You've seen it talked about everywhere, it seems everyone is selling a Wagyu burger, even Arby's is getting in on the action. How can wagyu beef be so special, yet everywhere all at once? What's the difference between regular and wagyu beef? Why is it so expensive?
At Cross Creek Ranch we care about transparency and honesty. Wagyu is important to us. We sell two kinds of Wagyu beef.
First we sell American Wagyu, it is a hybrid angus wagyu beef that is beautifully marbled, higher graded than USDA Prime, and has a more traditional steak flavor.
Second we sell Full Blood Wagyu. This is where both the father and the mother of the cow were full blood genetically verified lineage Wagyu. There are not many Full Blood Wagyu cattle raised in the US and we are so proud to be a ranch that offers this quality.
"Wagyu" is a Japanese term that simply means "Japanese Cow" ("Wa" - "Japanese", "gyu" - "cow"), and refers to 4 breeds of cow that originated in Japan: Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu), Japanese Brown (Akage Washu or Akaushi), Japanese Polled (Mukaku Washu), and Japanese Shorthorn (Nihon Tankaku Washu). Of the four, only Kuroge Washu (Black) and Akage Washu (Brown) are available outside of Japan. Amongst the two varieties available in the US, the Black possesses unique DNA which produces the legendary intramuscular fat that Wagyu is known for. Cross Creek Ranch Wagyu Beef genetics are exclusive Japanese Black (Kuroage Washu) and have a pure bloodline tracing back to Japan.
The image on the left is a comparison of a Wagyu steak and a USDA Prime steak. The Wagyu beef quality is far superior to any USDA Prime beef because of the extensive intramuscular fat that is shown in the zebra-like patterning on the beef cut. The USDA Prime is the less desirable choice because the dispersed intramuscular fat is very limited, which will have less overall flavor and tenderness.
Care Creates Quality
Wagyu is a delectable meat because of the care and maintenance put into the life of the cattle. Cross Creek Ranch takes extensive measures to ensure that their cows have a stress-free environment. Reducing stress is a key factor in beef quality, because as stress hormones (cortisol) are raised, the less tender or flavorful the beef becomes. Cross Creek Ranch gives their Wagyu a stress-free environment by providing clean snow-melted water, clean air from open blue skies, and nutritious diets that are a mixture of grass feeding and hay with zero pesticides.
Flavor is in the Fat
When cooking beef, the flavor is in the fat. In the United States, the USDA graded meats normally contain small amounts of fat that develop on the outside of the muscle. The layer of intramuscular fat on USDA Prime meats forms a distinct layer which is normally cooked with the meat to develop flavor, but many people do not enjoy the fat on the steak when served. Wagyu yields superior flavor because the fat is interspersed into the muscle, so when the steak is served there is not a mound of fat, but fat that has fused into the meat to develop succulent flavor.
Preparing the Best Wagyu
Wagyu is a meat that requires more care than your standard beef. Wagyu does not require any extra spicing up, because alterations to the meat will take away from the natural umami flavor that makes Wagyu a premium beef.
To maintain the excellent flavor of Wagyu, simple preparation is suggested: salt, pepper, and a hint of garlic spice. For seasoning, large flake sea salt is the most desirable for the perfect steak. Large flake sea salt will enhance the Wagyu richness, succulence, and unique umami flavor.
Remember to season all sides of your beef cut. Seasoning the top, bottom, and sides of the meat is critical for preparing Wagyu, especially on thicker cuts.
Now that you know what makes your Wagyu special, you can become an expert Wagyu chef using our cooking instructions page
For those passionate about Wagyu breeds and bloodlines, check out our foundation sires page!