5 Things to Know Before Buying Wagyu Beef Online
Despite the prevalence of online shopping, many people are still hesitant about buying meats and other perishables online. When it comes to something like Wagyu beef, you might think buying online is not a good idea.
However, this is not true. It is entirely possible to find high-quality genuine Wagyu beef online.
And, obviously, A5 Meats is one of the best places to shop Wagyu online.
Of course, buying anything online can be hard if you don’t know what to look for. So today we want to talk about 5 key pieces of information that you should look into when buying Wagyu beef online.
Wagyu grading is largely handled by the Japanese Meat Grading Association (JMGA), which is the main body that looks over meat production in Japan, just like the USDA oversees it in the US. The JMGA rating for Wagyu is based on several factors, including fat content, coloring, cut shape, texture, and type of cut (e.g. ribeye, filet, sirloin, etc.
In general, Wagyu beef is given a grade between 1-5. This grade is itself based on a quality score that is between 1-12.
- Poor (1)
- Below Average (2)
- Average (3-4)
- Good (5-7)
- Excellent (8-12)
You might sometimes see a letter next to Wagyu grading (such as A5). The letter refers to yield grade, which is a different measurement than quality.
In order for beef to count as Japanese Wagyu, it must come from 1 of 4 species of Japanese cow: Kuroge (Japanese Black), Akage (Japanese Brown), Nihon Tankaku (Japanese Shorthorn), and Mukaku (Japanese Polled).
If beef does not come from one of these cows, it is not really Japanese Wagyu. Beef that markets itself as ‘Wagyu-style’ is a scam. There is no Wagyu-style as it refers to specific breeds of cow. Wagyu cows not only must come from a specific species but they are also raised and bred in a specific way to maximize intramuscular marbling and meat content.
So when looking at a company, make sure that they provide transparent information on where they get their cows and how they raise them. Generally, Wagyu cows are raised in open ranges and are not overexerted to keep their meat soft and tender.
Packaging and delivery are also important considerations.
In general, Wagyu beef is frozen and packaged with dry ice to keep the meat cold while it is in transit - which is a huge mistake if you ask us. You can then thaw the meat out 48 hours before preparing and then start cooking.
At A5 Meats, we send Wagyu in special chilled containers to keep the meat fresh. Our Wagyu is also vacuumed and sealed to preserve freshness.
Under no circumstance do you want packaged Wagyu that has preservatives or additives to keep it fresh. The best Wagyu comes from natural-fed cows with 0 pesticides, hormones, or other artificial substances.
4. Company Reputation
Company reputation is also very important. You can most of the time get an accurate gauge of company reputation through customer testimonials on their website and other outlets.
Reputable companies tend to have a good social media presence and also have websites that are well made, neat, and responsive. You can often tell a lot about how legitimate a company is by how well its site is constructed and how it runs.
Try to find other reviews not on the official site too; that way you can be sure you are not getting modified reviews.
Obviously, price is another factor to take into consideration. Every company will say you are getting the best value for the price, but that is what you would expect them to say, no?
The exact price will depend on the kind of cut that you get. In general, prime cuts like tenderloin, filet, and ribeye will be more expensive than sub-prime meat such as chuck, short ribs, or flank.
Very high-grade Wagyu can cost up to $200 a pound and a single Wagyu cow can sell for at least $30,000.
So when shopping around, make sure that the price of the beef matches up to the quality of how the cows are bred, raised, packaged, and shipped.
Wagyu beef used to be a rarity outside of Japan but times are changing. Now you can find Wagyu beef online and have it delivered directly to your front door.
So if you want to experience this world-famous savory beef, then make sure you do your research before buying Wagyu beef from a company online. Make sure that they have their Wagyu cows properly certified, their meat graded, and they are transparent about their herd management techniques.
Also, make sure that you know how their meat is packaged and delivered.
You don't want any of the hassle mentioned above? Check out our Wagyu catalog, complete your order in minutes and enjoy your steak with a peace of mind.