The UK's 'most expensive ribeye steak' goes on sale
It's A5-rated Wagyu beef – something which is awarded to only 1% of Japanese beef
If there's any meat that deserves to be considered as the king of all meats, it's Wagyu beef. Coming from special cattle that are raised in a special way and fed a special diet that's thought to provide the greatest quality meat possible, Wagyu beef has become an essential option for anyone wanting to create the best quality food with a more than premium price.
The cream of the crop is the A5-rated stuff, a rating that only 1% of Japanese beef ever achieves because of the incredibly strict and demanding standards that need to be met to reach that rating.
A5-rated Wagyu steaks are now being sold by high-end London butchers for the first time and, as you'd expect, if you want a cut of this stuff it'll cost you. In fact, it will set you back an incredible £120 for a 250g steak!
There are a lot of stories and rumours that float around regarding the farming and production of Wagyu beef. Japanese Wagyu farmers reportedly only keep up to four cattle at a time to give each one the maximum amount of care and attention that they can.
Gunma Wagyu cattle (the cattle that produce the A5-rated steaks that are being sold in the UK) are fed with wheat and corn for three years (7 to 8 times longer than regular cattle) and it's widely believed that the grass and water from the region contributes to the aroma of the fat from the beef. Rumours also abound that the cattle are massaged regularly and they even fed the occasional drink of beer to produce the right amount of inter-muscular fat that's responsible for the meat's rich and desirable flavour, although these assertions have been repeatedly said to just be myth and the results of misunderstandings.
George Hixson, who runs Tom Hixson of Smithfield (one of those high-end London butchers that boasts a whole gamut of celebrity customers), has said that the A5 Wagyu steak is "by far and away the rarest rib eye we have ever had available. There is not a lot of it around. The selection process is rigorous and it’s time consuming to create... It’s so unique and so perfect that as soon as you take it out of its shrink-wrap it will decrease in value because air affects its texture. " He also explained that this stuff is far away from being "a normal supermarket cut." Whilst 250g may seem like a fairly small amount for a steak for an entire dinner, Hixson says that the top-quality Japanese beef "would satisfy your appetite because it is so rich. "
As for who buys this incredibly rare and expensive meat, Hixson explained that "Wagyu customers tend to be high-net worth business-people and private chefs. A lot of people will buy for occasions so they will be having well-heeled guests over for dinner or they will use it all for themselves for a special occasion. " That definitely makes sense, considering how rare and expensive this meat is. You definitely wouldn't to waste it on just a common or garden dinner!