What Is Wagyu Beef? 9 Facts About the World's Most Expensive Steak

August 31, 2021 Bidfood - News

If you’ve been lucky enough to taste wagyu beef, you’ll know that this meat delivers incredible flavor and a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth feel.

Its beautiful marbling and high fat content means it surpasses other steaks, hands down, for taste and texture. And as wagyu suppliers in Dubai, we know just how sought after this meat is by chefs here and around the globe.

Want to know more about what makes this beef special? Read on for 9 fascinating factsabout wagyu.

1. Wagyu beef is a Japanese delicacy

Did you know that the word ‘wagyu’ translates as wa-Japanese and gyu-cow? Wagyu beef originates in Japan. In fact, the cattle that produce this delicacy are considered a national treasure. They are so beloved and revered that the export of these animals or their genetic material is currently banned, although their meat is shipped worldwide.

2. Wagyu beef is known as the finest beef on the planet

All wagyu beef, once processed at the abattoir, is carefully checked by no less than three inspectors. First, they are looking for the meat to have the perfect marbling that gives wagyu beef its unique flavor. They are also looking for the right levels of firmness, color and texture. Only meat that passes these stringent checks is certified as wagyu.

It is these standards of quality control that have helped to build wagyu’s reputation as the finest beef on the planet.

3. Wagyu beef comes from only four breeds of cattle

There are only four breeds of cattle that can lay claim to being responsible for Japanese wagyu beef: the Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. Each of these is bred, raised and slaughtered in a specific prefecture of Japan.

Only the very best examples of the breed are used to create the next generation of Wagyu cattle. To ensure the very best quality beef prevails, progeny testing is used. This involves examining the characteristic qualities of the progeny of various mating combinations to find the optimal pairings.

Outside of Japan, wagyu beef is either exported or the result of small breeding programs happening elsewhere. American wagyu, for example, is the result of cattle bred from a select group of animals exported from Japan in the 1970s when exports were briefly allowed. The beef may be from purebred animals or from a crossbreed pairing.

4. Wagyu cattle were not always bred for their meat

Wagyu cattle have been carefully bred over centuries. Modern wagyu cattle are the result of native Japanese breeds being introduced to some European stock. These infusions were closed to further mixing around 100 years ago, resulting in the four pure breeds that we know as wagyu cattle today.

Breeding of these cattle originally concentrated on selecting animals for their endurance as draft animals. As it happened, this favored cattle that also produced the famous marbling that makes wagyu beef so delicious and so coveted.

5. Wagyu beef can be traced from farm to fork

In Japan, the production of wagyu beef is so carefully monitored and controlled that it is possible to trace back your meal through the cow’s life cycle. Each wagyu-certified animal is given a unique identification number for this purpose.

6. Wagyu cattle are pampered animals

Wagyu cattle are exceptionally well looked after. Farmers know that the extra steps they take to nurture their animals will contribute to the exceptional flavor of the meat. Some of their actions are closely guarded secrets, particularly the exact diet the animals are fed.

However, it is well known that wagyu cattle spend a lot longer grazing on high-quality grasslands than other beef cattle before going to the slaughter, often double the time.

Wagyu farmers believe that a stress-free lifestyle means they will burn less fat thus improving the marbling in their meat.

7. Wagyu beef can be bought in many forms

You will have heard of wagyu steaks but have you ever tried a wagyu burger? Wagyu can be purchased in all the same cuts as other beef. At Bidfoods, we offer our clients wagyu striploin, topside, tenderloin, cubes, ribs, and ready-formed burgers, some of which are also available frozen. This means that wagyu is probably more accessible than you might have imagined.

8. Wagyu is healthier than most people realize

Wagyu is known for its fat content; that’s where its special flavor comes from. If you are very health conscious this might have put you off before now. However, wagyu is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6, which also means it has a good ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats when compared to regular beef.

9. Cooking wagyu steak is easy

Given that wagyu is nearly always the most expensive beef option around, many might be anxious to cook it for fear of getting it ruining a valuable ingredient. However, it is incredibly easy to serve up delicious wagyu steaks.

All you need to do is season the meat well, brush it with a little oil and sear it for a couple of minutes on each side. All the hard work to achieve the flavor has been done by the farmers!

Considering adding a wagyu dish to your restaurant menu?

Contact Bidfood, leading meat distributors In Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and the MENA region, to find out how we can help you get started.