American Wagyu is a breed combo that we first bred in 2019. We also tried some in 2020 in hopes that the first iteration, Special Release #2, would turn out well. You just never know until you take a bite of a Ribeye!
Luckily, after trying out that first American Wagyu, we knew we wanted more. We didn’t settle on repeating past successes though; we wanted to change things up a bit. This time, we wanted to do it like they do it in Japan, where Wagyu originated from. We asked our local feed store to produce a custom blended feed for us and we started the labor intensive process of daily grain feeding while managing to always have fresh, lush Fescue available.
It takes a minimum of six months of grain feeding, but we believe the results are worth it. Our Special Release #3 is a Grass Fed and Grain Finished American Wagyu.
If you’ve read our post on our Grass Finished American Wagyu, then you already know some of the history of how Wagyu got to Japan. If you haven’t, then check this out:
Wagyu has been produced in Japan for centuries, but not for meat. Before 1868 they were bred as draft animals with a focus on endurance. This breeding led to inadvertently selecting cows with large stores of fat inside the muscles, which gave the working animals easy stores of energy to access. When Emperor Meiji publicly ate beef for the first time in 1868, beef consumption in Japan went from rare to popular.
Four bulls were imported to America in 1976, but no females. This allowed for half breed offspring…what we refer to as American Wagyu. Years later in 1993, females were imported for the first time, allowing for the first domestically raised fullblood Wagyu. However, shortly after in 1997, a permanent ban was placed on exporting Wagyu from Japan, and has been in place ever since. All of our Wagyu animals in America are descended from the original stock.
If you’ve eaten fullblood Wagyu before, it’s quite an experience. It’s best described by our Craft Master Ben as “rich…maybe too rich.” Though Wagyu steak can be amazing, people typically only eat one or two thin sliced ounces at a time in Japan. It’s more of a delicacy than a meal staple.
Here in America, steak often forms the core of a meal. American Wagyu are mostly crossed with other British or Continental breeds like Angus to create a best-of-both-worlds experience that can be enjoyed in larger quantities. That’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve selected our finest Angus cows and cross bred them with full blooded Wagyu bulls.
It takes a long time and we use our finest grasses that we save specifically for finishing these steers, but we believe that this is an experience that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. It wouldn’t even be possible to finish an animal like this in most parts of the US due to limitations on growing quality grasses with a high enough carbohydrate content.
If you’re a fan of marbling above all else, then this beef is for you. These steaks are usually very marbled, sometimes even surpassing the USDA scale for marbling’s highest grade of High Prime. For reference, the best steak houses usually purchase Low Prime. Don’t get concerned about too much marbling though. By crossing our Wagyu with Angus, we keep the marbling high but not too high, while also increasing the flavor.
The result is a mild, rich, smooth beef. You won’t find the robust grass flavors that we’re known for. The fat is literally “melt in your mouth” due to the high levels of unsaturated fats. Due to the richness, you may want to have a friend help you with the big steaks!
Now we get this question often when discussing high marbling Wagyu: Isn’t all that fat bad for you? The answer is NO!
The marbling in Wagyu beef has high concentrations of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. This is the same healthy fat found in olive oil and almonds. It’s known for the potential of lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and raising HDL cholesterol (the good kind). According to research, this reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Don’t feel bad about taking a bite of these steaks!
As with all of our Special Releases, we don’t have this available often, and when we do it goes quick. Those that have signed up for our email list are always the first to know about these Special Releases. If you haven’t, you might want to consider it. Don’t miss out!