All About Wagyu Beef

Monday 31 October 2022



What Makes Wagyu the Most Expensive Beef in the World?

The entire world knows that wagyu beef is the most expensive beef that money can buy. This article explores what it is that makes this type of food so desirable.

Wagyu beef has been teasing palates the world over for generations now. Ever since the east and west connected, we westerners have been licking our lips in wonderment. We have also been trying to steal the secrets of the wagyu cattle breeders. It truly was only a matter of time before the cattle hopped on a ship and made it to America. Nowadays, you can buy Wagyu beef taken from the same cattle that Japanese wagyu comprises of, but right here in the states. It comes with the same reassuringly expensive price tag and its own certificate of authenticity. Here is what you need to know about what makes wagyu beef so expensive. 

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef: An Overview

Whether you are indulging in Japanese or American Wagyu, you can be sure that the price tag will be high enough to accommodate for the way the cows live. A wagyu cow receives better treatment than others. It is under constant supervision from a cowherd. The farms that rear these cows feed them special, strict diets. These diets alter the meat in taste and texture. You can always spot a wagyu steak because of the marbled effect of the fat threading all the way through the meat. In a traditional steak, that fat would attach to the meat in one big bulk. In wagyu, the fat lowers in cholesterol, threaded through the meat, and tastier.

Wagyu cattle are the product of Japan. As we mentioned, American cattle breeders have recently unlocked the feeds and treatment which allow the Japanese to raise hardy, tasty meat. The market has become full of imitation wagyu, and meat labelled as wagyu that doesn’t have the same high-quality. Instead, go straight to a professional source and buy your wagyu from a reputable supplier. Look for that authenticity certificate, it really does help. This Hokkaido wagyu – A5 wagyu beef striploin steak is a great example of real wagyu with real flavor.

What does Wagyu Cost?

Real wagyu imported from Japan can sell for over $200 per pound of meat, which makes it expensive when dining out. Even American wagyu can sell for hundreds. A meal in a restaurant will set you back double this. If you were physically in Japan, the meat would cost less. However, this would be a slight reduction due to the lack of export costs.

wagyu ribeye (source)

Why is Wagyu so Expensive?

In Japan, the state governs the strict processes that wagyu cattle must go through to qualify for the illustrious Wagyu Mark. The literal translation of the word ‘wagyu’ means Japanese cow. There are four breeds: the Kuroge, the Mukaku, the Nihon Tankakon and the Kuroge. If they want to earn the stamp, though, they need to eat the right things, grow in the right conditions, and you must treat it the right way. All this takes money. A single cow can cost $30,000.

Wagyu receives its grading based on how much meat you can remove from the carcass. The Japanese will only sell the A3, A4 and A5 grades. Japanese farmers must pay taxes and tariffs on each cow. They must raise them on fattening farms where the feed is expensive. Wagyu also has special cuts which add to the price such as in Matsusaka, where they butcher virgin female cows for a better cut.

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