Where Does Wagyu Beef Come From?

The taste of premium wagyu beef is truly one-of-a-kind. Wagyu is known for its high intramuscular fat content, which produces outstanding marbling and a rich, umami flavor that isn’t found in other meat products. The result is a buttery texture that melts in your mouth, creating a decadent dining experience. Wagyu is flavorful, juicy, and healthier than you would expect from red meat. Naturally, not all cattle are wagyu cattle because not all beef is wagyu. So, where does wagyu beef come from? The answer is four specific breeds of Japanese cattle…though that doesn’t mean that all wagyu comes from Japan. Starting in the 1990s, Japan shipped a very limited number of wagyu cattle around the world which were then cross-bred with local breeds, creating American wagyu, Australian wagyu, and even British wagyu. Of course, Japanese wagyu remains the most famous variety and commands the highest price.

At Hall Farmstead, we’re proud to offer premium Japanese-American wagyu. All of our Artisan wagyu cattle are DNA tested and tracked for authenticity, repeatability, and consistency, ensuring the cuts of beef we produce exceed expectations each and every time. Continue reading to learn more about wagyu beef and what makes our beef products stand out from the

Which cattle breeds produce wagyu beef?

Wagyu literally translates to “Japanese cow,” but where wagyu beef comes from is a little more complicated than that. While Japan has six native breeds of cattle, only four of them are considered wagyu cattle: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. More than 90% of Japanese beef comes from the Japanese Black breed, making the other three much smaller by comparison.

At Hall Farmstead, we wanted to sell wagyu beef that stood out for its quality even among other wagyu products, so we decided against the Japanese Black breed. Instead, our experts scoured the globe, sampling the best luxury beef products and the finest steakhouse recipes. Ultimately, we chose Japanese Brown; more specifically, the Kumamoto Red breed commonly called Akaushi. Akaushi literally translates to “red cow,” and the conditions on our farm in Monroe
County, Kentucky, closely mirror those in the Kumamoto Prefecture where the breed originated.

Akaushi wagyu cattle go by other names as well, including the “Emperor’s Breed,” Japanese Red, and Kumamoto Red. The important things to remember are that Akaushi produces the most exquisite wagyu no matter what you call it and the entire herd at Hall Farmstead has a verifiable Akaushi bloodline.

Why did Hall Farmstead select Akaushi cattle for our premium Japanese-American wagyu?

There are several reasons why we chose Akaushi wagyu cattle as the basis of our meat. First, the cows have a genetic predisposition to store fat on the inside of their muscles instead of the outside, leading to exceptional marbling and an explosion of succulent juices with every mouthful. There is also less waste, allowing Akaushi wagyu to deliver more value than other forms of wagyu beef.

Then, there is the taste of the beef. Akaushi wagyu has a sweet taste with less of the gamey flavor sometimes associated with beef. The resulting deep, meaty flavor is often preferred by American palettes to traditional Japanese wagyu, which many find too rich for regular consumption. In fact, the highest grade of Japanese wagyu (A5) is often considered more of a novelty than a practical meal plan even in Japan.

Indeed, the American market is quite picky when it comes to meat, and especially wagyu beef. Most American wagyu vendors use a 50/50 split between wagyu cattle and an American breed like Black Angus to get a taste closer to a traditional USDA Prime cut, but we believe Americans both want and deserve a more indulgent experience than that. Therefore, our Artisan wagyu cattle have the following genetics:  A minimum of 15/16 Japanese Akaushi wagyu for the rich, succulent flavor of Japanese beef. The resulting American raised wagyu provides a luxury dining experience like no other.

Is it true that wagyu beef is healthy?

Akaushi meat provides many health benefits that aren’t traditionally associated with red meat as well. For example, the cow’s predisposition to store fat on the interior of its muscles makes the resulting wagyu steak leaner. That means you’re consuming fewer calories than you would be with some other beef products. Wagyu cooks more quickly than the average steak even though it looks the same for the same reason, so be careful to avoid overcooking.

Akaushi beef also has a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats relative to saturated fats, a combination that the American Heart Association associates with lower cholesterol levels and potential weight loss. Akaushi beef is high in high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol as well. HDL is the good kind and helps eliminate LDL (bad cholesterol) from the arteries, often reducing blood pressure and the risk of developing several diseases. Similarly, consuming wagyu may
help you reduce your triglycerides and support your overall heart health.

Furthermore, Akaushi wagyu is rich in oleic acid: a compound found in olive oil that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recognizes as a heart-healthy food. Oleic acid has also been shown to help with blood sugar management, insulin control, and the performance of blood vessels. Oleic acid also gives our premium Japanese-American wagyu its signature buttery flavor and texture.

Akaushi wagyu is high in CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, too. Extensive research has shown this fatty acid to help individuals reduce their cholesterol and limit their risk of developing life-threatening medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. It may also boost the performance of the body’s natural immune system.

Our Japanese-American wagyu contains high levels of omega-3s that can support vision health including reducing the risk of conditions such as glaucoma and dry eyes. Omega-3s may also support blood flow to the brain, improving memory and potentially reducing the risk of dementia.

Like other beef products, Akaushi wagyu is a rich source of high biological proteins, meaning that the protein is in a form easily accessible to the human body. Eating wagyu has also been associated with reduced inflammation and a lower risk of developing obesity. It contains other essential nutrients such as iron as well, making our Japanese-American wagyu one of the healthiest, most flavorful meats available in America.

Hall Farmstead makes it easy to enjoy delectable wagyu beef

Now that you know where wagyu beef comes from, we bet you’re ready to try it for yourself. Hall Farmstead offers a multitude of buying options and valuable information to help you find the perfect steak for your needs. You can subscribe to our delivery service and receive premium Japanese-American wagyu on your hunger schedule, including exclusive cuts of beef that otherwise aren’t available. Or, you can shop an extensive catalog of premium wagyu cuts.

If you’d like some expert advice on wagyu before you make a purchase, Hall Farmstead can help with cooking tips, complementary dishes for the unique taste of wagyu, and more. All of our artisan wagyu cattle are DNA-tested and tracked for authenticity, repeatability, and consistency, so you know that you’ll be receiving the best of the best whenever you choose our products.

If you claim to love steak, you owe it to yourself to experience the rich, luscious umami flavor of wagyu beef. Place your order today to experience a once-in-a-lifetime meal you won’t soon forget!