What Is Wagyu?

Wagyu, which by definition means “Japanese cow,” has become one of the most talked-about types of meat. The quality of this beef comes with a cost not only because Wagyu has risen to meat fame but because these are very special cows.

Wagyu is so buttery and delicious because of the cows’ genetics. Wagyu cattle have the potential to produce a large amount of intramuscular fat, in other words, their meat is pretty freaking good for marbling.

Though Wagyu is considered with high regard, there are still a couple of misconceptions about it.

One such misconception is that the cattle are raised in poor conditions with limited movement and force-feedings. However, any good Wagyu cattle farmer will say that doing all those things would be very counterproductive, not to mention depressing. Causing the animals stress would create something called cortisol in their system, which in turn would ruin the quality of the beef. It is also mostly a myth that the cattle are lavished in beer and massages. Though some farmers may use beer to increase the cattle’s appetite and massages help their joints during cold weather in Japan.

The second may not be a misconception but an overestimation of how much of this meat you can handle. This is also a warning: Wagyu beef is different from conventional steak but not just in quality and uniqueness. Americans are more accustomed to big portions of steaks, but these are not American cows.

Traditionally, in Japan, Wagyu is cut into a couple of thin slices and eaten as a topping on rice. The best way to enjoy Wagyu without the stomach ache is eating it in small portions at a time. The high-fat content of this beef makes it harder to digest as quickly. Eating it in small portions will also let the meat last longer for you to savor anyway.

Another positive about eating Wagyu are its health benefits. Sustainable Natural Foods, where Browsey Acres acquires its cattle, describes the rich health benefits that come with Wagyu beef. After much study, they’ve concluded that Wagyu beef has been shown to prevent diseases like coronary artery disease, hypertension, arthritis, cancer, and more. Most importantly, it is high in healthy unsaturated fats, and the saturated fat that does exist has little impact on raising cholesterol, unlike other beef. This is partially why in our now uber health-conscious society, Wagyu is people’s first choice when they “treat themselves”.