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What is Wagyu?

Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle (“Wa” meaning Japanese and “Gyu” meaning Cattle). Although, the Wagyu breed was not developed out of the necessity for beef. They were developed in Japan for the purpose of mechanizing the farming industry as draft animals. They were brought over to the United States in the mid-1970s, and have since been bred for their unsurpassed quality and taste.

Between 1976 and 1997, Fullblood(100%) Wagyu were exported from Japan to the U.S. In 1997 after exporting close to 200 cattle, Japan put the export ban (for live cattle) back in place and Fullblood Wagyu were no longer exported. Today, Wagyu beef connoisseurs throughout the U.S. are aware of the beef’s superior taste and quality and utilize much of the domestic Wagyu production.

Why consider Wagyu?

Wagyu beef is a high-quality, premium beef that is known for its rich flavor and tender texture. There are several reasons why you might want to consider purchasing Wagyu beef:

  1. Flavor: Wagyu beef is prized for its distinctive, buttery flavor. This is due to its high marbling content, which provides a juicy and rich taste that is unmatched by other types of beef.

  2. Quality: Wagyu beef is carefully raised and processed to ensure the highest quality and consistency. This results in a tender and juicy product that is of a higher quality than many other types of beef.

  3. Health Benefits: Unlike other types of beef, Wagyu beef has a high percentage of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are considered to be healthy fats. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, iron, and other essential nutrients.

  4. Versatility: Wagyu beef can be used in a variety of dishes, from grilled steaks to stews, soups, and burgers. Its rich flavor makes it an excellent choice for a wide range of recipes, and it can elevate the taste of any meal.

If you are looking for a high-quality beef that offers an exceptional flavor and texture, Wagyu beef is an excellent choice.

Health benefits of Wagyu

Wagyu beef has been touted as having a number of health benefits due to its unique fatty acid composition. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Heart health: The high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in Wagyu beef have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  2. Anti-inflammatory properties: The high levels of oleic acid in Wagyu beef have been linked to reduced inflammation in the body, which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders.

  3. Better brain function: The high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in Wagyu beef have been linked to improved cognitive function, including memory and learning ability.

  4. Weight management: The unique fat composition of Wagyu beef can help you feel full for longer, which may reduce the overall amount of food you eat and help with weight management.

How does it get so marbled and tender?

Wagyu beef gets its unique marbling and tenderness due to a combination of genetics and the way the cattle are raised and fed.

  1. Genetics: The breed of cattle used to produce Wagyu beef has a genetic predisposition to producing high levels of intramuscular fat, which contributes to the characteristic marbling in the meat.

  2. Feeding practices:  Grass-fed beef refers to beef that comes from cattle that have been raised primarily on a diet of grass, rather than grain-based feed. This diet, along with the slow pace of growth for the cattle, results in high levels of marbling in the meat.

  3. Stress-free environment: In order to produce the highest-quality meat, Wagyu cattle must be raised in a stress-free environment. This includes providing the animals with plenty of space to move around, clean living conditions, and minimal handling to minimize stress.

The combination of genetics, diet, and a stress-free environment results in meat that is highly marbled, tender, and flavorful. These factors also contribute to the high cost of Wagyu beef, as raising and caring for the cattle in this manner is time-consuming and requires a significant investment.

Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef has been touted as a healthier alternative to grain-fed beef, due to differences in the fatty acid composition and nutrient content. Here are some of the health benefits associated with grass-fed beef:

  1. Higher in healthy fatty acids: Grass-fed beef is higher in beneficial fatty acids such as Omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to grain-fed beef.

  2. Lower in saturated fat: Grass-fed beef has a lower overall fat content and a lower saturated fat content than grain-fed beef.

  3. Rich in vitamins and minerals: Grass-fed beef is a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

  4. Antioxidant content: Some studies have shown that grass-fed beef contains higher levels of antioxidants, which help to protect against cellular damage and may have anti-inflammatory effects.

  5. Better for the environment: Raising cattle on grass is generally considered to have a lower environmental impact than grain-fed operations, which can help to reduce the carbon footprint of beef production.

It’s important to note that while grass-fed beef has been associated with a number of health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of this type of beef on human health. Additionally, not all grass-fed beef is created equal, and factors such as the type of grasses the cattle were fed, and the conditions in which they were raised, can impact the quality of the beef and its health benefits.

What sets 100% Wagyu apart from American Wagyu?

Our American Wagyu beef is carefully crafted right here on our Farmstead by breeding our 100% Wagyu cattle with American Domestic Breeds. Every sire is personally selected by Glen himself.

When it comes to Wagyu, it refers to beef originating from cattle with Japanese genetic heritage, even if they are raised in the United States. This category encompasses both cattle imported directly from Japan and those born from a mix of Japanese and American bloodlines. The quality of Wagyu beef can vary significantly based on factors like their diet, processing methods, and the specific cattle breeds involved.

American Wagyu, on the other hand, designates the first-generation offspring produced from the union of a purebred Japanese Wagyu bull and a non-Wagyu cow, typically an American breed like Angus. This results in Cross Wagyu with a genetic makeup consisting of 50% Wagyu and 50% of another breed. This is known as ‘F1’ or American Wagyu beef, the characteristics of which depend on the specific cattle genetics, their diet, and the processing techniques employed.

Crossbreeding, which involves mating Wagyu cattle with conventional breeds like Angus, is a common practice in the United States and leads to ‘Wagyu-Influenced’ cattle and beef products. Out of roughly 30,000 Wagyu-Influenced cattle in the USA, an estimated 85% are crossbred.

In general, it’s important to note that American Wagyu may not exhibit the same extensive marbling, flavor, and texture as Japanese Wagyu. However, it still delivers a high-quality beef product cherished for its tenderness and taste. Due to lower marbling, American Wagyu typically has less fat content than Japanese Wagyu, resulting in a robust, beefy flavor that many enjoy when incorporated into well-known dishes. The outcome is a delightful equilibrium of tenderness, texture, and flavor.

Oostema Farmstead is a proud member of the American Wagyu Association.

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