A little history lesson about Wagyu beef

Wagyu beef is renowned for its incredible marbling, tenderness, and flavour. It has become a premium product sought after by foodies and chefs around the world. But how did Wagyu beef become such a highly prized commodity? In this article, we'll delve into the history of Wagyu beef and explore how it became one of the world's most desirable meats.

Wagyu beef burger

Wagyu beef originated in Japan, where it has been raised for centuries. The term "Wagyu" actually means "Japanese cow" and refers to several different breeds of cattle that are native to Japan. These breeds are prized for their exceptional meat quality due in part to their genetics and, in part, to their unique diet and lifestyle.

The history of Wagyu beef can be traced back to the 2nd century AD when cattle were first introduced to Japan from the Korean Peninsula. Over the centuries, the Japanese developed several different breeds of cattle, each with its own unique characteristics. These breeds were used for both beef and dairy production, with the emphasis on beef production increasing over time.

One of the most significant developments in the history of Wagyu beef came in the 17th century when the Japanese government began restricting beef consumption. This led to a decline in beef production. Still, it also created a new market for Wagyu beef as a luxury item. Wealthy Japanese families began raising Wagyu cattle for their own consumption. Soon, the meat became synonymous with luxury and exclusivity.

Somebody eating a Wagyu beef burger

In the late 19th century, Japan opened its doors to the rest of the world, and Wagyu beef began to gain international recognition. In the early 1900s, Wagyu cattle were exported to the United States and other countries, where they were crossbred with other cattle breeds to create new varieties of beef. However, these crossbred cattle did not have the same meat quality as purebred Wagyu cattle, and the demand for authentic Wagyu beef remained high.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Wagyu beef began gaining even more popularity worldwide. The rise of high-end restaurants and gourmet food culture created a new market for premium ingredients, and Wagyu beef quickly became one of the most sought-after meats in the world. Today, Wagyu beef is produced in several countries, including the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Wagyu beef has become such a premium product because of its unique flavour and texture. It is known for its incredible marbling, which results from the high levels of intramuscular fat in the meat. This fat gives the beef a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, beefy flavour, unlike any other type of beef.

Another factor that has contributed to the premium status of Wagyu beef is the way it is raised. Wagyu cattle are grown with great care, often in small herds, and are given special diets and treatments to enhance the quality of the meat. For example, some Wagyu cattle are fed beer or sake to enhance the flavour of the meat. In contrast, others are massaged or given unique exercise regimens to improve muscle tone and texture.

Two Wagyu beef burgers

The history of Wagyu beef is a fascinating tale of luxury, exclusivity, and exceptional meat quality. From its origins in Japan to its current status as a premium product sought after by foodies and chefs worldwide, Wagyu beef has come a long way. Whether you're a meat lover or simply appreciate the finer things in life, Wagyu beef is an experience not to be missed.


Are you looking for a little slice of history? Try out one of our delicious Waagyu Burgers today. Made using the finest Wagyu beef available in the UK, you will not find another burger like it. We deliver nationwide, and you can order a delectable selection of sides and drinks to accompany yours. Head over to our website today to order.

Top tip: use code 'DONTHAVEACOW' at checkout for a massive £10 off your Signature Waagyu Burger Kit.

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