If you are a fan of meat or like healthy and tasty delicacies, you have probably heard of Wagyu marbled beef. Let’s find out what is so special about Wagyu beef, why it is so expensive and whether it is worth the price.
What is so special about Wagyu beef? Wagyu beef is special as it has no analogues in terms of its unique texture, juiciness and taste. Wagyu beef needs minimal heat treatment and melts in your mouth. Wagyu cows have no stress in life — they eat premium selected grain and drink beer with sake, get the best massages and listen to classical music.
Why Is Wagyu Beef So Special?
Wagyu, translated from Japanese (和 牛) means “Japanese cow.” In fact, this is the general name for special beef breeds of cows prone to intense marbling. These breeds include the Japanese black, Japanese brown, Japanese Shorthorn and Japanese hornless cows, and their varieties, which are bred in different regions of the country of the rising sun. The meat of these cows is of the highest quality. Wagyu beef is far from cheap, but the price of this product is quite justified.
Until 180 years ago, no one even thought Japan would be talked about as the producer of the best beef in the world. Since the 7th century, meat was prohibited. The turning point in history was the mid-19th century when the ban was finally lifted. The isolation of cattle for a long time has made natural selection better than any breeder. Meat breeds, characterized by a high content of intramuscular fat, have become dominant.
The Japanese use special technologies in raising Wagyu cows, which were developed centuries ago. To prevent interbreeding with other breeds, each Wagyu cow has its own pedigree and individual number. All stages from the birth of a bull to slaughter are recorded in an electronic system. Therefore, it is always possible to check in the national database where each piece of Wagyu came from.
After birth, the calves graze in green meadows. Gradually, the bulls are fed with selected grain and restricted in movement so that they gain weight. Unlike other cows, Wagyu is raised for a very long time — up to 3 years. By this age, they gain up to 1000 kilograms of live weight.
During this period, Wagyu cows are fed with barley, corn, fresh grass, rice straw and grain silage with proteins and fiber. It is believed that it is precisely this kind of fattening that helps to obtain the famous marble pattern and acquire an unforgettable sweetish aroma, similar to the smell of peach or coconut. Only Japanese marbled beef smells like that.
The farmers try to create maximum comfort for Wagyu cows — massage them with brushes to not suffer from circulatory disorders. Sometimes they add beer and sake to improve digestion and increase appetite. Many breeders treat their calves like family members.
Wagyu meat is considered the most ideal for preparing tender and juicy steaks. In addition to Japan, farms in America, Australia and Europe are engaged in Wagyu raising through replanting embryos to local marbled cows.
Why Is Wagyu Beef So Expensive?
Wagyu is so expensive, as it is difficult to raise, and the demand is way greater than the supply. Wagyu beef has the finest veins of fat that give it a delicate taste and additional nutritious properties. Wagyu beef is the rarest meat in the world and can be found only in Japan, even though Wagyu beef is also raised in the USA, Australia and other countries.
But the question is: “Is Wagyu beef worth the price?”. Wagyu beef is definitely worth the price, as this unique delicacy has a balanced chemical composition and moderate calorie content together with a soft and juicy texture, sweet, coconut taste, and unique aroma. Wague cows have no stress in life, making their meat the rarest, softest, and the juiciest that is definitely worth the price.
Wagyu beef is also very healthy. Wagyu beef is good for your health as it lowers the level of cholesterol, normalizes the heart rate, expands the peripheral vessels. Wagyu beef also improves cerebral circulation, accelerates the reaction rate, restores impaired transmission of nerve impulses, stimulates hematopoiesis, increases hemoglobin level in the blood, increases immunity, and stimulates reparative processes in the body.
There is no scientifically substantiated evidence of this type of beef’s anticarcinogenic properties, but there is evidence in the literature that marbled meat has anti-cancer properties. This effect is probably due to the presence in the meat of a large number of vitamins that improve hematopoiesis and increase immunity, which is important in cancer, especially after chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Is Wagyu Too Fatty?
Is Wagyu too fatty? Even though Wagyu beef has many fatty veins, Wagyu is not too fatty, and it does not taste fatty. When cooked, Wagyu’s fat dissolves and makes the meat juicy and soft. Wagyu fat is healthy as it does not provoke the formation of bad cholesterol. And the calorie content of Wagyu is quite low, only 200 Kcal per 100 grams.
The meat of Japanese Wagyu cows is marbled. It consists of fat and layers of meat. At the same time, wagyu fat is soft and melts at a low temperature. Meat contains a lot of omega-3, linoleic and stearic acids, B vitamins, iron, and other useful microelements.
Wagyu beef is extremely juicy and has a rich and delicate flavor. Almost everyone can eat it. The meat does not need to be chewed for a long time; it is ideal for dental problems. It also takes only 2-3 minutes to cook Wagyu steaks.
The potential harm of Wagyu beef is due to its high protein content. Protein molecules are a source of purine bases, increasing the level of which can provoke an attack of gout, renal colic, or pain in the spine with osteochondrosis. Fatty meat can exacerbate diseases of the digestive system (pancreatitis, cholecystitis). The extractive substances in marbled beef enhance digestive juices’ secretion, so eating it can exacerbate a gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer. Contraindications to eating Wagyu meat is individual intolerance and allergies.
Wagyu beef is a delicacy for a reason. It has juicy, tender meat with a pleasant aroma and taste. The complexity and duration of raising cattle to obtain such meat determine its high cost. Only some breeds of cows are prone to a marbling of the meat. They are grown first on free pasture, and then with the help of grain feeding.
Wagyu beef contains a lot of complete protein and fat. The peculiarity of the fats of this meat is that they contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). This is very rare for meat products. Wagyu beef is also enriched with vitamins and minerals. With all this, there are practically no carbohydrates in it.
The calorie content of 100 g of marbled meat is low and amounts to 200 kcal. Most often, American steaks are fried from Wagyu beef. The presence of a large number of fatty layers in the meat makes the steaks juicy and tender. The high taste and safety of this meat make it possible to use it even raw (tartar, sashimi).