What Is Miyazaki Wagyu? Foodie Guide to This Luxury Beef
Many meat-lovers are familiar with the coveted wagyu beef from Japan, but only the most curious carnivores may know about Miyazaki wagyu. More than just an ordinary cut of wagyu, Miyazaki wagyu represents the best of the best and is even called “the best wagyu in the world.”
What makes Miyazaki wagyu the best wagyu? It all comes down to its dedicated and caring farmers and detailed genetic tracking — but not even all Miyazaki wagyu is created equal. Here’s everything you need to know about the raising, grading, flavor, price and distributors of Miyazaki beef.
Jump to Section
- What Is Miyazaki Wagyu?
- Grading and Labelling of Miyazaki Wagyu
- The Flavor and Texture of Miyazaki Wagyu
- How Much Does A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Cost?
- Miyazaki vs. Kobe
- Where to Buy Miyazaki Beef
What Is Miyazaki Wagyu?
Miyazaki wagyu is a form of Japanese wagyu beef that originates from the Miyazaki prefecture. Miyazaki wagyu comes exclusively from Japanese black cows (known as Kuroge Washu), while wagyu beef in general must come from one of four breeds of Japanese cattle: Japanese brown, Japanese black, Japanese polled or Japanese shorthorn.
Essentially, all Miyazaki wagyu is wagyu, but not all wagyu is Miyazaki wagyu.
Wagyu farmers in the Miyazaki prefecture are extremely dedicated to their trade, usually only raising a few head of cattle at a time. These cows have a legendary breeding history, and each animal often comes with a pedigree and genetic identification record.
The cows are fed a fattening but balanced diet of corn, wheat and barley and are kept in very low-stress environments with plenty of room to roam and relax. The reason for this is that adrenaline from stressed cattle can toughen the meat, and the value of wagyu beef depends greatly on its tenderness and fat marbling.
Grading and Labelling of Miyazaki Wagyu
All wagyu is graded on a scale depending on the quality, texture, color and fat-marbling of the meat. Each cut of meat earns a grade between 1 and 5, with 5 being the best. Wagyu also earns a letter grade A, B or C depending on its ranking within each number grade. Wagyu can also be assessed on a BMS scale, which refers to the marbling of the meat and ranges from 3 to 12. So, Japanese A5 wagyu with BMS 12 would be considered some of the best possible wagyu in the world. A cut of A5 Miyazakigyu with BMS 12 or higher would be even more special!
You might see Miyazaki wagyu labeled in a few different ways, such as Miyazaki wagyu, Miyazaki kensan gyu, Miyazakigyu or simply “beef from Miyazaki prefecture.” While it might seem arbitrary, these names do have different meanings, so it’s important to know what you’re looking at before purchasing.
In order to be called Miyazakigyu, a cut of wagyu beef must originate from the Miyazaki prefecture, earn an A4 grade or higher and have a BMS score 7 or higher. If the beef earns less than an A4 or BMS 7, it may be called Miyazaki kensan gyu, Miyazaki wagyu or sometimes just Miyazaki beef.
The Flavor and Texture of Miyazaki Wagyu
Miyazaki wagyu is sometimes described as tasting “beefier” or more robust than other types of Japanese wagyu. Miyazaki beef can also have a more cherry-red tone to the meat than other types of wagyu beef.
Like most wagyu, however, Miyazaki wagyu has an incredibly rich flavor, tender texture and buttery mouthfeel. It is best when lightly seasoned and pan-seared, and should never be overcooked or drowned in spices. If you ever have the opportunity to try Miyazaki wagyu, you’ll want to experience the meat in all its natural tender glory.
How Much Does A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Cost?
A5 Miyazaki wagyu, or Miyazakigyu, is one of the most rare and delicate cuts of steak in the world. Because of its priceless nature and carefully guarded bloodlines, Miyazaki wagyu must be imported from Japan, or else it can’t technically be called Miyazaki wagyu.
As you might imagine, all this prestige leads to a pretty high price tag for Miyazaki wagyu. Imported Miyazaki wagyu can cost about $100 per pound, with A5 Miyazaki wagyu often costing more. A whole, live Miyazaki wagyu cow can go for as high as $30,000, so it’s understandable why a bite of its meat costs so much.
Miyazaki vs. Kobe
Kobe beef is another type of Japanese wagyu that comes from a specific location — the Hyogo prefecture, in this case. Like Miyazaki wagyu, Kobe beef must meet a set of strict requirements in order to be called “Kobe” at market. To earn the title of Kobe beef, the meat must be sourced from one of the four Japanese cattle breeds, come from a heifer or bullock and be born, raised and slaughtered in the Hyogo prefecture.
Kobe beef, or Kobe wagyu, is known to have a creamier, richer flavor than other standard wagyu breeds. It tastes very similar to Miyazaki wagyu, but Miyazakigyu actually outcompeted Kobe in the 9th and 10th Japanese National Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu, otherwise known as the “Wagyu Olympics.” Winning this competition gave Miyazakigyu the right to call itself the “best wagyu beef in the world.”
Both Kobe beef and Miyazaki wagyu are considered luxury cuts of meat. They both carry a high price tag, but Miyazaki wagyu can be slightly more expensive, depending on its quality, sourcing and cooking method. Kobe beef retails around $20 to $50 per ounce, while Miyazakigyu ranges between $35 and $50 per ounce — sometimes higher.
Where to Buy Miyazaki Beef
Miyazaki wagyu must be imported from Japan and cannot be bred, born, raised or slaughtered anywhere but the Miyazaki prefecture. While many shops are now authorized to sell real Miyazaki wagyu, Asia International, Inc. was the first distributor to be officially recognized and permitted to sell in the United States.
Purchasing online from Holy Grail Steaks is the easiest way to acquire guaranteed Miyazaki wagyu or any brand of A5 Japanese wagyu beef.
Before you buy that luxurious cut of A5 Miyazaki wagyu, it’s important that you know how to properly cook and enjoy it. Joining cooking classes near you or online cooking classes is a great way to taste and learn about Miyazaki wagyu before taking the big plunge into cooking it on your own. There are cooking classes in San Francisco all the way to cooking class in NYC and beyond, so you're likely to find a world-class chef ready to teach you everything you need to know about cooking beef.
When it comes to wagyu beef — or any meat for that matter — Miyazaki wagyu is the tender and delicate cream of the crop. The strict genetics of the wagyu cattle, their wholesome diets and their luxe lifestyle in the Miyazaki prefecture all come together to create a bright red meat that is incredibly soft, juicy and beautifully marbled. If you ever have the opportunity to taste this luxurious meat, we hope that your newfound knowledge will help you enjoy it even more!
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