Why is wagyu so expensive: The luxurious, buttery flavor of wagyu beef, combined with the high price tag that customers digest after eating it, has contributed to the meat’s status as one of the most highly regarded luxuries in the entire globe. However, as the popularity of wagyu beef has increased, the question of whether the experience of savoring wagyu is worth breaking into your savings account has also arisen. Wagyu beef can now be found in dry-aged steaks as well as sandwiches the size of your palm. When our waitress tries to upsell us on one of their wagyu specials in the future, here are some ways that we can all be better equipped to make an informed decision about what to do.
Things to understand about Wagyu beef
The term “wagyu,” which translates to “Japanese cow,” provides a not-so-subtle suggestion that the features of the beef you are going to consume are defined by birth, as well as the birthplace of the meat. In Japan, a cow must have a biological connection to one of the four Japanese breeds to qualify for the wagyu designation: Japanese Brown, Japanese Black, Japanese Polled, and the Japanese Shorthorn. These breeds were selected primarily due to their hardiness and predisposition for marbling, which refers to the white specks of fat that are visible all thru a cut of lean pink meat.
The heritage of these breeds and the subsequent care that has been given to them are what command the highest prices. According to a report by Business Insider, the going rate for an adult cow is as high as $30,000. As is the case with many other types of luxury foods, the sky-high prices are caused in part by the scarcity of the product, the unique and memorable experience it provides to customers, and the costs that breeders must bear, such as the high cost of importing the concentrated feed that is necessary to increase the size of their bovine’s waistline.
Because of the precise feeding regimen that can persist for approximately two years before the cow is slaughtered, a cow that is raised for wagyu steak can accrue up to fifty percent of its body weight in fat before it is killed. The flavor is the determining factor in terms of return, as well as the reason why farmers, restaurants, and eventually buyers are ready to spend whatsoever amount is necessary. When the steak is grilled, the marbling fat within the steak cut dissolves into the muscle fibers, which helps the steak to keep its moisture and keep its juicy texture.
What differentiates Kobe beef from the rest?
If you’re considering what does and does not qualify as wagyu, there’s a good possibility you’ve heard of Kobe beef and might have some inquiries about it. This bloodline is generally recognized to generate an outstanding percentage of marbling and is recognized as the Tajima or Tajiri strain. All Kobe beef is wagyu and specifically comes from the Kuroge Washu breed. In addition, the cow in issue must have been born, grown, and slaughtered within the Hygo prefecture of Japan for the meat to be referred to as Kobe beef.
This is because the city of Kobe is located within this prefecture. Kobe beef is indeed among the most well-known types of wagyu, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. Other types of wagyu, such as Bongo and Miyazaki, can be found in different parts of the world. There are numerous types of wagyu. Each regional type of wagyu is subject to its own unique set of restrictions, but overall, wagyu is graded on a scale that ranges from A1 to A5 in terms of quality. The classification of A5 is given to wagyu which has achieved the highest possible grade, and the only wagyu that can be purchased in Japan is that which has been graded between A3 and A5. According to Forbes, the United States enabled the import of foreign Kobe beef in 2012 in a small amount.
Wagyu Beef from the United States and Australia? Are these just a marketing ploy or what?
Even though references to wagyu are almost always associated with Japan, the marketing of American wagyu manufactured menu items, such as Arby’s Wagyu Steakhouse Burger, is making a food item that was previously difficult to procure more approachable to those who are interested in trying the food item associated with the hype. The main distinction between the two is that Australian wagyu is often crossbred with Holstein cows, whereas American wagyu was typically a combination of Angus beef as well as a variation of wagyu.
In general, American wagyu does not have the intense umami-like sensation that is present in Japanese wagyu; but, its meaty flavor and more manageable price point of $10 to $15 per lb. have won over a large number of consumers. The pride that ranchers, farmers, and chefs take in breeding and cooking genuine wagyu beef has food connoisseurs hooked on the steak no matter whatever preparation they attempt. The amazing experience it offers in terms of flavor and freshness is an encounter that can last well beyond the time when the cows come home, even though wagyu won’t come cheap.
Why is wagyu so expensive?
According to Brazil, the price of a pound of Wagyu beef can reach up to two hundred dollars, and the cows that produce it can fetch up to thirty thousand dollars at auction. When compared to the average cost of a cow in the United States, which is closer to $1,500, this price is significantly lower. The following are some of the factors that contribute to the high cost of wagyu beef.
- Wagyu cattle are purposefully bred to produce meat of the greatest possible quality.
- To assist the cows to relax, they are given massages, fed wine, and sake, and offered daily showers in the mineral water that comes from hot springs.
- Instead of being bred in confined feedlots, Wagyu cattle are typically raised on small family-owned farms that emphasize natural feeding practices.
- Because of its high-quality diet and meticulous rearing, it takes around 3 years before such a calf could be slaughtered for consumption. As a result, the cost of this type of meat is very high when compared to other forms of beef that are more affordable.
- It is common practice to feed Wagyu Cows alcohol like beer or sake to stimulate their appetites and boost production, even though this method is more expensive than feeding them grain.
- This method of animal husbandry requires a lot of time and effort on the part of the farmer: it can take as much as three years for each cow to achieve the average weight for slaughter, which is roughly 400 pounds.
- Because there are only about 5,000 sheep available, the price will likely be quite high; the simple supply and demand laws explain this phenomenon in a relatively straightforward way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can you buy Wagyu beef?
Although it is possible to get wagyu at a variety of Asian markets, butcher shops, and even some grocery stores, the preparation of something as delicate as wagyu is best left to the experts. Wagyu may be found in many Asian markets. According to Brazil, the best way to ensure you get the greatest possible quality beef is to eat at an upscale restaurant that has a solid reputation.
How Wagyu beef is served?
Brazil recommends beginning the process of cooking Wagyu by removing some of the fat from the steaks around the borders and using it to oil the pan. This will ensure the most authentic flavor possible. Some Chefs recommend using a small amount of butter in conjunction with olive oil in the recipe. “After that, the only natural flavors left are salt and pepper. That concludes the natural flavor profile. Naturally, you should both serve and consume it medium-rare.”
Even while the procedures for preparing Wagyu could be straightforward, the accompanying dishes do not have to be simple if you are serving Brazil. The traditional Caesar salad, mashed red potatoes with bacon and brie, Texas blue crab towers topped with cilantro caviar, shaved Brussel sprouts, and shaved Brussels sprouts are some of his favorite dishes. When it comes to beverages, Brazil suggests sticking to porter and craft beers, however, whiskey, white wine, plus martinis also make for a wonderful complement.
Why do people like Wagyu so much?
According to Todd Brazil, an executive chef in Houston, the grade of wagyu beef is evaluated based on the following four criteria: The marbling, color, brightness, hardness, and texture of the meat, as well as the grade of the fat, are all important factors. According to him, you should anticipate Wagyu meat to be more soft and juicy than regular beef, with a flavor that is reminiscent of butter. Marbling refers to the streaks of beef and can be found not only on the exterior of high-quality wagyu but also within the muscle itself.
What exactly is olive wagyu beef?
Olive Wagyu beef represents the most exclusive and difficult-to-find variety of beef in the entire globe. The meat originates from cattle that are farmed on a small Japanese island known as Shodoshima.
Which Four Varieties Of Wagyu Cattle Are?
Before the turn of the 20th century, the majority of the time, this breed served its purpose as a workhorse. During the Meiji period, however, the breed was improved via the introduction of foreign cattle through crossbreeding, and in 1944 it was recognized as an indigenous breed of Japanese beef cattle.
Japanese Brown are particularly common in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kochi in Japan. Other names for this breed is red cattle.
Japanese Shorthorn is highly uncommon and accounts for only around one percent of Japan’s total cow population.
This breed is the product of crossbreeding between the Scottish breed of Aberdeen Angus and the native Japanese Black strain. The result of this breeding was the Japanese Polled.