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Wagyu Beef: Everything You Need to Know

When you think of Wagyu you think of luxury. This exclusive beef is synonymous with Michelin-starred restaurants and triple digit pricing. Unsure of what makes Wagyu beef so special? The Dole & Bailey team is here to help! We compiled a bullet point list explaining why Wagyu beef is truly an out-of-this-world dining experience.

  • Wagyu means “Japanese cow”
  • Wagyu isn’t an umbrella term for any Japanese cow, it refers specifically to a breed of Japanese cattle with special genetic qualities.
  • Wagyu has a genetic predisposition to create an outstanding marbling of fat on the inside of the muscle tissue unlike any other livestock.
  • The cattle are raised in a stress-free environment. Stress creates cortisol (a natural steroid hormone that is created when the body is responding to stress) which will deteriorate the quality of beef.
  • Wagyu cattle are constantly monitored- often every four hours.
  • There's a rating system for Wagyu beef! A5 represents the most premium level of wagyu.
    • The “A” represents a cattle that has the highest meat yield (a skinny cow will get a “B” rating)
    • The “5” represents the Beef Marbling Standard (BMS) rating. The BMS is a scale of 1-12 and relates to the quality of marbling. A “12” is the highest degree of marbling. To be rated A5, the meat must have a BMS of 8 to 12. A4 must have a rating between 6 through 8.
  • In Japan, rating wagyu is a highly regarded skill. It takes 3+ years of training to learn all the essential information.
  • Each animal is rated by three separate raters.
  • What differentiates Japanese Wagyu from American Wagyu? Japanese Wagyu is purebred, while American is crossbred. While American also has outstanding marbling, the cattle is most likely wagyu bred with angus.

In our online shop, we offer Miyazakigyu. Miyazaki beef is 100% purebred Japanese Wagyu from the Miyachiku co-op. The name of the breed of cow that is used is Kuroge Washu, also known as "Japanese Black". It is the largest of the four types of Wagyu cattle that exist today.

Looking to do a sampling for friends and family? Japanese A5 Wagyu is unique and luxurious food that requires very little beyond the meat itself to create a once in a lifetime experience. Although called "Wagyu Beef" it does not cook or eat like beef and must be handled a little differently. It is incredibly rich so a 1-2 ounce serving per person is ideal, anymore becomes overwhelming. Pan searing is the ideal preparation for the home cook, but be careful. Preheat your pan over medium heat. If your pan is too hot the meat will flare up and burn quickly. Sear each side until golden brown and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice each cube into three pieces per person. Have your guests taste in three courses:
  1. Without seasoning
  2. With good sea salt and pepper
  3. With a mix of soy, sriracha and lime juice

Each course will bring out different nuances of the beef and make for a fun experience. 

Bottom line: Wagyu beef is an outstanding cooking and dining experience. With it's unparalleled marbling and buttery texture, you will struggle to find a finer piece of meat.

Questions? The Dole & Bailey team LOVE chatting about food! Shoot us an e-mail at and we will get back to you!