Those in the know reckon Wagyu is unparalleled in its taste.
Its abundance of fat ensures a tender, juicy and flavoursome eating experience. The fat in Wagyu has a melting point lower than the human body temperature, which is what makes it melt in your mouth.
Myths abound of Wagyu cattle being reared in veritable cow day spas, being fed gourmet food and drink, being massaged and even serenaded to produce better beef. While some producers do have unique ways of raising their Wagyu, most are produced according to strict rearing guidelines. Most Wagyu cattle are fed on special rations to maximize the marbling.
Wagyu is different from other types of beef. Wagyu beef is distinctive because it is highly marbled.
Marbling refers to the visible layers of intramuscular fat. This is fat that is found in the muscle. Due to the unique genetics of the cows, the meat contains a higher percentage of fatty acids than ordinary beef, giving it a higher marbling score.
The higher the marbling score, the more flavoursome, tender and juicy the meat is – 100% full-blood Wagyu cattle has the highest marble levels of any beef in the world.
So, why would you have an ordinary steak or burger when you could have Wagyu beef instead?
HIGH IN FAT
Yes, you read that right. Wagyu beef is high in fat, and it’s actually a good thing.
Although exercise videos from the 80s might have had us running scared from anything containing the word ‘fat’, modern nutrition proves that the right fats (in moderation) are both beneficial and essential to a healthy diet.
Wagyu beef contains a higher percentage of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and more monounsaturated fats than any other beef. This soft fat has a low melting point and not only creates the wonderful texture of Wagyu beef but also holds most of the flavour.
IT LITERALLY MELTS IN YOUR MOUTH
Thanks to the marbled texture and high percentage of fat, Wagyu beef is moist, tender, and mouth-wateringly flavoursome.
Nobody wants a sweat-inducing chew-fest when they’re chowing down on a great steak or burger. You want to sail effortlessly through the experience and savour the rich and buttery taste of the meat with every mouthful. That’s why a Wagyu beef will always be superior to the traditional beef.
Wagyu have longer lives than other beef cattle, which also significantly improves the flavour of the beef – Wagyu cattle live for three years, whereas normal beef cattle live to about 18 months.
Best of all, Wagyu is not only mouth-wateringly delicious, it’s proven to be good for you, too. Wagyu comes packed with a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats (the good fats), omega-3 and omega-6 than other beef.
Wagyu is also high in conjugated linoleic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid which is also a popular dietary supplement.
In recent years, efficient marketing efforts have elevated Wagyu to near-divine status among fans of fine food and drink. But they've also led to an influx of 'gold diggers' that actually chose to crossbreed the Wagyu with Angus or other domestic cattle. These crossbred animals also referred to as ‘American-style’ or ‘American Wagyu’.
Still, it’s rare that you’ll ever see a brand boasting the title ‘crossbred’, because it just doesn’t sound very sexy. Unfortunately Wagyu in the United States only needs to have 48% original Wagyu genetics to be sold under the Wagyu name. By far the bulk of what is sold in the United States and Canada as Wagyu is at best 50% pure.
In fact, there are only about 26,000 real registered Full Blood Wagyu (or 0.028% of the total 92.9 million cattle in the USA and Canada), and they all have to meet standards set by the American Wagyu Association.