Working for one of foodservice’s leading agencies means that I’ve been lucky enough to sample a range of amazing new cuisines and food trends over the years. One opportunity that hadn’t crossed my path until now was Wagyu, which appeared on my local’s menu, The Bell in Godstone – well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area – as their new premium burger.
Well this raised my curiosity, I was aware of all the buzz around Wagyu being the beef equivalent of champagne and caviar, but why was Wagyu so darn expensive? With a table booked to sample this ultimate burger, I set upon doing some research and this is what I discovered.
1. Wagyu is a Japanese beef cattle breed, ‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow.
2. There are just four breeds that are considered Wagyu in Japan, though export now means it can be found in America, Australia and Britain.
3. Wagyu is the world’s highest grade of beef and the most expensive.
4. Wagyu’s high fat marbling is what makes for its unique taste and a velvety texture, prime beef contains 6-8% versus Wagyu’s 20-25% marbled fat, which melts like butter when cooked.
5. It’s Wagyu’s superior genetics and painstaking care that lead to the meat’s higher marbling, they are not fed grass but given a special diet of corn, soybean, barley, wheat bran and aren’t slaughtered until 3 years old.
6. The mono-unsaturated to saturated fat ratio is higher in Wagyu than in any other beef making it healthier.
Sharing my findings with my fiancée that we were actually being healthy by eating this burger, we headed to the pub. The burgers proved a taste sensation! Topped with smoked cheddar, crispy onions, relish and gherkins with a side of sweet potato fries Wagyu’s ‘melt in the mouth texture’ and flavour was delicious and well worth the £16 price tag given the care that goes into this delicacy.
If you’ve sampled Wagyu I’d love to hear your thoughts on the world’s most expensive beef, as for me I’m already planning when I get back to my local to sample another!