Do you want to know, “how much is Wagyu beef per pound?” The premium and renowned Japanese Wagyu beef can cost around $150 to $200 per pound minimum and as high as $350 per pound. Yet, the cost of wagyu beef depends on various factors.
For example, you can get the American Wagyu at a little less price if you’re tight on budget. It comes anywhere from $90 to $100 at Costco. Thus, the price can change depending on quality and vendor.
This article will explain how much Wagyu beef per pound costs and what you need to know before buying it. Let’s get started.
How Much is Wagyu Beef Per Pound? A Quick Answer.
Japanese Wagyu is expensive yet the most nutritious beef. A pound of Wagyu steaks costs $99 to $350.
For example, the price for olive Wagyu starts from $120 per pound. The most expensive cut is ribeye, which can go as high as $500 per pound.
Australian Wagyu is less expensive than Japanese. The price for Australian Wagyu starts at around $180, but if you’re going to pay that much, you should opt for authentic Japanese Wagyu.
American wagyu beef is cheap and affordable, starting from $10.
How Much is Wagyu Beef as Per Brand Type?
Japanese Black, Brown, Polled, and Shorthorn are the four breeds responsible for wagyu beef in Japan.
All four brands of Wagyu beef come from black Japanese cattle, Kuroge. The main four brands are Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef, and Omi or Yonezawa beef. All of them are well known for their high-quality meat.
Kobe Beef: $200-$300 per pound
Kobe is most popular not only in Japan but also in America. Kobe beef comes from the Tajima breed of Wagyu.
Being one of the most highly prized meats, they can only raise cattle for this type of beef in the Hyogo Prefecture province of Japan.
Kobe’s yield and meat quality grades must be A4, B4, or above. Any detected flaws in the meat are required to pass an evaluation test. It’s set by the Kobe Beef Marketing and their Distribution Promotion Association.
The authentic Japanese Kobe seller always has licenses to sell through Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution. The license can help you differentiate between real and fake meat.
Kobe’s Wagyu price starts from $250 per pound. If you want A5, you need to pay a high amount of $200 to $300 for 1 pound.
Matsusaka Beef: $185-$200 per pound
Matsusaka beef is the main rival of Kobe. The beef is also known for its high level of marbling, which gives it a rich buttery taste. It has a perfect balance of meat and fat and is very tender and juicy.
These cattle are sourced from Mie Prefecture, with the capital, Matsuzaka.
The cattle belonging to this region are virgin females. This makes them fat, as females have more fat than males.
The cattle are fed a special diet for three years. Beefthat’ss A4 or A5 grade is eligible for Matsusaka beef.
Yonezawa Beef: $204 per pound
The Yonezawa cattle come from the Yamagata Prefecture in the southern region. They’re heifers that have never given birth.
Yonezawa cows are raised with a unique fattening process for 32 months. They should be graded three or above.
Yonezawa beef is produced under strict guidelines. After Kobe and Matsusaka, Yonezawa is highly sought after or its delicacy in Japan.
Like Ohmi beef, Yonezawa beef is typically sold through auction and is often served in high-end restaurants, and is relatively expensive and only widely available in Japan.
Omi / Ōmi Beef: $65 per pound
The Ohmi beef is the oldest Wagyu brand in Japan, with over 400 years of history. It comes from the black-haired Tajima strain of the Japanese Black breed of cattle, which is known for its high-quality marbling, rich flavor, and tenderness.
Omi is raised in Shiga Prefecture. These cows are provided with a rich and natural environment to grow. Ohmi beef is famous for its sweet and rich taste and its high marbling rate, giving it a unique texture and flavor. Yet it’s not as renowned as Kobe beef. You can buy Ohmi beef at a relatively lower price.
How Much Can Wagyu Beef Cost you according to the Beef Cut?
Wagyu comes in a variety of cuts that have different price tags.
Wagyu Filet Mignon Price
This super lean and tender filet comes from the tenderloin of the Wagyu cow. Filet mignon is also the most expensive cut. It has high marbling, which is perfect for medium-rare steaks.
The price starts from $45 – $50 per pound. But depending on quality, it can go higher. You can get a Wagyu Filet Mignon of 3 pounds for $499.99 at Costco, costing you $166 per pound.
Wagyu Ribeye Price
Ribeye can cost a lot, but given the high-level marbling and super tenderness, it’s worth every price. It comes from the rib cage area of the Wagyu cow.
The best thing is the big layer of fat that comes with this cut. The fat melts during cooking and creates a more defined flavor in every bite.
The best way to cook ribeye is to sear it on a high flame.
This premium cut can cost you about $156 per pound at Costco. Similarly, a large, 12 lb, boneless cut of Wagyu ribeye can cost you $1099 for 12 lbs, making $91 per pound, which is the cheapest price you can get in the market.
Wagyu Strip Steak Price
The most popular cut, also known as New York Strip, comes from the short loin area of the cow. High marbling, amazing flavors, and dense texture make it the star of steaks.
Wagyu A5 strip steak is a boneless and high-quality steak cut of all. You can grill the steak or cook it on over-high heat. The steak has a good amount of fat but considerably less than other cuts of Wagyu.
- You can get this premium-grade steak cut at a minimum price of $299 for 3.75 pounds at Costco.
- While the A5 grade New York Strip of 3 lb is available at a higher price of $156 per lb.
- You can also get a large cut of 11 lbs at $999.99–$99.9 per lb.
These A5 grade New York Strip cuts are the best-selling wagyu cuts at Costco.
Wagyu Beef Whole Tenderloin
Tenderloin is one of the ideal cuts with few connective tissues. It’s more tender and juicy when you get it as Wagyu and cook it quickly at higher temperatures.
This cut is very tender and soft, so it’s best to cook it at a high temperature. At Costco, you can buy it for $379.99 for 6 lbs–or $63.33 per pound. Even at Wagyu Shop, you can get it for a cheaper price of $56.5 per pound.
Wagyu Strip Loin Roast
This beef strip loin, often known as NY strip, is also one of the softest and most tasty beef cuts. The Wagyu version makes it ideal for grilling. This one offers a rich beefy texture. However, it doesn’t have fine marbling like other Wagyu cuts.
In America, the Wagyu Strip Loin Roast is imported from Kagoshima, Prefecture in Japan, so you can’t doubt its authenticity.
You can buy a large, A5 grade, boneless cut of strip loin roast 11 lbs for $999.99 or $90 per lb approximately, at Costco.
A smaller cut of A5 grade wagyu strip loin roast (2 counts of 6 lb total) is also available for $95 per pound. Yet, despite being imported from Japan, it’s not brand specific.
Wagyu D Rump Price
The last cut is the D rump that comes right above the hip bone and from the hindquarter. The cut is taken from highly active muscle, making it tough and flavorful meat.
Comprising 3 muscles, this cut can be cooked together or divided into three parts: the rump cap, tri-tip, and rump heart.
Starting price for the Wagyu D Rump is $44.38.
Japanese Vs. American Vs. Australian Wagyu Beef, How Much Do They Cost?
To save money, it’s important to understand the difference between Japanese vs. other Australian and American wagyu beef.
American Wagyu per pound can start as low as $20 and go as high as $100. The Sirloin steak costs around $65, and the tomahawk comes in at $85 per pound.
Australian Wagyu beef is expensive compared to Americans because they’re marbled and have perfect texture and flavor. The filet mignon can go as high as $400.
Japanese Wagyu is costly but the best one you can get.
The Japanese are more strict with the quality and grading of meat, so rest assured that you’ll get your hand on authentic Wagyu.
- They produce high-quality meat by raising cows uniformly
- The fat marbling is soft, and the texture is fine, which is the best giveaway of authenticity.
- The fat gets melted during cooking, making it juicy and tender.
American Wagyu is based on cross-feeding Wagyu with Angus and fed for 400 days, while the Japanese cattle are fed for 650 days.
The first bread was exported from Japan to Australia in the 1990s. The American Wagyu goes back to the first bloodline export from Japan in the 1970s. Even though American Kobe yields fine marbling and deep color, it’s authentic Japanese beef but an imitating version of real Japanese black cows.
Why is Japanese Wagyu Beef So Expensive?
Wagyu comes from the generic term “WA,” which means Japanese, and “GYU,” translates as beef in Japanese.
Japanese Wagyu beef is one of the most expensive in the world, with the highest grade Wagyu costing up to $200 per pound and steaks costing up to $120 to $300 per piece. Even the cows sell for as much as $30,000, which is 40 times more than the price of US cattle.
The Japanese government tightly regulates Wagyu production to protect the value and quality of the meat. According to statistics, almost 24.7 billion yen worth of Wagyu was sold in 2019. Intrigued about why that isHere’s’s why this world-renowned beef is so expensive:
Wagyu has a long history of superiority that we can trace back to the end of the 1800s. During this time, Japan introduced several breeds of European cattle. The purpose of these cattle was to help with cultivation. They crossbred European cattle with the native species of Japan. The result was four unique cattle strains that helped dominate the Japanese trade.
Unique Characteristics of Wagyu: high marbling and unique pink color
Unlike ordinary cattle, Wagyu have specialized growing techniques that give the cattle their peaceful temperament and marbled, tender beef. Not only are the Wagyu cattle raised in separate regions, but individual farmers also bring them.
The farmers’ job is to fatten the Wagyu. They feed their cattle about 3 times a day. This feeding process goes on for 2 years until their fat has reached 50% anthey’veve become completely nourished. During this time, each cow eats approximately 5 tons of feed.
The dedicated feeding regime of Wagyu cattle helps boost the process of fat marbling, called Sashi. Red Wagyu beef has amino acids and inosinic acid.
The combination of these acids with the Sashi marbling is responsible for Wagy beef’s unmatched deliciousness that any other can’t replicate.
The Authenticity of Wagyu Beef
Japan comprises over 160 brands of cattle, including the world-renowned Wagyu. Each brand in Japan evaluates its Wagyu using its own method. They use different standards to classify the beef brand, including the place of origin, bloodline, feeding method, and time of feeding, along with the quality of the meat and other measures.
The 4 major brand labels of Wagyu beef are Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef, and Ohmi beef or Yonezawa. The specific criteria for these brands include they should be of Kuroge descent and black-breed Japanese heifers.
Each brand comes from Wagyu cattle raised in different areas of Japan and fed special diets relevant to their geographical location. This gives them their sublime taste and unique flavor profile.
Wagyu beef is popular for its intense, buttery taste and high-grade fat marbling that melts in your mouth. Its remarkable taste profile makes it impossible to recreate with any other beef.
The Japanese government has strict policies regarding Wagyu sourcing, one of them being the ban on importing live cattle. Moreover, the export of Wagyu is under control bJapan’s’s modern traceability system. It gets its certification from the Distribution Promotion Association and Kobe Beef Marketing.
Specific grading system
Japanese Wagyu beef is based on a scoring system concerning yield and meat quality. The beef is graded from 1 to 5, with 1 being the poorest quality and five being the highest. The higher the beef is graded, such as Kobe beef (A5 or A4), the higher the price.
It can be extremely costly to import Japanese Wagyu to the US. The import quota for Wagyu beef is 200 tons per year, subject to an import duty of 4.4 cents per kilogram.
A 26.4% import tax on all Japanese beef exceeds the import quota. Consequently, this affects the retail price of Wagyu.
Lack of specialized farmers
The number of people joining the Wagyu industry is steadily decreasing, and the specialized farmers are aging and limited in number, increasing the labor cost and Wagyu price.
What Do You Need to Know Before Buying Wagyu Beef?
Japanese Wagyu beef is famous for its premium quality. The value of the global Wagyu beef market in 2021 was $21.42 billion. The price is $200 to $500 for a pound of Wagyu steak, which makes you wonder what makes it so expensive.
The authentic Wagyu meat comes from Japanese cattle. However, Not all Japanese cattle can be referred to as Wagyu. Wagyu is used for domestic cattle whose bread has been refined for 100 years and fed dedicated feed.
Here are the main features that set the Japanese Wagyu beef apart:
The real Wagyu meat is pink, not bright red, and you can find uniform fat distribution on the meat in authentic Japanese Wagyu.
The cows are fed special feed, ensuring the production of the world’s renowned marbling, Sashi. Usually, farmers are the ones who raise the Wagyu cows. You can easily trace back every piece of steak to the farm.
The cow grows up to 700 kg and is then sold at the auction. Marbling is done differently depending on the area and farm. There are almost 300 varieties of wagyu beef, but the most sold and delicious one is Kobe beef. It has a high marbling that melts at low heat and creates a buttery flavor.
The grading factors are color, texture, firmness, luster, and the cow’s mead yield. The grading process is based on two primary steps: yield grade and meat quality.
By assessing the yield grade, the wagyu meat category is in three ranks
- Below average,
- Above average.
As for the quality, the marbling, color, brightness, texture, and fat quality are considered. Based on quality, the meat is divided from 1 to 5, with A5 being high quality and the most expensive of all.
Lastly, finding the right place to get the meat can help you in the long run. The high demand for Wagyu beef has caused the rise of fake sellers. Always check the source before purchasing it from any vendor.
Every piece of Wagyu beef can be traced back to its source.
The easiest way to check the authenticity is by tracing. Every purebred wagyu stock is registered in Japan. Most importantly, the government is very specific in grading and providing only quality meat.
They have a process to ensure each pound you get comes from a premium and unique wagyu cow. The process starts with taking a nose print at cattle birth and issuing the 10-digit code by which you can trace every cattle.
Moreover, that is only the case with japan. You can’t trace back the American or Australian Wagyu.
How can you Buy Cheap Wagyu Beef in America?
Wagyu beef, being a premium product, can be more expensive than other types of beef in America. However, it’s possible to find cheaper cuts of Wagyu beef if you look in the right places.
Some options for buying cheaper Wagyu beef in America include:
Some online retailers offer Wagyu beef at lower prices than traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Buy in bulk
Buying a larger quantity of Wagyu beef at once can help you save money.
Consider different cuts
Some cuts of Wagyu beef are less expensive than others, such as ground beef, short ribs, or skirt steak.
Look for sales and discounts.
Some stores and online retailers offer sales and discounts on Wagyu beef from time to time. Also, checking local farms or ranches that raise Wagyu cattle could be a good strategy.
It’s important to note that, even if you find cheaper cuts or deals, Wagyu beef will still be more expensive than other types of beef due to the high cost of raising the cattle and the limited supply of the meat.
Why is American Wagyu Cheap?
American Wagyu lacks the umami feature that is common among Japanese Wagyu. Still, they have a good proportion of meat and fat. The best thing is American Wagyu is cheap yet still famous among meat lovers.
What is the most expensive cut of Wagyu?
The most expensive cut of Wagyu is stripIt’sak A5. It’s a boneless cut that is rich in flavor and marbling.
You have to pay a good amount of $500 to get a real Japanese A5 Wagyu beef per pound. However, the meat is worth the price, considering the authenticity and uniqueness of the breed.
A5 Vs. A1 Wagyu, which is better?
Wagyu A5 is better than the A1 Wagyu beef. The Japanese government does the grading under strict guidelines. Only A3 and A5 are allowed to be sold What’san.
What’s the best place to buy wagyu beef?
Once you know how to differentiate between real and fake Wagyu beef. Here are some of the top and best places from where you can get real Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef:
- Holy Grail Steak Co.
- Crowd Cow
Should you buy Wagyu beef at Costco?
There are mixed reviews among Costco customers about some of the quality of Wagyu Beef.
Costco offers a variety of Wagyu beef, including Japanese A5 Wagyu New York Strip Steaks for $99 per pound, Japanese Wagyu Ribeye Roost, and steak at 899.99 for 12 pounds.
According to the official Costco Website, they export their Wagyu beef directly from Kagoshima prefecture in Japan. You can always check through the tracking number to ensure that the beef is authentic.
Japanese Wagyu is the result of years of hard work, climate, geographical features, and refined bread. It’s famous worldwide because of its high-end and premium meat quality compared to other cows.
Not only is Wagyu beef high in marbling, but it also offers a good amount of intramuscular fat, which makes it tender and juicy.
Before purchasing Wagyu beef, don’t forget to trace its origin to confirm its authenticity.
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