What’s the Most Expensive Steak in the World?

October 9, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton
Edited by John Smits 

The most expensive steak in the world is the A5 Kobe Wagyu Steak. Keep in mind that steak prices can vary by your location, the time of year, and where you buy it from.

I came across Kobe Wagyu in cooking school, and I’ve cooked up plenty of it. It’s incredibly tender and rich in fat. Today, I’ve done the hard work for you, researching the most pricey cuts of Wagyu on the planet. I’ll share what I found.

Today, we’re not talking about steak recipes. Instead, we’ll look at the holy grail of steaks – the most coveted beef at the butcher counter – Wagyu beef.

Most Expensive Steak

What is the Highest Quality Steak in the World?

Authentic A5 Wagyu Kobe steak is considered by many to be 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, a region in Japan. So, while all Kobe beef steak cuts are Wagyu, not all Wagyu steaks are from Kobe steer.

A5 refers to the steaks grading. These steaks are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.

The hype surrounding the tender meat with rich buttery flavor isn’t new. It’s many years old, and the hype has taken the steak world by storm. 

You can get wagyu steaks imported if you’re willing to pay big bucks for them. But authentic Japanese Wagyu is still extremely uncommon in butcher shops in the U.S. Access to Wagyu cattle is intentionally restricted by the Japanese to limit supply and increase demand. This helps keep prices for Wagyu high.

American Wagyu vs. Japanese Wagyu

Authentic Wagyu comes from Japan and is 100% Japanese cattle. American Wagyu can be found in restaurants and grocery stores, but it comes from American cattle bred with Japanese cattle. If you find Wagyu in the States, it’s likely American Wagyu. Ask your butcher to know for sure.

American Wagyu beef has its history from the ’70s when Washu cows were imported to the US and bred with Angus cows.

Japanese wagyu is incredibly marbled with thin strands of white fat. American Wagyu is also richly marbled, but not as much as its Japanese counterpart.

Authentic Wagyu Beef Steaks with Cooking Ingredients

There are only eight restaurants in the entirety of the US that sell the Kobe Wagyu as of this writing. 

The American wagyu steaks and other variants (like Australian) are often called wagyu-style because it isn’t real Wagyu. It’s definitely not Kobe because that can only come from the Japanese prefecture of Hyogo near the capital Kobe. American Wagyu is delicious – some find Japanese Wagyu to be too fatty and rich. They think American Wagyu hits the “Goldilocks zone” – just right.

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. Raising Wagyu cows costs up to 10 times what it takes to raise regular cows. More expensive raising conditions means more expensive meat. 

I’ve given more reasons why Wagyu beef is expensive in another post. So read more to find out

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What Makes Wagyu Beef Different?

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 beef is evenly and completely crisscrossed by the finest veins of fat. 

The fat content in Wagyu is 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. 

Price per Pound of Wagyu Kobe Beef 

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 per pound. 

American Wagyu beef costs around $10 to $15 per pound online, depending on the retailer, your location, the cut, etc. But these are not real Wagyu Kobe beef! 

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Most Expensive Steaks in the World According to Price 

Let’s see what are the most expensive cuts of steak in the world according to their price:

Beef Steak Placed on a Chopping Board

Kobe Strip Steak (Price: $350)

This steak is a variety that you can try in New York at the Old Homestead Steakhouse. For $350, you’ll get a delicious 360g Kobe New York strip steak. Although it sounds incredibly expensive, 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! 

Kobe strip steak is fatty and sublimely tender.

Wagyu Filet Mignon (Price: $ 347)

The filet mignon is also one of the most expensive steaks of Japanese Wagyu beef. Filet is a disc of beef tenderloin, and it is the most tender steak on the planet. It’s mild in flavor – less beefy than a strip or ribeye. 

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 boasts extremely tender meat with a high degree of marbling.

The price can even reach $299 per pound for an authentic Aberdeen-raised Angus cow’s steak. 

Fullblood Wagyu Tenderloin (Price $295)

Fullblood Wagyu tenderloin will set you back $295 as of this writing. The meat is very tender (tenderloin is the most tender steak known to humans). 

Wagyu Sirloin (Price $169)

In Dubai, restaurants like to surprise their guests with luxury experiences. The restaurant of the elegant Burj Al Arab Hotel serves up authentic Japanese Wagyu sirloin. Its visitors can try 12 ounces of Wagyu sirloin 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 6-ounce steak will set you back $144. 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.

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. The meat is cooked over 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. Most people split tomahawk steaks with a friend or loved one.

You can try this dish in the United States in the Providence restaurant in Rhode Island. When launching the tomahawk on their menu, the owners feared that the price of the dish would put off customers. However, that was not the case. Sometimes, the restaurant would receive 30 to 40 orders for a tomahawk per day.

Kobe, Matsusaka, Omi – The Best Wagyu Strains

Terms like “Kobe” are often used interchangeably with “Wagyu,” although this is incorrect. 

Wagyu refers to all Japanese cows.”Kobe” refers to a very specific breed of cattle, 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 all 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), there are high demands on the quality of the meat, and these demands are strictly controlled. 

Juicy Slices of Beef Steaks

The only meat that meets all the criteria may be declared sold as Wagyu. 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).

How are Real Wagyu Cattle Fed?

Authentic Kobe may only have been given natural feed. They must also be purebred and are inspected after slaughter. 

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.  These rumors are baseless nonsense.

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How is Japanese Wagyu Beef Cooked?

In Japan, Wagyu beef is often consumed completely raw, which is music to the ears of those who like eating steak raw. For those who prefer cooking their steaks, pan frying does the job quickly and easily. I’m a grill fanatic, so when I get my hands on Wagyu, that beef has a date with some hot charcoal.

I get my grill blazing hot (700°F or more). I throw some wood chunks on the coals to infuse the meat with some wood flavors. 

Then I sear the meat for around 1 minute 30 seconds per side for a medium rare finish. 125°F internal temperature is perfect medium-rare. 

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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 you can afford it. 

Kobe Wagyu beef is a hefty investment –  the steaks are often priced around $250 to $300 dollars. The meat is unbelievable and worth the occasional splurge  – 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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