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What Does Wagyu Steak Taste Like?

Wagyu slices in the article about the taste of Wagyu steaks

Wagyu steak has an unique taste which, if you haven’t tasted it before, can be difficult to describe.

You may think it would taste no different from any other steak on the market, but actually, there are some characteristics of this delicious steak that distinguish it from the rest. 

Wagyu steak comes from the Wagyu cow which is a cow native to Japan. It may also be known as simply ‘Japanese cow’ and as such, ‘Japanese steak’. The term Wagyu, however, is not just a term for one breed of cow, but several of them. [Wikipedia]

There are four different breeds of cattle in Japan, all of which can be used for Wagyu steak. 

But What Does Wagyu Steak Taste Like?

The delectable flavors of the Wagyu steak are partly thanks to the biology of the Wagyu cow. Wagyu cows have muscles that are laden with veins of fat. This means that the muscle tissue is covered with this interesting and tasty marbling effect.

This marbling effect is the fatty tissue and is a result of the Wagyu cow’s genetic makeup that allows this to happen.  The reason for this is because when a Wagyu eats food, any fat from the food gets stored in the muscle, rather than in other parts of its body. 

What makes it so special is that other steaks do not have this marbled feature, and instead would have a cap of fat on them.

Now, this fat is packed full of flavor, and so rather than just being a cap on the steak that is more or less separate from the steak itself, it runs through the steak, giving flavor throughout.

What Does Wagyu Steak Taste Like?
Authentic A5 Wagyu from CrowdCow

The resulting steak of the Wagyu cow is juicy and rich and has become a favorite of steak enthusiasts around the globe.

Indeed, it has become akin to the likes of expensive champagne, caviar, gourmet chocolate, and the likes. It is a high-class eating experience to be savored. 

If you want to be part of this amazing experience, then you should try the A5 Wagyu Steaks offered by CrowdCow.

In terms of flavor, the best way to gain the flavor of the steak is to cut it thinly and do not cook it for too long. Check this article if you want to learn how to grill wagyu.

Keep in mind, Wagyu is not the best steak for fans of well-done, charred meat. However, if you like yours medium and below, then this is the one for you.

It is best eaten in small amounts, due to how rich and fatty it is. I use ‘fatty’ in the best way possible, as this is not the same sort of fattiness you would experience in a greasy takeout meal. This is a rich, buttery, light fat.

The flavor lent to the meat by these marbled veins of fat is akin to a light beer. It has an umami flavor and a sweetness at the end.

However, the taste of Wagyu steak that was bred in other countries is known to be a little different. Take American-bred Wagyu cattle, like the one sold by SnakeRiverFarms for example. Their steak is far more of a distinct beef-like taste, compared to that of the Angus steak.

It still features the buttery, soft richness as the Japanese version does, but is less fatty in comparison. 

What does a Wagyu burger taste like?

The taste of a Wagyu burger is, in many ways, similar to a regular burger. However, what is different is the subtle flavor profile underpinning the burger from the Wagyu beef. The flavor is similar to that of Wagyu Steaks and certainly has a similar texture.

What does a Wagyu burger taste like? Image of a Wagyu Burger made by SnakeRiverFarms
Seriously Good Wagyu Burgers From SnakeRiverFarms

You can try the famous wagyu burger patties from SnakeRiverFarms, if you are from the US. They have been voted the “world’s most decadent burger” by many major media outlets, such as CNN, The Today Show and others. Seriously, give it a try!

Wagyu burger is made from the ground beef of the Wagyu cow, a name given to four different breeds of cow that originate in Japan.

The Wagyu cow has marbled veins of fat through their muscles and, as such, produces a very distinct type of steak, both in look and taste. However, when the beef is ground as it would be for burgers, this marbled appearance is lost.

But, does this mean the taste is also lost? Not at all. The flavorful richness of the fat, even after being ground, remains, resulting in a burger that tastes similar to the steak.

In fact, you may even notice that the flavor is more intense from the Wagyu burger than the steak as it has been ground. You can taste the buttery, almost caramelized flavor of the fat coming through.  

You might think that ‘buttery’ is an odd description of a burger, but this is common for this type of meat. Actually, Wagyu Steak is often described as buttery, and I definitely agree.

From the taste to the texture, buttery is the first word that springs to mind, perhaps because of the marbles of fat running throughout.

The flavor profile of a Wagyu steak is akin to a light beer, with an umami taste (umami is salty, sour, bitter, and sweet all at once, like soy sauce) and a noticeable sweet edge at the end.

The sweet edge can be recognized in that caramel-like taste I noted in the previous paragraph and is especially tasty when it can be identified in a freshly grilled burger. 

Due to this tenderness of texture and flavor, it is recommended that you only cook Wagyu burgers to around medium rare. If you cook it for any longer than this, then you risk losing the juicy texture and flavor.

This can, however, take some getting used to, especially if you are someone who likes their burgers well done and without a pink middle. 

Wagyu burgers are often cooked without too much in the way of seasoning and flavors being added to them. This is in order to keep the original flavors of the beef intact.

You can simply use some salt and pepper if you wish, in order to keep it tasting authentically Wagyu-like. Or, if you prefer, choose some spices and herbs that complement the flavor well.

Since the beef is Japanese, you could experiment with some Asian-inspired flavors for your wagyu burgers such as ginger, garlic, and lemon. Or for a more traditional burger taste, get some of your favorite grilling seasoning on them. 

For more tips about Wagyu, check out my article about kitchen skills.



Richard is the founder of SteakBuff. He manages the team of expert writers on the site and is a foodie who loves eating steaks

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