addition to providing you with the very best in Japanese American wagyu, we’re also committed to making sure you have the best dining experience you can have — and to do that, you need the right sauces, sides, and beverages.

Pairing wagyu beef with sides and drinks is fun, and there are so many ways to give the meal a personal touch. Love fresh, crunchy greens? Prefer a rich, creamy potato dish? Want both? With wagyu beef, you can! Let’s start by getting into a few tips on how to make the wagyu itself the star of the show. Then, we’ll move on to what to serve with wagyu. Finally, we’ll close out by talking about which beverages will make your meal 

Tips to make your wagyu beef shine

The first thing you need to do to make your meal memorable is to — and this may seem obvious — prepare your wagyu beef correctly. Now, as you know, wagyu beef isn’t like regular beef. It’s much fattier than a typical steak. That means that if you’re grilling, you’ll want to use the proper strategy. Here are four guidelines to follow when you’re cooking wagyu:

  • Let your wagyu steak come to room temperature before grilling by removing it from the refrigerator at least an hour before you plan to begin. This ensures that your meat will be cooked evenly throughout. 
  • Thoroughly season your beef with salt and pepper for a few hours before you begin grilling. This gives the meat and seasonings a chance to meld before they hit the grill.
  • Don’t use high heat to sear it! You’ll want to look for coals that are at medium heat, and remove the steak from direct heat after about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Wagyu beef is best enjoyed from medium rare to medium, but of course, it all comes down to personal preference. But no matter how long you cook it, when your steak has reached the desired doneness, remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. 

Searing is another popular way to prepare wagyu steak. The guidelines for searing a steak are similar to grilling: let the steak come to room temperature, season well with salt and pepper, and let rest. The only addition you’ll need to make is to grease your pan of choice very lightly with unsalted butter (remember, the marbling in wagyu beef provides plenty of juice itself). Sear on each side for about two minutes before sliding the whole pan into a 350-degree oven for a few more minutes. Start checking your steak’s internal temperature after about five minutes — look for a reading of about 125 degrees for a medium rare steak.

When you’re done cooking, capture and refrigerate or freeze the extra wagyu fat if you can. You can incorporate it in a number of other dishes later on to take them to the next level.

Food pairings: The basics

There are a few basic rules of thumb when it comes to creating a menu, and many of them have to do with contrasts. For example, a richer main dish would often be best complemented by a lighter side dish that balances out the fattiness of the main. 

But rules are made to be broken — sometimes a rich main and rich side is a match made in heaven. Truly, it comes down to personal preference. What will you enjoy? What will your guests enjoy? If you’re not sure, offering a mix of sides served family style is always a good bet.


Five great side dishes for wagyu beef 

If you’re on the hunt for some side dishes that will complement your wagyu beef steak nicely, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these five staples that are fan favorites when it comes to wagyu beef dinners:

  • Start with a light, flavorful appetizer to get your palate warmed up. Charcuterie is having a moment right now, and a meat and cheese platter is a great way to get your meal started. Try a mixture of blue cheese, aged cheddar, salami, and prosciutto. Serve with a thinly sliced baguette and jams, olives, and fresh fruits like grapes and apple slices. 
  • As a rule, side dishes for wagyu beef should be on the lighter side. For example, sautéed wild mushrooms are a perfect, classic accompaniment and are a perfect complement to beef. Mushrooms add a savory flavor that pairs well with the rich, buttery wagyu. Consider sautéeing them using garlic butter to amp up the taste factor even more. 
  • Baked or smashed potatoes are another classic pairing for wagyu beef. Their earthy flavor and crunchy skins combine fabulously with tender, juicy wagyu. 
  • When it comes to veggies, you can’t beat roasted green vegetables. When seasoned gently with olive oil, salt, and pepper, vegetables like broccoli, green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and spinach are all great selections for a simple side dish. 
  • For another starch option, try a rice pilaf. By cooking rice in broth and adding aromatics like garlic and onion, you can create a simple dish that complements the richness of the wagyu beef nicely. 

Because wagyu beef is so rich, most people recommend staying on the lighter side. While this is a good rule of thumb, you don’t have to restrict yourself to side dishes that you or your guests aren’t interested in. So if you want to serve grandma’s famous loaded mashed potatoes, go for it. Wagyu beef is delicious no matter what you serve alongside it! 


Take your burgers to another level: Wagyu beef burger side dishes

Wagyu beef hamburgers are a great way to dip your toe into the world of wagyu beef without spending a ton of money, and they’re always a big step up from your run-of-the-mill burger. While you might think that a wagyu beef burger is best enjoyed completely plain (in order to show off that distinctive wagyu beef taste), you might be surprised to learn that dressing it up can really make it shine. Try blue cheese, bacon, or caramelized onions on top, or the best lettuce, tomato, and onion you can find. 

If you are looking for good side dishes for wagyu beef burgers, try anything that goes well with steak! You can get a little more casual with a fancy potato salad, a tossed green salad with balsamic, or anything else you like. French fries with truffle salt are another great option! You really can’t go wrong when you’re working with Wagyu. 

Wine, beer, and more: Drinks that complement your beef

When you’re looking to pair a beverage with your meal, think about what goes best with heavy meats. You’re going to want something that will stand up to the richness of wagyu beef without overwhelming its fine flavor. Let’s discuss your options for beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Wagyu-friendly wines

While wagyu beef is fatty, it is also delicate. Most sommeliers recommend pairing wagyu with red wines that are medium- to full-bodied with higher levels of tannins. Silky, bold wines balance wagyu’s buttery flavors and complement the steak’s high fat content. Look for a well-rounded red like a Cotes du Rhone, Sangiovese, or Bordeaux. 

Consider the method of cooking as well. Steaks that have been grilled offer more char and smoke flavors, meaning that heartier wines like cabernet sauvignon and syrah are better able to stand up to these strong notes. Pan-fried steaks can be paired with lighter wines, like Nebbiolo or Beaujolais.


Beers for beef

Dark beers like stouts and porters have the ability to stand up to rich, fatty steaks like wagyu. They also have bitter notes that are able to cut through the fattiness of the meat as well. Pale ales and IPAs are also great choices. Lighter than stouts and porters, their strong, bitter aftertastes make them an ideal pairing for rich wagyu beef ribeye steaks. 


Satisfying non-alcoholic sippers

Two of the best non-alcoholic beverages to pair with a wagyu beef dinner are juices: Cranberry and pomegranate. Just like red wine, these beverages contain tannins that help to break up the fattiness of the meat. They’re also not overly sweet, so they won’t drown out the steak’s flavor. However, if you find them to be too tart or sweet, you can always cut them with a little still water or club soda. 

Club soda is another great choice for an NA beverage due to the carbonation, which helps to both cleanse the palate and balance the meat’s richness. Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime makes an even stronger pairing, as citric acid is also a great way to balance a steak’s richness. 


Desserts for Wagyu

An unctuous meal is also balanced nicely by serving a light, refreshing dish to close out the evening. Consider the sorbet: Simple, yet delicious — and a great palate-cleanser at the end of the meal. A citrus-based baked good, macarons, or a light mousse would also be a refreshing finish to a luxurious wagyu steak dinner.

Wagyu beef: Go beyond a simple steak dinner

When you’re ready to upgrade your steak, wagyu is a natural choice. It’s an everyday luxury that’s perfect for a special dinner at home. With these tips on preparation, you can serve your family and friends a dinner you can be proud of. And with such a wide variety of fantastic sides, you’re bound to cook up a meal they’ll never forget. 

Of course, the first step is picking up the best beef you can find. Hall Farmstead makes this easy with one-time orders or subscriptions to our wagyu beef cuts. Each of our cattle is DNA-tracked to ensure quality, authenticity, and consistency, so we can exceed your expectations every time. Get cooking with the best Japanese American wagyu available today.