What Is Wagyu Beef? Here’s Everything You Must Know About This Expensive Meat!

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Have you ever found yourself at a steakhouse, perusing the menu, and you come across the term “Wagyu Beef” and wonder “What is Wagyu Beef?” Have you wondered what makes it different from other beef types and why it commands such a high price? This article will satisfy your curiosity.

What Is Wagyu Beef?

Wagyu beef refers to beef from Japanese cattle. “Wagyu” is a Japanese word that literally translates to “Japanese cow”. It represents four breeds of beef cattle: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn.

These breeds are known for their genetic predisposition to intense marbling – a term used to describe the streaks of fat interspersed within the muscle tissue. The higher the degree of marbling, the better the quality of the Japanese beef. It’s important to know where does Wagyu beef come from, too.

Picture this: imagine a Jackson Pollock painting, but instead of paint splatters, it’s intricate webs of fat crisscrossing through tender, red meat. That’s Wagyu for you! Leaning how to cook a Wagyu steak is interesting, too!

what is wagyu beef

Why is wagyu so rare?

Japanese Wagyu beef’s rarity stems from its strict and meticulous production process. In Japan, the process is governed by the Japan Meat Grading Association (JMGA), which grades the beef based on yield and meat quality. The highest quality, A5, is rarely exported, making it a prized delicacy. Wagyu cattle outside Japan are fewer, contributing to the beef’s scarcity.

Imagine being in possession of a limited-edition item, a treasure that only a few have access to. That’s what consuming Wagyu is like. A culinary treasure hunt, if you will.

The popularity of Wagyu beef is a blend of its sumptuous flavor and rarity. Its high-end appeal is also a status symbol in many societies. Wagyu beef is typically found in high-end restaurants and is often the centerpiece of the menu, signifying its prestige.

Let’s consider a scenario: You’re at a dinner party, and the host announces they’re serving Wagyu beef. Instantly, the atmosphere elevates. The anticipation, the luxury, the knowledge that you’re about to partake in a unique culinary experience—it all adds to Wagyu’s popularity.

Why is wagyu beef so expensive?


Authentic Japanese Wagyu is one of the most prized and expensive meats in the world, often costing more than $200 per pound. There are several reasons why Wagyu commands such premium pricing:

Supply Limitations – True Japanese Wagyu cattle bloodlines are rare outside Japan, constraining global supply. Raising purebred Wagyu is complex and time-intensive. Limited availability drives up costs.

Intensive Breeding – It takes skilled, meticulous breeding over generations to develop Wagyu genetics prized for flavor and marbling. This expertise makes animals more valuable.

Special Feeding – Authentic Wagyu producers invest time and money in hand-feeding cattle a nutritionally optimized diet to ensure ideal fat-marbling cows. This personalized care adds costs.

Luxury Perception – As a premium product, Wagyu has cultivated an elite luxury status which also allows it to command higher prices. Exclusivity adds cachet.

High Production Costs – With small yields per animal and artisanal production methods, overhead costs get distributed across less meat, increasing prices.

What does wagyu beef taste like?

The taste of Wagyu beef is often described as rich, buttery, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Its high degree of marbling gives it a distinct, full-bodied flavor that’s both sweet and savory.

Interestingly, this taste of Wagyu beef is pretty similar to a high-quality, tender, and juicy type of beef called Angus beef, a premium meat that originated in Scotland.

Each bite is a symphony of textures: the crisp seared exterior gives way to an exceptionally tender interior.

What Is So Special About Wagyu Beef? 4 Key Characteristics

Wagyu is renowned for its exceptional marbling, flavor, and tenderness. Here are some of the key characteristics that set Wagyu beef apart:

Extensive Marbling – The abundant marbling running through Wagyu beef is one of its distinguishing traits. Wagyu cattle have genetic predispositions for intramuscular fat, resulting in finely dispersed, delicate marbling that enhances moisture and flavor. Proper Japanese Wagyu will grade A5 or higher for the finest marbling.

Flavor Profile – The generous marbling gives Wagyu beef a remarkably rich, buttery, beefy flavor. Well-raised Wagyu will express notes of hazelnuts and fruit. The beef has a sweetness and umami that melts in your mouth. The abundant fat ensures succulent, juicy meat.

Tender Texture – Thanks to genetics, feeding practices, and ample marbling, Wagyu beef is incredibly tender. It has a fine, smooth texture almost like filet mignon. The meat cuts like butter. Even high-heat cooking yields tender results.

Healthy Fats – Despite heavy marbling, Wagyu contains high ratios of monounsaturated fats. This makes the beef better than typical highly-marbled types, while still retaining signature richness.

How To Cook Wagyu

When it comes to cooking Wagyu, less is more. The high fat content means it can cook in its own juices, without the need for added oils or butter. A hot pan, a sprinkle of salt, and a few minutes on each side are usually all it takes to prepare a perfect Wagyu steak.

How To Cook Wagyu

Think of preparing a Wagyu steak as a minimalist painting. You have a beautiful canvas (the steak), and you only need a few strokes (salt and heat) to create a masterpiece.

When it comes to seasoning, simplicity is key. A pinch of salt before cooking helps to enhance the natural flavors of the beef. And remember, Wagyu should be cooked quickly at high heat to achieve a nice sear on the outside while preserving its tenderness inside.

What To Pair With Wagyu?

Given the rich, full-bodied flavor profile of Wagyu, it’s best paired with something light and refreshing to balance it out. Simple sides like steamed vegetables, a light salad, or some sautéed mushrooms are perfect. For drinks, a robust red wine that can stand up to the richness of the beef, like a Cabernet Sauvignon, is an excellent choice.


What is wagyu beef burger?

That’s the burger with the patty made from ground Japanese beef. However, it’s a pity that the beautiful wagyu beef that could be a great steak – ends up in a grounded patty.

What is wagyu beef price?

The price of Wagyu beef varies among providers. American Wagyu beef can cost you between $50 and $100 per pound. New Zealand and Australia Wagyu being the 2nd biggest Wagyu provider has the price of $30/pound upward. And Japanese Wagyu can cost up to $200 per pound.


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