Authentic Wagyu beef is among the most sought-after and luxurious meats in the world. What makes it so special is its copious marbling, which creates a luxurious, buttery tenderness unlike any steak from cattle raised in America.
Due to the unique genetics of the cows, the meat contains a higher percentage of fatty acids than ordinary beef, giving it a higher marbling score. The higher the marbling score, the more flavoursome, tender and juicy the meat is – 100% full-blood Wagyu cattle has the highest marble levels of any beef in the world.
Wagyu cattle are fed for twice as long as regular cattle, which means these animals are more expensive to rear. Whereas regular cattle are fed for approximately 18 months, Wagyu cattle typically feed for around three years.
Wagyu beef is extremely rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and contains all of the essential amino acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids such as these are believed to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and other conditions.
Liver. Liver, particularly beef liver, is one of the most nutritious meats you can eat. It's a great source of high-quality protein; vitamins A, B12, B6; folic acid; iron; zinc; and essential amino acids.
Is Wagyu beef worth the price? Anyone who can appreciate a good steak will no doubt find Wagyu beef worth the price. The difference between any regular cut of beef and its Wagyu equivalent lies in the marbling, which comes from intramuscular fat cells.
American Wagyu packs the familiar beefy flavor of an angus steak. “The Japanese stuff is almost like a light beer experience. You just don't have as much of that beefy taste, and then you have that umami flavor that's hard to describe. It's almost like a sweetness,” Heitzeberg says.
Wagyu beef from Japan is the most prized beef in the world. High-grade wagyu can cost up to $200 per pound. The rarest steak in the world, olive wagyu, can cost anywhere from $120 to over $300 for a steak. Wagyu calves can be 40 times the price of US cattle.
Ribeye. For the ultimate juicy, beefy flavor, a ribeye is a great choice. These ultra-flavorful steaks are essentially individually cut prime rib roasts, and they come from the cow's upper rib area. Ribeyes are super fatty, which allows them to retain their juiciness even when cooked over very high heat.
Steak is so expensive because consumers are willing to pay the price. If there were not people visiting restaurants or butcher shops and paying whatever the price tag says for their steak, they would not be as high. This is not to suggest that steak is not worth the price.
Wagyu beef has become a bit more affordable in recent times because ranches across the American Southwest are specialising in breeding these types of Japanese cows. Even so, the price for an 8 oz. steak hovers around $60.
The filet has a sweet flavor and delicate tenderness. Because this muscle is mostly sedentary, it is very supple. In Wagyu, particularly 100% Fullblood Wagyu, the Filet Mignon has more marbling, bringing even more velvety decadence and flavor than Filet Mignon cuts from other breeds of cattle.
Today, a Wagyu ribeye would cost about $50 per 7 ounces, which means a pound would be priced around $100. This translates to approximately $375 per a Wagyu ribeye.
Wagyu from Japan is often held up as the best beef in the world. The meat is tender as the night. It's so soft, steak knives are optional. Its marbled fat dissolves into a buttery flavor so rich it could retire to Florida.
No matter what the steak, the special genetics of Wagyu cattle, paired with their careful rearing and special diet, makes Wagyu Top Sirloin steaks lean, but with beautiful marbling. Great flavor and tenderness, perfect for grilling or pan-frying.
The very best wagyu beef is grade A-4 or A-5.
Wagyu generally exhibits somewhat more marbling than USDA Prime with some subtle differences in the fat type and content, but to say that it is “better” than high quality Angus/Angus cross beef is a bit of a stretch. It is very different, though, and is considerably more expensive to produce.
In Japan, Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef, and Omi beef are usually considered the “top three” wagyu brands. While overseas, Kobe beef is sometimes used synonymously with the term "wagyu", it is only one in hundreds of varieties produced all over Japan.
So “Wagyu” refers to any cattle that is bred in Japan or the Japanese-style. Kobe beef is comprised of a very particular strain of Wagyu called Tajima-Gyu that is raised to strict standards in the prefecture of Hyogo. (Hyogo's capital city is Kobe, thus the name).