If you're in the market for the best beef you can find, you want 100% Fullblood Wagyu beef. This gourmet meat features intense marbling, rich flavors, and health benefits that are magnitudes beyond other selections of beef. Because of these qualities, along with the rarity of the beef and the craft required to proficiently raise this breed, Wagyu beef is more expensive than its commercial counterparts
Wagyu beef is known for its striking marbling. This marbling adds to the flavor of the beef, but it also adds to the cost. Why? Because it’s a direct correlation to the quality of the meat. Several countries use the amount and quality of marbling as the primary indicator of its grade (see our post All About That Marble for a comparison on Japanese and American grading). Most U.S. consumers expect to pay more for Prime than they would for Choice. The level of marbling in 100% Fullblood Wagyu beef is generally well beyond that of Prime, thus it demands a premium price point.
Great Health Benefits
As we discussed in What Makes Wagyu Beef So Fantastically Delicious, Wagyu beef is uniquely healthy. The ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat in this meat is higher than in other varieties, so it's better for you while offering a better flavor. Wagyu beef offers high concentrations of essential fatty acids and has a higher percentage of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol when compared to other types of beef.
100% Fullblood Wagyu is a luxury. It is available in limited quantities, especially here in the United States where there are estimated to be only 5,000 Fullblood Wagyu cattle. For comparison, 320,362 Angus were registered in the U.S. during 2015. Like all things that are exquisite and hard to find, the elusive nature of the product drives an increase in price.
Raised with Care
Raising Wagyu requires care and patience. This special breed of cattle is born with a “marbling gene”, a unique component of their DNA which lends itself to cultivating the delicate and rich marbling Wagyu is famed for. In order for this gene to “turn on”, Wagyu must be raised in an environment which eliminates stress as much as possible. Skilled Wagyu ranchers give their cattle individual care and implement practices that create a happy and easy lifestyle for the animals.
Wagyu eat a specialized ration of high quality grains, vegetarian protein, and forage. While the exact recipe is specific to individual ranchers, this approach to diet is an important element of raising Wagyu in Japan and beyond. This approach to feed incurs a much higher cost than that of conventional cattle, who are most often fed corn.
Wagyu cattle are encouraged to gain weight naturally and slowly and never fed hormones to speed the process. This extends the life of the cattle to over two times that of conventional cattle. The care involved over the years it takes to prepare the animals for harvest is significant in cost.
Beef That's Worth the Cheddar
100% Fullblood Wagyu beef is expensive. But ask anyone who has tried it and they will attest to its worth. Almost a category on its own, well-marbled, Fullblood Wagyu is truly an experience unlike other beef. This special beef is ideal for special occasions…. Or for every time you get the craving for something spectacular.