The most expensive steaks in the world are soft, buttery, and full of flavor. With very little preparation, these premier cuts of beef will make your mouth water and your taste buds sing. You may need to massage your wallet a little due to the cost, but that’s better than massaging tough meat.
Are you ready for a culinary journey that will change the way you look at steak? Let’s go.
Table Of Contents
Most Expensive Steak Cuts – The Best of the Best
The most expensive steak in the world: Japanese A5 Kobe Beef
Kobe beef comes from Tajima cattle, known as Tajima gyu. Farmers appreciate this meat because of its robust flavor, which is distinct from the subtle sweetness of Wagyu beef.
Scarcity and intricate marbling make A5 Kobe beef one of the most expensive steak cuts available. Every portion of the fine-grained meat comes from between the muscles, providing the perfect balance between buttery, rich fat, and delicious beef.
Natural A5 Kobe beef is expensive because of how strict the grading process is. No more than a few thousand cattle earn the sought-after serial number proving the meat to be authentic.
To possibly make the grade as Kobe beef, the cattle must meet the following standards:
- Be male
- Born a Tajima gyu within the confines of the Hyogo Prefecture
- Grazed on grass within the same prefecture
- Slaughtered and butchered within the same prefecture
- A weight of 470kg or less
- A rate of 6/12 or higher on the BMS marbling scale
The weight limit may surprise some readers, but it’s a safeguard against artificially fattening up the cattle and destroying the fat to meat ratio. It is also a clever way to restrict overall steak production and protect the beef’s price levels.
In keeping with this strict production restriction, Japanese Wagyu purveyors also restrict beef exports. For this reason, it can be challenging to find Wagyu beef abroad.
Also, look out for other types of Wagyu beef. Kobe is just one of many types of beef that fall falls under the broad category of Wagyu. Others include Bungo, Ohmi, and Matsusaka, each originating in its namesake prefecture or province.
It’s worth delving into the procedures they follow in each region to see which suits you the best. While we most commonly associate Japan with sushi and seafood, Japanese chefs take their red meat just as seriously. They’re sure to offer a steak cut that matches your appetite.
You may not realize this, but Wagyu translates directly to Japanese beef cow. More specifically, the term refers to four specific breeds of beef cattle. The most famous of those four breeds is Kuroge cattle, which are genetically predisposed to excessive marbling.
Raising cattle is an art form in Japan and a serious responsibility. The farmers follow strict traditional practices much as their ancestors would, without using chemicals to rush the process. The result is that Japanese Wagyu Beef is of excellent quality with velvety, buttery meat, fine marbling, and no hint of toughness.
All Wagyu beef cattle are fed a specialized diet of cattle grass, straw, and natural grains to ensure incredible taste. Raising cattle is a serious business, and Wagyu farmers take special care to ensure the health and well-being of each cow.
The Japanese Wagyu Olympics are a well-supported and prestigious event. Entrants attempt many methods to flavor their beef. One popular method is feeding the cattle toasted olive pulp for the best health and a subtle flavor. Gastronomy fans scramble for this meat because of its high levels of oleic acid, which has cardio-protective properties that make the beef healthier to eat.
Unfortunately, this flavored Wagyu beef is rare. It originates from the tiny and remote Shodoshima Island.
If you buy Wagyu steak, it requires little cooking. Sear both sides and then grill or broil it for seven minutes aside at the most.
American Wagyu beef resulted from enterprising interbreeding of Angus and Kuroge Washu cattle in the seventies. The interbreeding made it possible to upscale the production of Wagyu beef because of the larger size of the Angus.
While similar in texture and taste to the original Wagyu, it is not of the same quality. Butchers grade American Wagyu according to USDA standards which are not as strict as the traditional Japanese grading.
However, the increased availability of the meet makes it less scarce and therefore also more affordable. The taste of American Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu is very similar, and it is difficult for all but the top gourmands to tell the difference between the two.
The Most Expensive Cuts Available at Almost Every Local Butcher
The cuts listed above are for big paydays and holidays. They’re delicious but too expensive for most people to eat regularly. It may also be difficult to source them, making them a less convenient alternative.
The following cuts offer a tasty alternative that you can find at your local butcher’s, which won’t break the bank.
Filet mignon rates as one of the highest grades of meat because it is one of the most delicate parts of the cow. Cut from the tapered end of the tenderloin, the fillet mignon is a piece of muscle that the cow seldom uses.
There’s little fat and marbling like muscle tissue, but there’s also no sinew or gristle. You would typically serve it rare for the best flavor, so it’s one of the quickest steaks to cook. With barely any cooking time, you have a tasty, melt-in-your-mouth meal.
If you prefer your meat a little more well-done, you’ll need to add fat to keep it moist during the cooking process. However, we do not recommend cooking it until well done as you lose the nuanced flavor that makes this one of the top cuts of meat.
The New York strip is one of the most popular steaks in the world. Cut from the loin, it is slightly tougher than the filet mignon but also is delicately marbled with fat. While the meat will never melt in your mouth, the slightly chewy texture allows you to enjoy the rich taste for longer.
The flavor makes this cut the top choice at many top restaurants. Even though the ribeye steak is more tender, it cannot match the flavorsome, beefy taste of the quintessential American New York strip.
Fry it or grill it, and you’ve always got a showstopping meal.
Porterhouse steak is another of the most popular cuts of beef. Cut from the loin, bone-in, it consists of two different portions. With a porterhouse, you get some strip steak and some tenderloin on either side of the bone.
In this respect, the porterhouse is similar to the T-bone steak. The primary difference between the two is strip steak and tenderloin ratios. Porterhouse has a more extensive tenderloin section, making it ideal for those who like buttery meat that falls off the bone.
The tenderloin section also has a very smooth texture and requires little chewing. Flavor-wise, the strip steak beats it hands-down, making the Porterhouse a great way to balance consistency and taste.
How do you know that they’re not trying to substitute T-bone for porterhouse? If the fillet section is at least 1 ¼ inches thick, you have the real deal. For more details, read our comprehensive guide: Porterhouse vs T-bone steak.
USDA prime T-bone steak is a cut of meat that is easy to prepare and more reasonable in price. It’s almost the same as the porterhouse, except it has a smaller tenderloin section.
Your reward for choosing a cut that’s a little chewier is a lot more flavor and a smaller tab. You can save as much as $15 a pound by choosing T-bone over porterhouse.
How do you know you’re getting T-bone and not porterhouse? Of course, the price will be your first clue, but you can also check that the fillet is ¼ of an inch thick.
Don’t take the position of this type of steak on this list as any sort of slight. On the contrary, the tomahawk is a trimmed ribeye bursting with flavor and exquisitely marbled. Trimming off the bone reduces the cooking time and instantly elevates your meal’s look.
The butcher cuts the ribeye from between ribs 6 and 12. The muscles in this area tend to be underworked during the cattle’s lifetime, making it a relatively tender cut of meat. While it cannot compete with the tenderloin for texture, it far exceeds it in taste.
Grilling this steak brings out the best possible flavors. However, due to the heavy marbling of fat, you should grill it in a pan or over a flat surface. If you place it directly over the grill, the dripping fat will cause flare-ups that might lead to unpleasantly charred sections of meat.
Which Will You Make First?
Now that you know more about the most expensive steak cuts, which one will you try first? Have a look around Steak Revolution for the best recipes and guides to create the perfect meal.