Wagyu beef has been around for centuries across Asia, but it was only recently brought to America where it became popular among chefs looking for something new.
But what exactly is Wagyu beef?
And how can you use it to make your own steak?
What Are The Different Types Of Wagyu Steak?
In short, Wagyu beef comes from Japanese cattle raised on traditional Japanese farms.
The cows are fed rice, barley, and green tea as they grow up, which helps them gain weight more quickly than other breeds.
They also receive special attention during their growth process so that their muscles develop evenly with no excess fat or sinewy appearance.
When ready to be slaughtered, the animals are given an electric shock before being bled out via a machine known as an “electric knife”.
Finally, the meat is hung upside down in order to fully drain off any remaining blood prior to cooking.
Due to these processes, Wagyu beef tends to have a higher percentage of marbling (i.e., fat) compared to most other steaks.
This makes it one of the tastiest meats available today.
However, there are several varieties of Wagyu beef available depending on region and breed.
Here we will take a look at some of the many options currently available.
If you live within driving distance of Japan, Kobe Beef is probably the first thing that pops into mind when thinking about Wagyu beef.
It originates from the city of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.
Traditionally known as a place where beef culture thrived, this city is home to numerous restaurants serving dishes using Kobe beef.
The beef itself is produced by two companies, Nihon-Seiryu and Maruyama-Shinko.
While both brands produce top quality beef, the latter company produces the highest grade, meaning that its meat contains the least amount of intramuscular fat (also called marbling).
As such, it is considered superior to the former brand.
You may find Kobe beef served in various ways including sashimi, grilled, and broiled.
However, we recommend trying it sliced thinly over a bed of arugula topped with a splash of soy sauce, a sprinkling of sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Another variety of Wagyu beef is Chateaubriand steak, which is named after French aristocrat Jean Antoine Albufera de Champlain who traveled to Japan in 1788 and fell in love with the local cuisine.
It is believed that he introduced the cut back to France after his travels, though the exact source remains unknown.
Today, the cut is still commonly used in high end restaurants across Europe and North America due to its delicate flavor profile and tender texture.
You can prepare this steak in just five simple steps.
- Remove the outer layer of silver skin from the loin area
- Season the steak with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper
- Heat a skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sear the meat without burning
- Place the steak in the pan and let cook 3 minutes per side, flipping once halfway through
- Once cooked, remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain
Roasting is another way to enjoy Wagyu beef. In fact, this method is often preferred by those living outside of Japan.
Sirloin roasts tend to be leaner than ribeye or filet mignon roasts because they contain less muscle mass overall.
As such, if you prefer a bit more chewiness, a sirloin roast should do the trick!
To prepare one, start by trimming away all visible fat, then season the meat properly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Next, rub butter onto the surface of the meat while heating a cast iron skillet on low heat.
Once hot, add one tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, followed by half of the meat slices.
Cook each slice for 4 minutes per side, turning once halfway through.
After removing the meat from the pan, place it on a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil.
Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
Perhaps the easiest way to enjoy Wagyu beef is by preparing a Filet Mignon roast.
While not technically classified as a type of Wagyu beef, this cut comes from a specific part of the cow’s leg.
That said, the name refers to the fact that it resembles a filet mignon steak.
To prepare one, start by trimming off all visible fat, then season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Next, rub 1/4 cup of clarified butter onto the surface of the meat while heating a cast iron skillet on low heat.
When the oil starts to bubble, add the meat slices to the pan.
Cook each slice for 3 minutes per side, flipping once halfway through.
Once removed from the pan, wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, unwrap the meat and lightly brush with additional clarified butter.
What Are The Best Cuts Of Wagyu Steak?
The most common type of Wagyu available today comes from Japanese cattle raised on high-quality feed.
The animals grow up eating grasses and grains as well as being fed an abundance of protein supplements, which makes them incredibly strong.
Most of these steaks come from cows between 6 months and 2 years old.
These steers tend to be quite large at about 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) or more.
The meat itself is extremely tender due to its age and size.
It also tends to have a very rich flavor thanks to the amount of fat that’s present throughout the muscle fibers.
In addition to this, many people look for specific characteristics when buying Wagyu meat such as marbling, intramuscular fat content, and graininess.
Marbling refers to the presence of white streaks within the muscles while intramuscular fat content refers to the percentage of fat found inside the muscle cells themselves rather than outside of them.
Graininess refers to the texture of the meat after cooking.
While this term isn’t specifically used with Wagyu, it’s often associated with good quality meats like ribeye.
Another characteristic worth mentioning is the color of the meat.
Many think that dark red meat has higher value, especially if it comes from older animals.
However, Wagyu doesn’t always come out red because some breeds actually produce much darker meat than others.
So don’t assume just based off of the color!
With all of these qualities in mind, there are two main areas of the cow that contain lots of Wagyu.
One of these is the loin, which includes the tenderloin, strip loins, and sirloin roasts.
Another is the short loin, which contains the top round roast and bottom round roast.
Both of these parts of the cow give you great tasting meat without having to pay too much money for it.
Tenderloin and short loin are usually cut into medallions, so they’re perfect for any steakhouse meal.
Rib Eye Steak
If you want to get a little fancier, you might try getting a rib eye steak instead.
Rib eyes are taken from the shoulder region of the animal, along with the short ribs.
They are known for their incredible taste and tenderness.
If you’ve never had rib eye before, we highly recommend trying one out yourself!
How Do You Cook Wagyu Steak?
Wagyu beef comes from Japanese cattle which were originally bred by farmers for their milk yield.
These cows have long horns with thick skin and meat that’s extremely tender and tasty.
It takes about one year before the cow reaches its full potential as a milk producer.
The meat on these cows is considered premium and very expensive due to the high demand and limited supply.
In fact, there’s so much demand, farmers often need to wait up to three years just to get enough animals to meet the demand.
While most people buy wagyu steaks at restaurants or butcher shops, some home cooks may be able to find them directly from ranchers who raise them.
If this isn’t possible, you can always purchase Wagyu ground beef online.
Another option is to order Wagyu from specialty retailers like Amazon Prime Now.
But if you want to learn more about the history behind Wagyu beef, read our article titled “Why Do People Cook Wagon Yuck Beef?”
Buying Wagyu Steak Online
If you don’t know anyone who raises wagyu, you can still find great deals on Wagyu beef online.
You might even be able to find Wagyu ground beef for sale since many producers sell both whole muscle and ground meats.
To ensure you’re getting quality Wagyu, look for the USDA organic seal on any product you purchase.
Also, look for the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) mark because CAB products come from registered herds of Angus cattle.
As far as price goes, fresh Wagyu steaks will typically cost between $5-$10 per pound depending on when they were purchased.
Frozen Wagyu steaks tend to cost less than fresh ones, but they should still be priced higher than other cuts of beef.
Cooking Wagyu Steak
Once you have your Wagyu steak cut out, you’ll need to decide whether to grill or broil it.
Both methods work well, though broiling tends to produce a slightly better sear while grilling gives off more smoke.
You also have two options for cooking Wagyu steak.
The first method involves placing the steak on an oiled pan over medium-high heat until it starts to brown.
Once the edges begin to turn brown, flip the steak and repeat the process on the second side.
Repeat this step until the steak is done through.
A total of eight minutes for each side works perfectly.
Alternatively, you could place the steak on a rack set inside a roasting dish then cover it with foil.
Place the dish into a preheated 450 degree F oven and let the steak roast for 15 to 20 minutes per side.
Afterward, remove the steak from the oven and slice it thinly against the grain.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Wagyu Steak?
The name “Wagyu” comes from Japan, where it originated as an animal bred for its fatty meat.
The breed itself is a cross between Japanese Black cattle and American Angus cows, and it accounts for about 80% of all beef consumed in Japan today.
It’s also known for being extremely tender due to its high fat content.
In fact, one pound of Wagyu contains up to twice the amount of fat than regular beef.
This makes it ideal for people who want to lose weight or eat healthier by cutting down on their intake of saturated fats.
But it’s not just health-conscious consumers that benefit from eating Wagyu—it can be used to create some of the most mouthwatering dishes ever tasted!
Wagyu is often sold at higher prices than other types of beef because of its unique flavor profile.
It’s also more costly since it takes longer to raise compared to other breeds of cattle.
As a result, it’s usually reserved for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
1. High quality protein
One of the reasons why Wagyu is so expensive is because it provides a lot more protein per serving than standard beef.
A 1/4 pound steak will provide over 20 grams of protein, which is almost double the recommended daily allowance (RDA) set by the Institute of Medicine.
When eaten with vegetables, this translates to roughly 100 calories less than a typical meal without any loss of taste or texture.
If you need even more protein, try adding eggs to your meals instead.
Eggs contain 18 grams of protein per egg, making them a great way to meet RDA requirements if you don’t have enough time to prepare food.
2.Rich in omega 3 fatty acids
Another reason why Wagyu is such a sought after cut is because of its high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
PUFA is found naturally in fish oil, but when ingested through food, they help reduce bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.
A 4 ounce portion of Wagyu steak will give you nearly 15 percent of your daily requirement of Omega 3 fatty acids, which works out to approximately 2 tablespoons of salmon.
Compared to other cuts of meat, Wagyu gets a huge boost in Omega 6 fatty acid levels too.
While a lot of Americans already get plenty of omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil supplements, there’s no substitute for real food.
Eating small portions regularly keeps blood glucose levels low and reduces inflammation throughout the body.
Many people think Wagyu isn’t very tasty because of its rich flavor, but we disagree.
While it may take a little extra effort to find the right ingredients for cooking Wagyu steaks, once you master the technique, you won’t regret trying it again.
For instance, you might choose to marinate the steak before grilling it to add depth to the flavor.
Another option would be to sear the steak briefly on each side before finishing it off under the broiler.
Both methods work well, but whichever method you prefer depends on your preferences.
What Are The Different Flavors Of Wagyu Steak?
To understand the difference between Wagyu steaks, we have to look at the breed itself.
The Japanese cattle known as Wagyu are descended from Korean black cows that roamed freely in Japan’s Gobi Desert during ancient times.
These hardy creatures were able to survive on little water or food due to their ability to go without sleep.
They also had strong legs with large hooves, allowing them to run long distances before slowing down to graze.
These traits made them excellent fighters and hunters who could easily outrun wild animals and other predators.
The Japanese began selecting these cows with these qualities over time.
Their offspring were used to produce milk and meat which eventually led to the creation of the now-famous Wagyu cow.
Today, Wagyu cattle live mainly in Hokkaido, Japan, and the United States.
As you might expect, there are several different types of Wagyu beef depending on its location and breeding program.
Here are some of the most common varieties:
- Hokkaido: Originating from northern Japan, this Wagyu beef comes from dairy farms located near Mount Fuji. It is considered one of the best breeds for making Kobe beef, another famous type of Japanese beef.
- Kobe Beef: From the same region as Hokkaido, Kobe beef is often referred to as “the king of beef” because of its high quality taste. Its name derives from the city of Kobe, Hyogo prefecture, Japan.
- Akita: This variety originates from Akita Prefecture and produces tender cuts like sirloin and rib eye.
- Nisei: Nisei, or second generation, Wagyu are raised by farmers in Hokkaido, Japan. This particular breed is well known for producing a very lean cut called the strip loin.
- Shibuto: Shibuya is a village in Tokyo, Japan, home to the Shibutonji Temple which features an annual festival dedicated to Shiba Inu dogs. The temple’s shrine houses a statue of a dog believed to be descended from the original Shiba Inu that lived in the area hundreds of years ago.
If you want to learn more about Wagyu beef, check out our guide to Wagyu beef recipes here!
Why does Wagyu beef taste so good?
One of the main reasons why Wagyu beef tastes so great is because of the way they’re fed.
While many other breeds eat grasses, Hayashi Farms, a company based in California, feeds their cattle corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and barley.
This diet allows the cattle to grow quickly while giving them access to all essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
It also helps reduce fat content, resulting in a much higher percentage of lean meat than normal beef.
Because of this change in feeding practices, American Wagyu steers weigh up to 2,000 pounds compared to other breeds which average 1,200 pounds.
That means Wagyu steaks are far larger and thicker than regular beef.
Another reason why Wagyu beef tastes better than normal beef is because of its unique flavor profile.
To create this flavor, farmers add marbling throughout the muscle tissue, along with a special seasoning that gives the meat extra depth.
What Is The History Of Wagyu Steak?
Wagyu cattle originated from Japan over 2,000 years ago as an answer to the country’s growing population problem.
The Japanese government encouraged farmers to breed their cows with other breeds so they could produce more milk.
However, this resulted in fewer calves being born, because the cows were producing less milk than usual.
As a result, farmers started breeding their cows with buffalo or yak instead.
But these two animals had certain physical limitations which made them unsuitable for dairy production.
The Japanese government then decided to import foreign cattle into their country to solve the issue of low calf birth rates.
They imported European cattle including Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, and Tarentaise, along with American Holsteins and Ayrshire.
All of these crossbreeds had similar characteristics such as strength and low fat content, making them suitable for milking.
However, some of the imported breeds did not have enough endurance to survive on farms due to high humidity in the tropical climate.
So, the government also imported British shorthorn and Jersey breeds that were better suited to living in hot climates.
These three types of cattle eventually became known as “native Japanese cattle” (known as Nihon-zu) and have since become one of the most prized meats in the world.
In Japan, people have traditionally served only Nihon-zu meat at weddings.
In fact, there even exists a festival dedicated solely to celebrating the culture surrounding Wagyu beef called “Nihon no Kyaraben.”
How Do You Choose A Wagyu Steak?
Traditionally, Wagyu beef comes from Japanese cattle raised on farms with very specific diet requirements.
The cows are fed a special mix of grains, vegetables, and soybeans to promote their growth rate as well as their marbling content.
The best cuts come from these animals which have an extremely high fat content, making them tender and juicy.
They also contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and B12, and minerals like iron, selenium, zinc, and copper, all of which contribute to the flavor and texture of this meat.
While there is no one standard definition of “Japanese” or “American” Wagyu beef, most experts agree that any cow raised under these conditions will yield superior steaks.
With so many different varieties available today, choosing the right cut for your meal can be confusing.
Fortunately, there are some simple guidelines to help guide your selection.
What Is The Difference Between Wagyu Steak And Other Steak?
The first thing to know about Wagyu beef is that there isn’t one “type” of Wagyu.
It comes from different breeds of cattle depending on its region of origin.
In Japan, they have been breeding their cows since the Edo period (1603-1867).
There are three main types of Wagyu steaks:
- Kobe Beef – The original Kobe beef is produced by crossing Japanese Black and native Japanese short horn cattle with American Angus stock. This breed produces high quality meat with an extremely marbled fat profile.
- Akita Beef – Akitas are a crossbreed of black and red humped cows which originated from North America. They were imported into Japan during World War II.
- Takayama Beef – Takayamas were developed in the 1980s as hybrids of Shiba and Nellore. These cows produce excellent marbling throughout the muscle mass and also produce a fatty white layer called the Tenderloin.
In addition to these three breeds, many others exist and are used for various purposes.
For example, the Yakiniku cut is made from Wagyu with a thick layer of fat covering the entire surface of the steak.
As another example, Wagyu is often combined with other breeds such as Ayrshire or Simmental to create hybrid crosses known as Wagyubred.
Why does Wagyu taste so good?
When most people think of Wagyu steak, they usually envision a highly prized delicacy served at expensive restaurants.
But this is far from true.
Wagyu is not exclusive to top tier dining establishments.
You can find Wagyu burgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, and even pizza topped with Wagyu.
So why is Wagyu so special? What makes it taste so good?
One major factor is genetics.
Wagyu is a very specific type of cow that possesses certain characteristics that allow them to grow incredibly large without having any issues with weight gain.
Because of this, when they reach market age, they will be much larger than normal cows and therefore have more fat content than regular cows.
This means that Wagyu steaks contain more fat than most cuts of beef.
Another key ingredient to Wagyu flavor is the marbling found within the fat tissue.
Marbling is caused by small veins filled with blood vessels that run through the beef.
When marbling occurs in a particular area of the meat, it creates pockets of rich flavors due to the concentration of protein and fats found in those areas.
Finally, when cooking Wagyu steak, don’t forget to sear the outside before you start cooking the inside.
By doing this, you will ensure that all of the juices stay on the exterior while the interior remains tender.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Wagyu Steak?
Steak contains high amounts of protein, which is essential for building muscle mass.
It also provides important nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.
These nutrients help build healthy muscles and bones, improve digestion, and support overall wellness.
It’s no surprise then that eating well-prepared steak is linked with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
In fact, there’s enough evidence to suggest that consuming more than 200 grams (7 ounces) per week of red meat may be associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease and stroke.
However, this doesn’t mean that all types of red meats should be avoided entirely.
The American Heart Association recommends choosing lean cuts of red meat such as boneless rib eye or tenderloin when possible.
In addition, they recommend limiting processed meats, since these contain nitrates and preservatives that have been shown to increase blood pressure.
If you’re not ready to give up all red meat, though, here are a few tips on selecting healthier options:
- Choose grass-fed over grain-fed beef, which means the cattle were raised without antibiotics and hormones.
- Look for “USDA Prime” labels when purchasing ground meat—this ensures that the meat came from animals fed according to USDA standards.
- Check out the fat content before buying steaks. A 3 ounce serving of meat should contain less than 10% total fat.
- When cooking at home, buy smaller portions so you don’t end up eating too much.
What Are Some Of The Best Wagyu Steak Recipes?
Wagyu meat is known as Kobe or Japanese beef.
It’s an incredibly rich cut of meat that comes from cows raised on farms in Japan.
The breed of cow used most often is called Black Angus – which means the animal is black with white markings.
The cattle are fed mostly grasses and grains, along with a little soy, and they are also given supplements including vitamins B12 and D3.
They have to be moved frequently so their muscles don’t become too heavy.
There are two types of Wagyu steaks available today, both made from different cuts of meat.
One type is referred to as “Kobe style” because it’s closer to traditional American-style beef than other varieties.
This form of Wagyu is more expensive and harder to find compared to another variety called “American Wagyu” (or simply “Wagyu”).
You might think this difference makes sense considering the higher price tag associated with one over the other.
But there are many people who prefer the taste of American Wagyu because the flavor profile tends to lean more toward sweet, rather than savory.
To get started cooking Wagyu steaks at home, we recommend checking out our guide to making the perfect steak.
In addition to having a great steakhouse experience, these tips will help ensure your homemade steak turns out perfectly every time!
- Cast iron pan
- 16 oz Wagyu steak
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Before cooking, let your Wagyu steak rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
- On both sides, liberally season the steak with Kosher salt.
- Take your stainless steel or cast iron skillet and place it on the stovetop at medium heat. Give the pan time to heat up.
- On the entire interior of the pan, rub the fat cap surrounding the steak. In order to keep the steak from sticking, the fat will start to melt and “oil” the pan.
- Cook the steak for approximately one and a half minutes in a hot cast iron or stainless steel pan.
- When the internal temperature of the steak reaches 120 to 125 degrees for rare or 130 to 135 degrees for medium rare, flip it over and continue cooking.
- Slice into strips after 5 to 10 minutes of resting.