What's the Most Expensive Steak in the World?

September 22, 2022

As a steak master or steak enthusiast, if anyone asks me what the most expensive steak is in the world, I tell them it's hands down the A5 Kobe Wagyu Steak.

Today, we're not talking about steak recipes. Instead, we'll look at the holy grail of steaks – the most coveted beef serving for resplendent millionaires and billionaires worldwide – the Wagyu Kobe beef. I came across it in cooking school, but I've had a couple of recipes done with the Wagyu Kobe beef. 

most expensive steak

What Is the Highest Quality Steak in the World?

The A5 Wagyu Kobe steak is considered the highest quality and the most expensive steak in the world.

It's not something you come across often, even at top steakhouses. It's the rarest grade of Japanese Wagyu beef steak. This is a type of Wagyu steak that comes from Kobe. So, while all Kobe beef steak cuts are Wagyu, not all Wagyu steaks are from Kobe steaks.

I've once seen an ad where this type of meat is embellished with words like, "melts in the mouth, not in the hand." How silly was I at the time to think of chocolate when the ad was really describing a kind of meat? 

Oh, sure, the hype surrounding the tender meat with rich buttery flavor isn't new. It's years old. 

You can get Wagyu steaks anywhere if you're willing to pay big bucks for them. However, until recently, the meat called Wagyu wasn't from real Japanese Tajima or Kobe beef in many steakhouses outside of Japan, especially in the EU. 

The reason for this was an import ban on Japanese beef, an act of revenge because Japan no longer wanted to import European meat as part of the mad cow disease or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis.

American Wagyu can be ordered in restaurants, but it usually comes from crosses of cattle from the USA, Germany, or Australia with the semen of Japanese bulls. The American Wagyu beef has its history from the '70s when Washu cows were imported to the US and bred with Angus cows.

If your butcher is the type to boast of his real Wagyu beef tenderloin or other Wagyu cuts, he's probably lying! There are only eight restaurants in the entirety of the US that sell the real Wagyus. I'm sorry, you've all been having American Wagyu. Not that American Wagyu is bad. But just so you know.

The American Wagyu steaks and other variants are often called Wagyu-Style because it wasn't real Wagyu. It's definitely not Kobe, because that can only come from the Japanese prefecture of Hyogo near the capital Kobe. 

The world has had to be content with this for the last few years. Only those who vacationed in Japan or were on a business trip there could enjoy real Wagyus.

What Makes Wagyu Kobe Beef the Most Expensive Steak?

First, the cost of raising Wagyu Cattle is typically what has elevated Kobe beef steaks to be one of the most expensive steaks around. Wagyu cows cost up to 10 times what it takes to raise regular cows, which is why it's the most expensive steak in the world. 

Wagyu meat has one factor that fundamentally differentiates it from all other meats: the fat marbling. 

While fat is normally distributed in the meat at certain points or in thick strands, Wagyu meat is evenly and completely crisscrossed by the finest veins of fat. 

The fat content in Wagyu makes up to 20%, which loosens the connective tissue and makes the meat inimitably tender. 

"But fat is unhealthy!"  Not this one! 

The nature of Wagyu fat is truly exceptional. It has a very high proportion of omega-3, omega-6, and monounsaturated fatty acids (which you and I know is good fat). The monounsaturated fat content in Wagyu is around 300% higher than in other beef. 

I've given more reasons why Wagyu beef is expensive in another post.  

Wagyu, Kobe beef, Japanese marbled beef

Price per pound of Wagyu Kobe beef 

The American Wagyu beef costs around $10 to $15 per pound at the steakhouse or online. But these are in no way the real Wagyu Kobe beef! Unlike the American Wagyu, high-grade Wagyu or the authentic Japanese Wagyu beef can set you back up to $250 to $300 per pound. Olive Wagyu beef, which is the rarest, typically costs $120 to more than $300. 

Most Expensive Steaks in the World According to Price 

Let's see what are the most expensive steaks in the world according to their price:

Kobe Strip Steak (Price: $350)

The next steak is a variety that you can try in New York at the Old Homestead Steakhouse. For just $350, you'll get a delicious 360g Kobe New York strip steak. Although it sounds incredible, this strip steak dish is very popular with visitors. About 25 servings are sold at the restaurant in one night, which means there are plenty of people willing to pay that price! As a result, the meat is fatty and very tender. It literally melts in your mouth.

Wagyu filet mignon (Price: $ 347)

A popular cut found in T-bone steak and porterhouse steak cuts, the filet mignon is also one of the most expensive steaks of the Japanese Wagyu beef. Found in the beef tenderloin, filet mignon is sweat, mild in flavor, and supple in texture.

Black Angus beef steaks (Price: $299)

Angus steaks are as expensive as Kobe Wagyu beef, but there's little difference. Aberdeen Angus beef is a breed from Scotland that offers an extremely soft meat with a high degree of marbling.

The price can even reach €48 per kilo for an authentic Aberdeen-raised Angus cow's steak. 

Fullblood Wagyu Tenderloin (Price $295)

You can order a steak at this price rate in Sydney, Australia. The meat is prepared to be very tender. To obtain meat of such a level, the animals are fed grain for 600 days. This meat is considered one of the most expensive in the world.

Kobe fillet (Price $258)

Japan is famous not only for its meat but also for its restaurants. Kobe Tenderloin is 240g of ideal roast meat and nothing more. It is offered in a restaurant that is famous for its minimalist style. 

Accordingly, the meat is seasoned only with salt, pepper, and mustard, which only emphasizes and strengthens but does not obscure the taste of the meat.

Wagyu sirloin (Price $169)

In Dubai, restaurants like to surprise their guests with luxury experiences. The restaurant of the elegant Burj Al Arab hotel is located 300 above sea level. Its visitors can try a 300-gram steak for $169. At the restaurant, you can enjoy not only delicious cuisine but also a magnificent view of the Arabian Gulf.

Wagyu Kobe Net (Price $144)

In the city of Dallas, Texas, a 180g steak will set you back $144. Therefore, this meat costs more than those sold in Beverly Hills. At Nobu Restaurant, visitors prepare their own dinner by frying pieces of grilled meat right on the tables. So you can cook each room in different ways.

Kuroge Wagyu beef sirloin

Wagyu No Sumibiyaki (Price $139)

At London's Zuma Restaurant, located at the Dubai International Finance Centre, visitors can enjoy a unique, tasty Japanese secret with the No Sumibuyaki. 

This is a marinated beef sushi barbecue. The meat is cooked with charcoal. Then, it is served with a citrus daikon ponzu sauce. According to those who have tasted this piece of meat, it is worth every penny.

Wagyu Tomahawk (Price $109)

Here is a steak that was designed for very hungry people. At least, that's what the size seems to indicate. A portion of this meat weighs 2.5 pounds. You can try this dish in the United States in the Providence restaurant in Rhode Island. By launching this part of the menu, the owners feared that the price of the dish would put off customers. However, that is certainly not the case. Sometimes the restaurant would receive 30 to 40 orders for it.

Wagyu Kobe Eye Cheesesteak (Price $100)

The name of this meat includes the word cheesecake. As you might guess, this suggests that the meat is baked with cheese. 

The piece of Japanese beef, coming from the Kobe region, is prepared with truffles, caramelized onions, cheese. It is then served with foie gras. 

You can try this dish in Philadelphia (USA). To accompany it, gastronomy experts advise you: try a glass of Dom Perignon 2000 champagne.

Kobe, Matsusaka, Omi - The Best Wagyu Strains

Terms like "Kobe" are often used interchangeably with "Wagyu," although this is often a misunderstanding. 

For example, while Wagyu is the breed of cattle, "Kobe" refers to a very specific meat, namely Wagyu beef from the city of Kobe in Japan. 

It's similar to champagne and sparkling wine. Again, all Kobe meat is Wagyu, but not everything that is Wagyu is Kobe. Besides Kobe, several other regions in Japan are known for their Japanese Wagyu beef. In addition to Kobe meat, the "three big beefs" also include Matsusaka and Omi.

But why are these varieties so special? In the individual regions (e.g., the Hyogo Prefecture for Kobe or the Matsusaka region), some associations place high demands on the quality of the meat and strictly control it. 

The only meat that meets all the criteria may be declared as the respective regional specialty. For example, for Kobe beef, these criteria are as follows:

  • The animal must belong to the Tajima region 
  • It must have been born in Hyogo Prefecture, fattened, and slaughtered in the cities of Kobe, Nishinomiya, Sanda, Kakogawa, or Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture.
  • Meat quality must be grade 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best).
  • Marbling must have a BMS level 6 or higher (more on this below).
Wagyu Beef sliced

How Is the Real Wagyu Cattle Fed?

There are many myths surrounding Wagyu Kobe beef steaks. Some are true, and some aren't. 

Most people say the animals are lovingly massaged every day so that the fat is better distributed in the muscle meat. Others also say the cattle are serenaded with soothing music. 

Evidently, more nonsense!

But it's true that Olive Wagyu steaks are derived from cattle raised up-cycled with toasted olive pulp. This helps give their meat a special and delicious flavor. Also, expensive steaks like the authentic Kobe beef must be PUREBRED, may only have been given natural feed, and is inspected after slaughter. 

How Is Japanese Wagyu Beef Cooked?

First, in Japan, Wagyu beef is often consumed completely raw, which is music to the ears of those who like eating steak raw. However, for those who prefer cooking their steaks, pan frying does the job quickly and easily. 

Wagyu is the only beef that goes straight from my fridge to the pan. The fat melts at about 25 degrees. 

I put the pan on the stove and heated it to the highest level. There is no oil in the pan, no fat, nothing. Wagyu brings enough fat that it can fry in it. That's enough. 

Each Wagyu beef stays in the pan for just 1 minute 30 seconds per side for a medium rare cook. I always employ my smartphone to do the timing. To read more about how Japanese wagyu beef is cooked, I have covered the topic more in-depth in this article

Conclusion

The Japanese Wagyu Kobe steak is the most expensive steak in the steak market and one of the most high-priced food products. It's similar to caviar or truffles. Just like caviar and truffles, it's worth the money if the quality is there. 

It definitely does that in the case of Kobe Wagyu beef - even if the steaks are priced at around 250 to 300 dollars. Nevertheless, the dam has broken. The meat is an addictive factor that you shouldn't afford not to afford at least once in a while  - just like a good bottle of champagne or a visit to a star restaurant.

So, are you ready to taste the most expensive steak in the world? Which variety of meat do you find the most interesting? Is it really worth the cost? There's only one way to find out: taste it yourself!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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