What is wagyu beef?
Everything you need to know about wagyu beef and why it's so expensive. See how to cook this pricey cut, its health benefits and where to find it in the UK.
Wagyu is the legendary super-marbled, super-expensive beef from Japan that's now becoming readily available in the UK. We break down everything you need to know about this luxurious cut and whether it's truly worth the money.
If you want to learn how to cook beef perfectly, read our helpful articles on how to cook a beef topside so it falls apart, how to cook topside beef and how to cook roast beef before checking out our top 10 roast beef recipes and many more beef recipes.
Learn more about the health benefits of wagyu beef, where it comes from and how to prepare it.
10 facts about wagyu beef
1) Wagyu is a breed of cattle native to Japan.
The word literally translates as Japanese beef – ‘wa’ means Japanese and 'gyu’ means beef.
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2) The beef is renowned for being highly marbled.
This is what gives wagyu its unique tender and buttery flavour.
3) Kobe beef is wagyu beef from the Tajima or Tajiri bloodlines.
Wagyu beef is only called Kobe when the cow has been born, raised and slaughtered in Japan's Hyōgo prefecture.
4) The cattle are fed for 600 days after weaning.
That’s more than double the time for other breeds.
5) The beef doesn’t need to be hung.
Highland wagyu is slaughtered, then packaged days later and sent directly to chefs or consumers.
6) Marbling is a slower process for wagyu.
That’s unlike native breeds.
7) It contains high levels of omega fatty acids.
The marbling is rich in omega-3 and omega-6, improving the ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fats, compared with regular beef.
8) Wagyu is the world’s most expensive beef because of the way it is reared.
Prime cuts cost up to £150 a kilo, and even secondary cuts, such as bavette (skirt) or flank could set you back upwards of £25 for a single 300g steak. At the Park Tower, Knightsbridge, which has a dedicated wagyu beef menu, prices range from £28 for wagyu roast beef salad to £170 for a 200g wagyu beef fillet.
9) The cattle need a stress-free environment.
That’s so they burn less fat and achieve the correct marbling.
10) Cooking wagyu prime cuts couldn’t be easier.
Sprinkle sea salt on the steak an hour before cooking. Heat a frying pan to searing hot. Brush a little oil onto the steak, then sear for 2 mins each side. The internal fat melts away, leaving you with the juiciest steak ever.
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