If you landed on this page, you’ve probably heard of Wagyu beef and are curious enough to want to learn more. As one of the world’s most sought-after and luxurious meats, this meat with its beautiful marbling offers a wonderful tenderness unlike any other steak coming from cattle raised in the United States. Here are a few facts about Wagyu Beef we think you’ll find fascinating.
Top 8 Fascinating Wagyu Beef Facts:
1. It Comes Exclusively From Japan
Authentic Wagyu beef in its purest form is sourced exclusively from Japan and is meat that comes from four breeds of cattle. These cattle are the Kuroge or Black cattle, the Aakage or Brown cattle, the Nihon Tanaku or Shorthorn cattle, and the Mukaku or Polled Cattle. In the late 1990s, Japan named Wagyu as a national treasure, wherein it put an export ban on the cattle, helping keep Wagyu exclusive to Japan.
Breeders in Japan that raise these cattle ensure that their cows develop evenly-marbled fat deposits and don’t build tough meat. This means the beef cattle are pampered and fussed over far more than other cows. Breeders usually sell their Wagyu cows to farmers at around 10 months of age. The farmers buying the cows are given birth certificates that show the animal’s pure bloodlines.
2. Farmers Pay Top Dollar for Wagyu Cows
Farmers who want to buy Wagyu cows must have plenty of money. While a prime Angus cow in the United States can sell for four around $3,000, a Wagyu cow can go for four times that much, making these farm animals virtual cash cows!
The farmers who pay big bucks for Wagyu cows work diligently to fatten up the cattle so they can yield lots of premium beef. On the open market in grocery stores, a single prime steak coming from a Wagyu cow can cost $100 or more!
3. Wagyu Cattle Eat Better Than Many People
Japanese farmers raising Wagyu cattle wouldn’t dare feed their cows strictly hay like most American cattle farmers. These pampered farm animals are fed things like green grasses, rice straw, whole crop silage, okara, legumes, and soybean meal. They’re also given supplemental vitamins and calcium to ensure they yield the most delicious and sought-after meat in the world.
This Wagyu cow diet is strictly followed and the cows are typically fed three times per day. These cows are fed often because they’re expected to gain around 2.5 pounds each day without getting obese. This diet is maintained for up to three years or when the cattle weigh around 1,500 pounds, at which time, they’re ready for slaughter.
4. Eating Wagyu Beef Can Be a Mind-Blowing Experience
Digging into a juicy piece of Wagyu beef is a real culinary treat. In fact, many people describe eating Wagyu beef as a delightful experience that’s second-to-none. Wagyu beef is moist and buttery wherein it nearly melts in your mouth and requires little chewing.
Wagyu has an intense meaty taste with overwhelming tenderness. The ratio of heart-friendly monounsaturated fat to saturated fat is 2:1 in Wagyu beef, compared to 1:1 in most other beef, making it the healthiest beef you can consume. It is also rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6, putting it right up there with wild salmon. This amazing meat not only tastes incredible, but it also packs a big nutritional punch, making it all the more desirable among food aficionados.
5. There Are Some Amusing Myths About Wagyu Beef
While Japanese farmers raising Wagyu cattle treat their cows like royalty, some Wagyu myths are circulating about how these cows are treated. While it’s true that many Wagyu farmers raising these cows give them all names, it’s not true that farmers massage the cows, feed them beer, and play classical music for them to enjoy!
All these myths are pure bull so don’t believe everything you read about how Wagyu beef cattle are raised!
6. The Beef Has Its Own Olympics
Believe it or not, there is something called the Wagyu Olympics that are held every five years in Japan. During this event, entrants compete in two main categories: breed improvement and meat quality.
The most coveted prize awarded during these Olympic games you’ve never heard of is the “Best Overall” beef in the country. The next scheduled Wayou Olympics will be held in October 2022 in the city of Kagoshima, Japan.
7. Kobe Beef Is Only Sold at a Few US Restaurants
Real Kobe beef comes from Wagyu cows and it’s one of the most sought-after meats in the world. It’s highly valued for its tenderness, sweetness, rich flavor, and well-marbled texture.
While many restaurants in the United States claim they serve Kobe beef, the truth is that only a handful of US restaurants are certified to sell Kobe beef. If you have a trip planned to Las Vegas and are hankering for an authentic Kobe steak, you’re in luck because three of these restaurants are in Las Vegas.
8. Wagyu Cows Enjoy Living Longer Than Other Cattle
In the United States, most beef cattle are slaughtered at 15–20 months. Wagyu cattle being raised in Japan enjoy longer lives as they are not sent to slaughter until they’re around 30 months of age or older.
The reason Japanese farmers allow their Wagyu cattle to live longer is that a longer life equates to improved flavor. Plus, the longer Wagyu cows are allowed to live, the more beef they produce—which brings Wagyu farmers more money and as you know, cash is king!
- Related Read: Wagyu Cattle Breed
We hope you enjoyed these fascinating Wagyu beef facts as much as we enjoyed putting them together! Wagyu beef is unlike other beef and it’s a food item that receives nothing but praise from food experts the world over.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Japan, make sure you find a restaurant that serves authentic Wagyu beef so you can discover for yourself how wonderful this meat is. Otherwise, you may have to plan a vacation to one of the few US cities with a restaurant offering authentic Wagyu steaks.
Featured Image Credit: tkyszk, Shutterstock