What is Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is one of the most delicious and expensive dishes in the world. This Japanese delicacy, famous for its unique tenderness, flavor and texture, is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Wagyu beef is also known as the most expensive meat in the world because the breeding and production process requires great care and attention.
Wagyu beef has an interesting and fascinating history dating back several centuries. This special meat is obtained from Wagyu cows, which are raised with special care, through a highly controlled diet and a very peaceful lifestyle, which ensures high quality meat. This meat is very fatty and is often described as "melt-in-your-mouth," this high intramuscular fat content, also known as marbling, gives the typical soft texture. In addition, Japanese Wagyu meat is also very tasty and aromatic, with a flavor that can range from slightly sweet to rich and buttery.
Wagyu beef originates from Japan and its production is limited to this area of the world. In Japan, Wagyu cattle farms are distributed in several prefectures, including Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Saga, Hyogo and Tottori. Each prefecture has its own breeding techniques and meat grading system, which depends on the quality of the cattle and the specific cut of meat. Wagyu meat has become increasingly popular globally in recent years, but most high-quality meat is still produced and consumed in Japan.
The secrets of Wagyu beef: a Japanese delicacy
To recognize high-quality Wagyu beef, remember that Japanese beef is evaluated according to a grading system that considers criteria such as color, texture, marbling, and fat quality. The evaluation of Wagyu beef is performed by Japanese experts, called "Shokunin," who assign a score consisting of a letter and a number. The letter indicates the part of the animal's body, while the number indicates the degree of meat quality.
The highest quality Wagyu beef is A5 Wagyu, which indicates meat with the highest degree of marbling and a soft, creamy texture. Grade A5 is the highest grade of Wagyu meat in Japan and is characterized by a high intramuscular fat content, which gives the meat its distinctive and valuable flavor. Here are some key elements for recognizing a quality meat:
- Marbling: Wagyu meat is famous for its high fat content. A quality meat should have an even and well-distributed marbling, with a high ratio of fat to lean meat.
- Texture: high-quality wagyu should be soft and tender due to its high fat content. The texture should be even and not too fibrous.
- Color: High-quality meat has a bright red color with a slight pink hue. The fat should have a translucent white color.
- Aroma: This high-quality meat should have an intense aroma and rich flavor, with a perfect balance between sweetness and savoriness.
- Origin: Japanese wagyu comes from cattle raised in Japan, where they are fed a specific diet and subjected to a strict diet to maintain high quality. Making sure the meat originates in Japan is one way to guarantee its quality.
Wagyu beef in Japanese cuisine
Wagyu beef is used in different ways in Japanese cuisine, depending on the cut and quality of the meat. In Japan, Wagyu beef is eaten on several special occasions, such as in celebrations like Japanese New Year (shogatsu) or to mark an important occasion such as a wedding or graduation. This meat is often considered luxurious and it is served in fine dining restaurants or in kaiseki-ryori, a type of traditional Japanese cuisine that features a tasting menu of fine dishes.
In addition, Wagyu beef is often given as a luxury gift in Japan, especially during holidays or as a sign of respect or gratitude. However, it is important to note that Wagyu beef is not always associated with formal occasions and is also eaten in simple dishes such as gyudon, a rice bowl with thinly sliced beef. Here are some examples of dishes that use Wagyu meat:
- Sukiyaki: one of the traditional Japanese dishes that involves cooking thinly sliced Wagyu beef in an iron pot with a mixture of vegetables and seasonings.
- Shabu-shabu: another Japanese dish, where Wagyu beef is immersed in a pot of boiling broth and then eaten with sauces.
- Teppanyaki: a cooking technique that involves grilling Wagyu meat on a hot iron griddle, accompanied by vegetables and rice.
- Sushi: some sushi variations also include Wagyu beef as an ingredient, thinly sliced and accompanied by soy sauce and wasabi.
Why is Wagyu beef so expensive?
Wagyu beef is one of the most expensive meats in the world, but why? The answer lies in its high quality and craftsmanship. First of all, Wagyu animals are bred specifically to produce high quality meat. Wagyu breeders pay close attention to the health of the animals, ensuring that they are fed a balanced diet of high quality grains, such as rice and barley, and have a healthy and happy life, which is reflected in the quality of the meat. Wagyu beef also has a very high percentage of fat, which makes it incredibly tender and flavorful. This intramuscular fat is evenly distributed in the meat, creating a buttery texture and intense flavor.
The processing of Wagyu meat is a very special art. The cuts are selected and processed by hand by master artisans, which enhances its quality and tenderness. Precisely because of its high price, Wagyu beef requires special care in cooking to ensure that it retains its unique texture and flavor. It should not be underestimated that the limited availability of Wagyu meat also contributes to its high quality and high price. Wagyu breeders deal with only a limited number of animals each year, thus ensuring the utmost attention to detail. It is true that Japanese wagyu beef can be expensive, but it is definitely worth it. This type of meat is perfect for special occasions when you want to offer your guests an unforgettable dining experience. Also, the fact that it is such a prized meat makes it a perfect gift for a lover of good food. Finally, it is worth noting that Japanese wagyu meat can also be a healthy culinary experience. Despite its high fat content, this type of meat also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for a balanced diet.
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