Japanese A5 Wagyu vs American Wagyu vs USDA Prime
WHAT IS JAPANESE A5 WAGYU?
Japanese A5 Wagyu beef holds legendary status for many true beef lovers. As the name implies, Japanese A5 Wagyu comes from Japan and is one of the most expensive and richest tasting beef in the world.
You may be wondering where the term Wagyu comes from and in fact, Wagyu translates to “Japanese cow” in English. It’s the title given to the select cattle breeds that have been developed and cultivated for centuries in Japan.
A5 is the quality rating and tells you the excellence of the marbling, as well as what yield the beef comes from. In Japan, the Japanese Meat Grading Association (JMGA) oversees Wagyu beef grading. This rating accounts for the Wagyu beef’s meat color, fat color, rib eye shape and size, and its IMF% (marbling). Wagyu beef can be graded from 1-5, with five being the highest quality and one being the lowest
The letter in front, in this case A, refers to the yield grade. What is the yield grade? This encompasses the Wagyu’s ‘cutability.’ The higher the quality of the meat, the higher grade, in this case A.
Put it all together and you have Japanese A5 Wagyu, the highest grade for Wagyu beef. This means that Japanese A5 Wagyu cattle were fed high-quality foods like grains and corn. It also means that these cattle were exceptionally well taken care of while being raised.
JAPANESE A5 WAGYU’S TASTE AND TEXTURE
A5 Wagyu is renowned for its extreme amount of marbling, a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and rich, decadent flavor. In fact, the flavor profile can be so rich and the meat so fatty from the marbling, that it can often be enjoyed only in very small bites and portions.
HOW MUCH IS JAPANESE A5 WAGYU?
Japanese A5 Wagyu is quite rare and very expensive. You will not find it at your local supermarket or butcher, and there are only a select few restaurants throughout the United States that offer it on their menu. For example, the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas has it listed on their current dinner menu for between $240-300 for 4 ounces of A5 Wagyu. Conversely, that same menu offers our Snake River Farms dry aged Gold grade New York strip for $130 for 10 ounces of American Wagyu.
A5 WAGYU VS AMERICAN WAGYU
Speaking of American Wagyu, how does it stack up against Japanese A5 Wagyu? American Wagyu beef offers a rich, beefy flavor profile with plenty of deep marbling, creating tender, juicy steaks that are a treat for your taste buds. Because you’re likely to only enjoy small amounts of A5 Wagyu, American Wagyu is an excellent alternative as it offers the same attributes as A5, but without being overwhelming.
A5 WAGYU VS USDA PRIME
With all this talk of Japanese A5 and American Wagyu, we tend to forget about USDA Prime beef. Snake River Farms own Double-R Ranch raises high-quality cattle that produce fine USDA Prime beef. Prime Grade is the highest beef grading given to beef in the U.S. by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Prime beef doesn’t offer the same level of marbling that both Japanese A5 and American Wagyu do. That marbling is what separates Wagyu and USDA Prime beef and what makes Wagyu so delicious. However, don’t underestimate the quality, taste, and experience of a USDA Prime cut of beef.
IS JAPANESE A5 WAGYU THE BEST?
It depends on who you ask. In terms of official rating, perhaps. But it is also the richest in flavor and the most expensive, meaning A5 Wagyu may be a great option for a truly one-of-a-kind occasion. However, as a selection for your weekly steak dinner, A5 is not the best choice. American Wagyu, with its rich marbling and beefy flavor, is the preferred and affordable choice for a special celebration, while USDA Prime beef is ideal for your everyday or weekly steak meal.
SNAKE RIVER FARMS AMERICAN WAGYU AND USDA PRIME BEEF
Now that you understand what Japanese A5 Wagyu is and how it compares to American Wagyu and USDA Prime beef, it’s time to enjoy an elevated steak experience with Snake River Farms American Wagyu and USDA Prime beef.