How Much Is Wagyu Beef? A Comprehensive Guide For All Meat Lovers
April 25, 202310 min read
Even in the meat world, you will find that some cuts are only eaten as luxuries because of how expensive they are. Wagyu beef is one such meat because of the melt-in-the-mouth texture that will keep you coming for more. However, not everyone can afford it because of the high prices depending on where you are buying it from.
So, if you want to know how much is Wagyu beef for, you are in the right place. Here is a comprehensive guide for anyone that loves meat to understand the pricing.
How Much Is Wagyu Beef?
The price of the Wagyu beef you purchase will depend on the type and grade of meat you have bought. It can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000 for each pound. However, this depends on what grade and type you select for the meat.
For example, the most expensive cuts of Wagyu beef can cost you more than $200 per pound. That is because the demand for such meat is really high, and the supply is limited. Japanese Wagyu beef will always be more expensive because this is where most of such beef is produced.
On the other hand, America also produces Wagyu, but the prices are much lower than that in Japan. That is because a premium piece of American Wagyu beef can cost you between $50 and $100. However, if you want to settle for an even lower grade, then it can cost you between $30 and $50 per pound.
This is why it is important to know the type of Wagyu beef you are buying. The cut of the meat will also determine the price. For example, a ground beef patty of Wagyu beef will have a much lower price than that of a prime ribeye steak.
Wagyu Beef And Its History Explained
If you are wondering why meat is so expensive and prized, then you need to understand the history behind it. The origins of Wagyu beef lie in Japan, where these cattle have been raised for hundreds of years by now. So, for example, the first ever record of this type of beef can date back to the 2nd Century AD.
During this time, the farmers in Japan were plowing their rice fields using oxen. As time kept on passing, the farmers decided it was time to selectively breed these cattle for the meat. Through experimentation and mistakes, they developed the Wagyu breed of beef.
This type of beef comes from the Wagyu cattle, and it has a unique genetic makeup that you will not find in regular beef. That is because this breed produced a significant amount of intramuscular fat, which in laymen's terms is known as marbling. When you take a bite of this meat, you will understand this because it provides it with a slice of meat that just melts in your mouth.
It was during the twentieth century when the Japanese government decided it was time to promote this type of meat to the rest of the world. By the time it was 1930, Wagyu was the most prominent cattle breed in the country. Then, by the end of the twentieth century, this meat started gaining popularity outside Japan.
So, it was exported to countries such as America that also began working on their own version of the Wagyu beef. Now, most of the Wagyu beef comes from Japan. However, other countries also produce their own version, which includes Canada, USA, and Australia.
The production process of Wagyu beef is incredibly controlled and careful. That is because the farmers have to give the cattle ideal conditions so that the meat has all the characteristics that make it unique. There are also various regulations in place for this meat so that it reaches the highest standards.
So, if you want to understand how this beef is produced, here is what you need to know about:
Choosing The Right Cattle
It is crucial for farmers to choose the right cattle for this type of beef. For example, you will notice that in Japan, only purebred Wagyu cattle are used for raising. There are also regulations that the farmers have to meet in terms of the health, weight, and size of the cattle.
If such standards are not met, then the cattle will not be used for Wagyu beef. However, the process doesn’t end here because after selecting, the farmers have to make sure that they raise it right.
Raising The Cattle
After selecting the right cattle, it is time for the farmers to raise them in the best conditions. Remember that these cattle are raised in a specific manner to make sure you get the best meat. For example, such cattle are only raised in small groups so that the farmers can provide individual attention to every member of the cattle.
Besides that, Wagyu beef cattle have a certain diet that is full of nutrients they need to grow well. Such nutrients are crucial because they boost the production of fat and marbling in the beef. The farmers also make sure that the cattle have enough space to move from one place to another.
Movement is not restricted in these farms because the more the cattle move, the healthier they are, and the less stress they go through. You might not know this, but if an animal is stressed, then its meat can become less flavorful and tough.
It takes a long time for the farmers to raise the cattle and produce it in the right way. First, the process is usually slow because the beef can take at least three years to reach maturity levels. Then, once the cattle are ready, the farmers inspect the meat, and they are graded based on the quality once they have met certain standards.
What Makes Wagyu Beef Unique?
Now that you know the history and production process, you might still wonder why this type of beef is highly prized and unique. There are a few features that make this meat one of the best you will find in the world. Here are some of the features that make this type of beef unique:
1. High Marbling Level
One of the most distinctive features of Wagyu beef is that it has a significant amount of marbling on the meat. In simple terms, this means that the fat veins are distributed throughout the meat, making it soft and juicy. That is why when you take a bite of this meat, you will immediately notice the rich flavor and buttery texture.
Most people eat Wagyu beef because of the marbling level of the meat. The fat content has a texture that will melt in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. So, don't forget to try it out if you love some fat in your meat.
2. The Flavor
The beef would not have been as popular as it is now if the flavor was lacking in any way. When you eat Wagyu beef, you will realize that you are consuming meat with a nutty, buttery, and rich flavor that will keep you coming back for more. Such a flavor is also the result of the high-fat levels in the meat.
The fat is there to add more complexity, richness, and depth to the meat. You will only understand the flavor we are referring to when you indulge in the finest Wagyu beef of your choice.
If you have ever eaten an overdone piece of meat, you know it becomes difficult to chew, and the experience is not good at all. This is also a problem with cheap cuts of beef that don't offer you the tenderness you need. However, Wagyu beef is incredibly tender because of how the cattle have been genetically created and raised.
For example, the muscles of this type of cattle are not used in heavy tasks. Because of this, the meat remains tender even after you cook it. Therefore, the people that raise these cattle have to provide the ideal conditions for this meat so it can be as tender and flavorful as possible.
Japanese Wagyu Beef Vs. American: The Differences You Need To Know
Depending on where the Wagyu beef is being produced, the quality and taste will differ. While there are many similar traits between American and Japanese Wagyu beef, there are also many differences you need to account for. Here are some of the top differences to help you understand this meat better:
One of the main differences you will find between Japanese and American Wagyu beef is the in which cattle production happens. For example, Japanese farmers raise cattle in small groups and provide them with various nutrients while offering them ample space. The same is not true for American Wagyu beef.
That is because American farmers raise these cattle in large herds, which means each animal doesn't get individual attention. The diet is still highly nutritious, but what is included in the diet will vary from what the cattle are fed in Japan. Keep in mind that Japanese farmers use many treatments for cattle that help them reduce stress.
The same is not as true for American Wagyu beef; as such individual level of attention and care is not provided. Because of this, Japanese Wagyu beef will always be more expensive.
Perhaps the most prominent difference between American and Japanese Wagyu beef is the genetic makeup of the cattle. Japan has high standards and regulations for this beef, which is why the cattle are purebred. The farmers selectively breed these cattle to ensure a high level of fat.
On the other hand, you will notice that American farmers crossbreed Wagyu beef with other types of breeds. These include breeds that include Hereford, Angus, and many others. This is why you will feel a noticeable difference when you compare Japanese and American Wagyu beef.
Because of the strict regulations and care that Japanese farmers follow for the cattle, it will always be more expensive than American Wagyu beef. The pricing can range between a few hundred dollars to over a thousand for Japanese Wagyu. American Wagyu is relatively more affordable.
So, if you are on a budget but still want to enjoy a slice of high-quality meat, then you can opt for the American Wagyu beef. Once you do, you will enjoy the marbled taste and rich texture.
The final difference between American and Japanese Wagyu beef is the grading system. Such a system is in place to ensure the quality of the meat and evaluate it in the correct manner. For example, it is usually graded on a scale between one and five, where five is the highest grade.
There are various factors that are taken into account when grading the meat. This includes firmness, color, marbling, and much more. The USDA is the regulatory body that grades meat in America. Because of this, the highest grade of American Wagyu beef will be Prime or higher.
American Prime Wagyu beef means that the meat is highly tender and marbled. It is crucial to select the right grade, depending on the quality of the Wagyu beef you would prefer.
Is American Wagyu Worth It?
By now, you probably think that Japanese Wagyu beef is the way to go. However, not everyone will be able to afford it. This is why you can also consider American Wagyu beef as your top choice.
Here are some of the top reasons that this type of beef is also worth the money you spend on it:
The top reason why this Wagyu beef is worth it is because of the texture and flavoring of the meat. It might not be as great as Japanese Wagyu, but it will still melt in your mouth on the first bite. Besides that, it also offers the same tenderness and rich flavor as its Japanese counterpart.
This is why many people that don't have the money and still want to enjoy a great texture and flavor opt for the American Wagyu beef instead of the Japanese. The beef is high-quality and will cost you a fraction of the price of Japanese Wagyu beef, so don't forget to try it out.
2. The Pricing
The price is perhaps one of the biggest factors that make American Wagyu worth it. That is because not everyone wants to pay hundreds of dollars for a slice of good meat. Instead, the American Wagyu beef can cost anywhere between $50 and $100 or above, depending on the cut and grade.
So, if you want to treat yourself to high-quality meat without breaking the bank too much, then you can opt for this type of meat. It will be worth it to shell out some money to treat yourself to high-quality meat.
3. Unique Experience
There are many types of meat you will find in the market, but most of them are affordable and don't offer something unique. However, having American Wagyu beef is a unique culinary experience that you might not get anywhere else. This is why it will be worth it for people looking for this factor.
You can go to a fancy restaurant in your region that specializes in this meat for a unique experience you will not find in any other meat. The flavor, texture, and everything else will be a treat to your taste buds. So, it will be worth it for you if you want to experience all of this without breaking the bank.
Where To Try American Wagyu Beef To Satisfy Your Cravings
If you want to spend some money and treat yourself, here are some top places where you can try American Wagyu beef:
Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres: The restaurant is located in Las Vegas and has a meat experience you will not find anywhere else. This includes Wagyu beef tartare, Wagyu steak, and more.
Alexander’s Steakhouse: This steakhouse is one of the best restaurants for you to try various Wagyu dishes. These include a tasting menu for Wagyu beef and ribeye.
The Capital Grille: The steakhouse is a little upscale, and it has various locations throughout the country. You will find a Wagyu bone-in ribeye, burger, and much more here.
These are the places where you can enjoy Wagyu beef made in the best way possible. If you want to purchase this meat to make on your own, then places such as Costco, Snake River Farms, and many others specialize in American Wagyu beef.
That was everything you needed to know about the American Wagyu beef, how much it costs, and where you can get it from. If you want to splurge and treat yourself to a slice of high-quality meat, then you can consider this option. It will provide you with delicious meat that you will remember for a long time to come.