Snow-aging, or yukimuro, is a traditional technique that’s been used in Japan for over 200 years. Due to the cold climate in the Niigata Prefecture, and because the area can receive up to 8 metres of snowfall each year, this snow-aging method is exclusively practiced in this region of North West Japan.
A5 wagyu beef, which is the highest possible rating given to beef in Japan, is placed into a chamber — the yukimuro room — which is then covered with snow and rice. This creates a humid yet cold environment for the meat to naturally age and allows the meat to be kept at a consistent temperature of 1-2°C for over 90% of the year.
This consistent temperature is a special quality of snow aging. To replicate this ancient method elsewhere, you would have to rely on fans and cooling equipment instead. In most refrigerated spaces, fans turn on and off once certain set temperatures are reached, meaning the room can go above or below the desired temperature at any given time. When it does, it takes the cooling equipment time to adjust back to the optimal settings, meaning that there can be an inconsistency in the temperature held. With snow aging, these fluctuations simply don’t happen.
Over time, as oxygen breaks down the fibres in the yukimuro room, the A5 wagyu beef becomes even more incredibly tender and takes on a deliciously sweet and mellow flavour. This is different to that of other — non-snow aged — Japanese wagyu beef, as each has its own subtle differences in flavour. The main variation comes down to the method of aging: Snow Aged Wagyu has that sweet and mellow flavour profile due to the high humidity environment, whereas our cuts that are wet-aged would be slightly deeper and more intense in flavour.
Whether it’s a tenderloin, striploin or ribeye, we highly recommend trying a cut of our Japanese A5 Snow Aged Wagyu Beef. It’s truly an exquisite melt-in-your-mouth eating experience that’s rooted in authentic Japanese culinary traditions. And just like all Butcher Shoppe products, our Snow Aged Wagyu Beef is hand-cut to order by our team of expert butchers.