How To Grill Wagyu Steak
Note: start on low heat when cooking Wagyu steak on a gas grill. When the internal temperature is 20°F below the desired temperature, turn the heat up to high and cook for 1 minute on each side.
Why Is Wagyu Beef So Expensive At A Steakhouse And Is It Even Worth It We Think Your Money Is Better Spent Elsewhere
You dont need a six-figure salary to visit a steakhouseunless youre looking at the wagyu beef section, of course. Seriously, the price of wagyu steaks on a steakhouse menu is enough to take your breath away. The smallest wagyu steak costs more than the largest filet mignon . On average, wagyu beef can run more than $200 per pound , so what gives? Why is wagyu beef so expensive, and could this uber-expensive steak actually be worth it?
Does Wagyu Beef Taste Different
There is a lot of debate over what type of beef is the best to eat, but one thing everyone can agree on is that Wagyu beef tastes different. The highest quality Wagyu steak is made from a specially bred cow that has been fed a diet high in protein and healthy fats. This makes the meat extremely tender and juicy, making it perfect for those who are looking for an intense taste experience.
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What Makes Wagyu Beef So Expensive
Obviously, the unique marbling and soft buttery smooth tender meat makes wagyu beef very desireable which in turn allows wagyu beef to command high prices but that is not the sole driver of high wagyu prices.
It is the more underhanded methods covered in this article that keep Japanese wagyu prices artificially high i.e.
- Price gouging by producers and distributors.
- Purposely keeping supply very limited.
- Prices fixing at auction.
- High use of growth promoting hormones.
- Involvement of criminal underworld.
All these factors keep japanese wagyu beef prices astronomical.
Producers in the US, America and Britian have proven that they can produce superb quality wagyu beef and sell it at a fration of the price of japanese wagyu.
How Do Wagyu Steaks Differ From Other Beef
Wagyu is one of the best breeds of cattle. Its a popular beef type due to its strong, yet tender, flavor. Wagyu is a Japanese breed, developed in the 1960s as a way to breed the best beef for Japanese taste. For this reason, it is the most expensive and rare breed. Wagyu cant be mass produced like cattle bred for beef. Instead, the cattle are raised from birth on special feed and grass. The cattle are also given frequent, individual attention. This makes them exceptionally intelligent. Wagyu meat is characterized by a smooth, light flavor and a dense, fatty cut. It also tends to be a bit leaner than beef from other breeds. Wagyu beef also has a high fat content. This fat contributes to the meats tenderness and flavor. Wagyu steaks are typically about 4 inches thick and can weigh up to 50 pounds. They tend to be very expensive. Thats because theyre among the rarest beef types.
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What Is Wagyu Steak
Wagyu steak is a high-quality cut of beef that is known for its intense marbling, tenderness, and flavor. To make it more clear, wagyu beef comes from four cow breeds: Japanese black, Japanese brown, polled, and shorthorn cows.
The meat is very high in fat and is often called butter beef because of its smooth texture. Wagyu steak is quite a bit more expensive than other types of beef, but it is definitely worth the price. The priciest wagyu is called Kobe beef and comes from the Kobe region of Japan.
However, nowadays, you can buy American wagyu, which is a crossbreed of Angus and Wagyu. The meat is similar to wagyu, but its more affordable.
Why Is Wagyu Beef So Expensive
In 1997, Japan declared wagyu a national treasure and banned any further exportation of cattle, which means they largely control the market on wagyu beef. American ranchers are working hard to increase the production of this sought-after beef, but only 221 animals were exported to the United States before the ban was in place. Thats a small pool considering that Japan uses progeny testing to ensure only the best genetics are kept for breeding.
The other thing that keeps wagyu so expensive is Japans strict grading system for beef. The United States Department of Agriculture classifies beef as Prime, Choice, Select or a lower grade. The Japanese Meat Grading Association goes into way more depth with wagyu, grading the beefs yield and ranking quality based on fat marbling, color, brightness, firmness, texture, and quality of fat. The highest grade is A5, but the fat quality scores are crucially important. These scores range from 1 to 12, and by JMGA standards, USDA prime beef would only achieve a fat quality score of four.
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What Is The Difference Between Steak And Skirt Steak
There are a lot of different types of steak, and the distinction between them is important. skirt steak is a type of steak that is cut from the leg region of a steer. It is usually served as a main course, and has a milder flavor than other types of steak. Skirt steak can also be used in recipes to add texture and flavor.
The Good Stuff Is In The Genes
American Wagyu beef is the result of years of research and development by some of the worlds leading cattle breeders. This research has led to the development of a superior breed of Wagyu cattle that is specifically designed for the American dinner plate.
At Bear Lake Beef, we raise Wagyu cows from the state most famous for its beefy Angus flavorSouth Dakota!
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How Do You Cook A Frozen Wagyu Steak
It is always best to thaw frozen steaks in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature or under running water.To get the most out of the buttery characteristics of American Wagyu, avoid overseasoning it and instead use salt and pepper to season.If youre pan-frying or grilling, cook over a medium or medium-high heat for the greatest flavor and texture.If youre pan-frying, a cast iron skillet will give you a better sear and more flavor.
Wagyu Outside Of Japan
While wagyu means pure-bred wagyu in Japan, the term unfortunately doesnt always mean the same thing abroad. While a very small number of pure-bred Japanese cattle do exist in the US, meat need only be 46.9% Japanese to be labeled wagyu. Typically wagyu in the United States is cross-bred with Angus cattle and may be more Angus beef than wagyu. However, even this very broad definition of wagyu only applies to farmers and abattoirs it does not extend to restaurants. So essentially restaurants can sell any beef as wagyu and many do.Eating wagyu in Japan versus America, for example, or Australia, where wagyu breeds are usually cross-bred with domestic Angus cattle as well, is a different experience, not only because of pure-bred versus cross-bred cattle the climate, environment, rearing techniques and the feed the animals consume all impact texture, taste and marbling. The strict grading system described above only applies to wagyu in Japan and the vast majority of it remains in-country for domestic consumption. Wagyu reared in Japan reaches such a high quality that the American and Australian grading systems dont have categories for such extensive marbling. The USDA only recognizes beef up to Prime, which equates to about 4 on the BMS scale and Australias own AUS-MEAT marbling system only goes up to an equivalent of BMS 9 .Have you ever tried A5 wagyu or any other grades of Japanese beef? Where did you try it and what did you think of it?
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A Quick Note About Dry Aging Wagyu:
Dry aging is a process that reduces the amount of moisture in beef for a richer, more full-bodied flavor. We do dry aging for 1-2 weeks before cutting, but that doesnt mean you cant take it further with your cut. However, make sure youre doing it right. Your regular kitchen fridge likely will not do the trick for this – and nobody wants Wagyu that tastes like the cut-up half onion you left in your fridge a little too long. Please see this post by Barbecue Bible for how to dry age meat at home.
How To Handle Wagyu Beef Safely
Raw Wagyu Beef: Choose beef just before you check out over the register. Place raw beef packs in disposable plastic bags, if possible, to prevent leakage that could contaminate cooked meat or produce. Beef, a perishable product, is kept in the fridge during distribution to prevent bacteria growth.
Take the beef home right away and refrigerate it at 40 °F use within 3 to 5 days for hamburger meat and variety meats such as liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads, or tongue, or freeze at 0 °F . It will be safe indefinite period if kept frozen constantly. Wagyu can be frozen in its original packaging or repackaged safely. To prevent freezer burn, which seems to as grayish-brown fleshy spots on porous store plastic, wrap it in freezer paper, aluminum foil, or bags for long-term freezing or freezer-weight plastic wrap and also is caused by air starting to reach the foods surface. Cut refrigerated burn portions away either before or after cooking the beef. For quality reasons, heavily freezer-burned foods may have to be discarded. Use roasts and steaks within 9-12 months for the best quality.
Regulation of the U.S. Food Processing Sector for Wagyu Beef
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How Does Wagyu Beef Get Marbling
Wagyu beef explained without referencing the distinctive marbling feature of this type of beef is not comprehensive enough. Marbling is what sets Wagyu aside from other kinds of beef, and it is no more than a layering of intramuscular fat.
The marbling you get on your wagyu beef is a significant feature responsible for the beefs tenderness, taste, and flavor. It gives the beef the moistness it needs for a remarkable taste and looks.
However, marbling doesnt just happen. The primary factor responsible for it is the diet that the wagyu cow is placed in during rearing. The kind of feed the wagyu cow eats will determine the intramuscular fat that would line its meat. Thus, farmers have often sought after the best feed alternatives aside from grains and grass to ensure that the best yield grade and quality grade comes from their wagyu cows.
What Is So Special About Japanese Wagyu Beef
The meat itself, particularly Japanese Wagyu has certain characteristics that set it apart from Wagyu that is bred in the US or elsewhere.
The cattle of Japan have been monitored closely for over a hundred years, and cows are often traced not only by breed but by bloodline and even location.
The most common breed of cattle that produces Wagyu is the Japanese Black, or Kuroge Washu, which makes up roughly 80% of all Wagyu cattle.
The reason for this breeds dominance is that it allows the best marbling, and is the only breed that can produce the highest grade of meat according to the Japanese Meat Grading Association. These are known as grades A4 and A5 .
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Modern Japanese Wagyu A Brief History
Despite being considered fullblood or purebred, the four Wagyu cattle breeds of today are a result of the crossing of native Japanese cattle with the imported breeds Brown Swiss, Devon, Shorthorn, Simmental, Ayrshire, and Korean cattle between 1868 and 1910.
This cross-breeding gave these grass-eating working herds better health, endurance, longevity of life, more genetic vigor and made for a stronger working animal.
Due to the Japanese Buddhist belief that humans could be reincarnated as animals and the Shinto belief that dead animals left the body with impurities, for many centuries, the eating of meat from four-legged animals including Wagyu beef cattle was illegal with the Japanese population eating fish as its main source of protein.
It was only due to food shortages and near-famine conditions in post-war Japan and the introduction of beef to school children by the American occupying forces who introduced a school program that the specific breeding of Wagyu Beef for food came into popularity.
Fast forward to the 1970s, a booming, more globalized Japanese economy was consuming more and more wagyu which pushed domestic prices ever higher.
Due to high domestic demand and a very high wagyu beef price in a roaring Japanese economy, the Japanese Government recognized the unique attributes and value of Japanese Wagyu to its rural economy, banned its export until 2012, and declared Japanese Wagyu and National treasure.
Where To Buy Wagyu Beef
Depending on your location, there are walk-in stores and butchers where you can get wagyu beef. There are a lot of online stores where you can source your wagyu beef from.
One such online store is Crowd Cow. They are the #1 provider of Japanese A5 Wagyu. And you can have your shipment in as few as 2 days!
Snake River Farms is another one of the best and most trusted sources of the best steaks online and a pioneer of American Wagyu.
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Why Is Wagyu Steak So Good
Wagyu steak is one of the trendiest and decadent dishes you can order, available only at the best restaurants.
The mystique and rarity of Wagyu is becoming more and more well known, and as it becomes more sought after, more people are wondering just why is Wagyu steak so good? What makes it better than other steak cuts?
Difference Between Wagyu Beef And Kobe Beef
Many people confuse the two. Put simply, Kobe beef is Wagyu cattle that is specifically born, raised, and slaughtered in the Hyogo prefecture, of which Kobe is the capital and largest city.
Kobe beef must meet specific breeding and grading guidelines of A4 to A5 only before it can finally be given a Kobe Beef certificate which in turn allows this type of wagyu beef price to reach astronomical figures.
Due to interference in Wagyu pricing and Wagyu cattle counterfeit certificates, the government of Kobe has gone to great lengths to prove authenticity by maintaining an online database of where its Kobe beef is sold around the world.
Another more recent form of Wagyu is Olive Wagyu from the Japanese island called Shodoshima where their Wagyu breeds are fed a bizarre mixture of Olive oil by-products and grains which is used to fatten the animals.
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What Makes Wagyu So Unique
A purebred Japanese Black, Brown, Shorthorn or Japanese Polled breed has a natural genetic makeup whereby its fat is stored internally within its muscles giving a high marbling throughout versus mostly on the outside of the muscle as a fat cap on other beef cattle breeds and what you would see on a typical New York Strip side fat cap for example.
Due to the high level of natural marbling, the meat texture is extremely fine making for a very soft buttery mouthfeel when eating.
The high fat marbling to meat ratio also gives the wagyu beef steak a very low melting point which is in fact lower than human body temperature requiring only quick sear and just season the steak with salt.
Better Wagyu Feeding And Conditions
While some questionable Japanese style cattle feeding practices have been adopted, it is encouraging to note, many wagyu beef suppliers in Britain and Australia, in particular, have recognized and respect that Wagyu cattle are ruminant animals and treat them as such.
These Wagyu beef farmers have successfully begun to allow their wagyu pure and cross breeds to live and feed naturally on grass as they once did on open pastures and on an exclusive grass-fed diet yielding great flavor and surprisingly good marbling
Greater than 50% wagyu genetic content. 1st generation crossbreeding with a fullblood wagyu sire
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Inside The World Of Japanese Beef
Weve gone to great lengths to bring you this A5 Wagyu sourced directly from farms in Kagoshima, Japan.
In the course of our travels, we visited producers in three regions of Japan, including Hyogo prefecture, where we met with producers who raise animals for Kobe Beef, and witnessed a carcass rating ceremony which is how A5 Wagyu is ranked.
Like everything we do at Crowd Cow, our intention is always to find the very best beef producers we can, and to work directly with them to bring more transparency and convenience than is offered anywhere else.