It’s one of the most expensive types of meat in the world, but does Wagyu beef taste different from regular beef?
Wagyu beef has a more succulent and ‘umami’ taste than regular beef, owing to a unique distribution of melt-in-the-mouth fat through the meat. Wagyu reportedly has an intense meaty taste which, depending on the cut and cook style, can be leagues ahead of regular beef.
Read on to learn more about Wagyu beef, and how it differs from regular beef.
The Ultimate Cut
There is apparently no finer cut of beef in the world than Wagyu. When translated, it means ‘Japanese cattle’, and it’s the most expensive beef money can buy.
Wagyu beef can fetch prices of up to two-hundred dollars per pound. The cost of a single steak prepared in a restaurant is staggering but almost certainly worth it.
When critics describe the experience of eating Wagyu, they do so in an almost poetic manner. There are mentions of a golden crust, intense meaty flavors, overwhelming tenderness, and buttery-soft fat.
Of course, how the steak is prepared, cut, and accompanied makes a huge difference to the taste. This is the same with regular beef, but Wagyu allegedly has a need to be treated with much more care.
In TheTakeout in 2018, a writer explains how he took a two-hundred and fifty dollar Wagyu steak and prepared it in numerous ways. He joked that the ‘love affair’ he had with the meat over the course of five days almost cost him his family.
He explained that he was informed by the butcher to not grill the steak, as the fat would literally pour out of the meat. After his first method, smoking, he wrote that he was, “… enveloped in pure, melting rhapsody.”
Most dramatically, the writer prepared the Wagyu as a carpaccio – meat in raw form. He simply applied olive oil, salt, and pepper, and served the meat totally uncooked.
He summed this up by writing, “It was like magic.”
Healthy and Wealthy
Reportedly, Wagyu beef is the best beef in the world for more reasons than just its taste. It contains up to three hundred percent more monounsaturated fat than normal beef.
This is due to the impressive and unique marbling of the fat in the meat. It also boasts dramatically high levels of omega 3 and 6.
However, despite the fats present, Wagyu beef actually has the lowest cholesterol count of any meat. This includes lean meats like chicken or turkey.
Ultimately, it’s the marbling of the fat that makes for a tender and flavorsome cut. It’s Wagyu that holds the undisputed top spot for the highest marbling score of any beef in the world.
Although, Wagyu certainly isn’t cheap by any means. As we’ve mentioned, you can pay up to two-hundred and fifty dollars for a single A5-graded steak.
The cost of a single Wagyu cow can be as much as thirty thousand dollars. This is around ten times the cost of a standard cow.
It doesn’t end there, though.
The top-end of the Wagyu stakes is reserved for Kobe, a type of Wagyu meat that is the most highly-prized.
This intensely exclusive meat is almost prohibited from being served anywhere other than Japan. However, there is a handful of restaurants around the United States that offer the succulent meat.
Kobe beef is even more exclusive than Wagyu because of the regulations that surround it. It can only come from the Tajima-Gyu cattle raised in the Hyogo prefecture in Japan.
This makes it much rarer than standard Wagyu, and therefore much more expensive.
The Tajima-Gyu is raised under strict regulations that impact its diet, treatment, and preparation. They’re reportedly fed a unique diet that features sake (Japanese rice wine) or beer.
Allegedly, Kobe beef makes up “… the creamiest, most decadent, most flavorful streaks of fat a steak can have.” You’ll have to work hard to sample it though, as only three thousand Tajima-Gyu cattle qualify as Kobe every year.
These levels of rarity have led to many instances of deception throughout the years. There are countless outlets in the world that will offer Kobe burgers or steaks, despite them not being authentic Kobe meat.
If you’d like to sample the delicacy that is Wagyu beef, you can reportedly have it shipped to your door. Alternatively, you can visit one of the few locations in the United States that offer it.
For the best experience possible, you’ll need to hop on a flight to Japan.