Despite Wagyu beef originating in Japan, there is a rising market for Australian Wagyu beef. Bred, fed, grown and processed at various ranches around Australia, Australian Wagyu often finds its origins from the Japanese regions of Tajima, Tottori, Shimane and Okayama.
Whereas Japanese Wagyu can be guaranteed as 100% fullblood Wagyu thanks to the pure lineage and lack of crossbreeding, this isn’t the case in Australia.
Is Wagyu Beef Australian?
Around 95% of Australian Wagyu has been crossbred with other breeds of cattle meaning that you don’t have that same standard as found in Japanese Wagyu. This makes Australian Wagyu a cheaper alternative for those who cannot afford the Japanese variation.
With so much specialized treatment going into ensuring that the Wagyu is cared for correctly, Australian Wagyu still maintains the key aspects expected of the meat such as the rich marbling and buttery taste.
Australian Wagyu was one of the first Wagyu variations to be bred outside of Japan and has filled a growing market that wants luxurious meats at more affordable prices.
We’ve gathered everything you need to know about Australian Wagyu beef and how it differs from Japanese Wagyu so you’ll have a better understanding and knowledge of what to expect.
Is Australian Wagyu as good as Japanese?
Australian Wagyu is seen as a cheaper alternative to Japanese Wagyu as 95% of the cattle are crossbred.
Australian Wagyu has a huge amount of intramuscular fat (IMF) which helps to make it beautifully marbled, however, it is not as marbled to the extent that Japanese Wagyu is.
This is because all Japanese Wagyu comes from pure bloodlines so the meat is always going to be the optimum quality.
There is also a key difference in the grading systems of Wagyu in Australia and Japan. In Australia there are two grading systems which are AUS-MEAT and Meat Standards Australia.
Both of these boards rank the marbling from 0 to 9 with Australian Wagyu often receiving a 6 grade on average.
On the other hand, Japanese Wagyu is graded using the Japanese Beef Grading System which rates the yield from A to C, the beef quality from 1 to 5 and the beef marble score from 3 to 12.
The best grade a piece of beef can receive is the coveted A5 rating which can only be given to a prized piece of Japanese Wagyu.
Is Australian Wagyu beef grass-fed?
Regular cattle and sheep are often grass fed as this is a cheaper and easier means of feeding and accounts for two thirds of all cattle and sheep meat production.
Wagyu meat can be grass fed and this does aid its marbling, however, for those who want to retain meat of the highest quality then you’ll find that pure bloodline specialist farmers will feed their Wagyu cattle on a grain based diet.
This helps to produce highly consistent marbling in the meat. They are put on this diet for over 300 days to ensure that the quality is consistent in its texture. With the highest quality Wagyu beef being sold at $450/kg, it is the most expensive meat sold in Australia.
As the majority of Australian Wagyu is crossbred, having a grass fed diet isn’t going to affect the marbling as much as if the cattle was of a pure bloodline.
Therefore, the majority of farms who work with crossbreed Wagyu can vary in their diet as the quality will likely remain the same.
In conclusion, Australian Wagyu may not be to the same quality standards as Japanese but it is still a fantastic cut of meat and is the most expensive kind of Australian meat available on the market.
Boasting the signature marbling and buttery taste, Australian Wagyu is a great introduction to luxurious meats or those who want to try Wagyu without paying the extortionate price tag.
Made at specialized farms where the cattle is bred and raised correctly to ensure the meat is always of the highest quality, you’re not going to be disappointed with the taste of Australian Wagyu.
Although there are many similarities between Australian and Japanese Wagyu, the differences are also important to be aware of. This means you’ll know what to expect.