What Makes Wagyu Beef Expensive: Facts and Origin

Jul 02, 2020 08:00 AM EDT | By Staff Reporter (staff@foodworldnews.com)

Wagyu Beef
(Photo : Pixabay)

Every meat lover would know and identify a Wagyu beef when they see one. Wagyu beef is one of the most expensive meats in the world, and it is the most expensive meat in Japan. In this article, we will tackle why Wagyu beef is so precious and what makes it one of the best meats in the whole world. 

What is Wagyu beef?

Wagyu beef is a particular type of meat that comes from a breed of beef cattle in Japan. It is also commonly called as Japanese Wagyu because of its origin. According to Alicia Rooker, one of Taste of Home's editor, Wagyu came from Japanese backgrounds pertaining to "cow". 

Wagyu Beef
(Photo : Pixabay)

What makes Wagyu beef exquisite and distinct from other types of meat is because of its tie-dyed-like marbling. When you cut a slice of Wagyu beef, you can see so many white and red lines marbled altogether. The white ones are the intra-muscular fat cells of the cow. It is also the same one that makes the meat taste richer, juicier, and more tender compared to other steak or meat cuts from other cattle breeds. 

When you bite in a Wagyu beef that is cooked at low temperatures, it will provide a rich and buttery flavor that will keep your mouth with inevitably indulge. The fat in the Wagyu beef also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are good fats that can be processed in our body. 

Why is Wagyu beef so expensive?

In Japan, Wagyu breeds have four types. There is the Japanese Black, which is the type of Wagyu meat being shipped and sold in the United States. Second, there is the Japanese Brown, which is also called as Red Wagyu by the Americans. Lastly, there is the Japanese Shorthorn. 

Wagyu Beef
(Photo : Pixabay)

According to Rooker, Japan is stringent when it comes to its regulation in Wagyu beef production. They are very keen on the production and progeny testing is highly necessary. The screening will determine that people will be getting the highest quality of meat. The higher the quality of the flesh, the higher the price. 

The United States was lucky enough to get Wagyu cattle in the years 1976 and 1977, which is before Japan banned the cattle export. Although the Japanese government has stopped trading, the generation of the Wagyu cattle left in the United States is still in production. 

In a year, there are more and more American ranchers that raise Wagyu cattle domestically. With the proper cattle registration, Wagyu cattle production increases an impressive 400 percent over the past five years. 

The difference between Wagyu and Kobe beef

Some people mistakenly think Wagyu and Kobe beef are the same, but they are not. Although they have a lot of similarities, they differ in levels and strains. For Wagyu, it has many strains, but as for Kobe beef, it only comes from the Tajima-Gyu strain. 

Kobe beef is rarer, thus, making it more expensive compared to Wagyu beef. Every year, there are only about 3,000 cattle that can only qualify as an authentic Kobe cattle. The rarity of the product is mainly the reason why such can be very expensive. 

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