Whether it’s wagyu beef, caviar or black truffles, some people are prepared to spend a small fortune for a culinary treat. For beef aficionados, there’s nothing quite like the taste and texture of real wagyu steak. Genuine wagyu beef from Japan can command prices of up to $50 for a mere 100g. But is it worth it?
Wagyu Beef: a healthy and tasty meat
The word wagyu literally means “Japanese cow.” Wagyu beef comes from four types of cow:
- Japanese Brown
- Japanese Black
- Japanese Shorthorn
- Japanese Poll
Traditionally, sake or beer was added to the cattle's feed and, due to Japan's rugged terrain, the animals also were massaged to prevent cramps.
These breeding techniques, coupled with the cow’s DNA, produce beef that is beautifully marbled, buttery and tender. It is also healthier than commercial beef because it is higher in monounsaturated fats and contains more omega-3s.
The price of Wagyu beef
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. But if you’ve got the money and the craving, why not indulge?
Find out why wagyu is so expensive.
The Origins of Wagyu beef
Wagyu cattle originally hail from Japan, although they are now bred to varying degrees of purity around the world, including in Australia and the US.
Interestingly, not all wagyu beef can officially be called kobe. Only Japanese Black Wagyu born, raised and processed in Kobe can be considered for Kobe certification, with only 3000 cattle being certified Kobe every year. To be certified kobe the cattle must meet rigorous standards including weight, quality and more.
All Kobe cattle have a ten digit identification number that gives traceability right back to the herd and farm in which they were raised, which is a system also used by top wagyu producers in the US.
In 1976 the first wagyu beef cows were brought to the US for cross breeding with Angus cattle, these days it's rare to find real kobe in the US.