Australian Wagyu: The Complete Guide to an Underrated Classic

Wagyu is a type of beef that has long been revered for its rich and decadent taste, thanks to its extensive marbling. Looking online, however, you notice that there are several different variations of wagyu, some of which are labeled as Australian wagyu. This may leave you wondering if Australian wagyu is the same as regular wagyu, and why they are labeled differently.

Not to worry, you aren’t alone. So, sit back as we dive into the details about Australian Wagyu and whether or not it is worth the purchase. 

What is Australian Wagyu?

Australian wagyu is a type of beef which comes from the wagyu cow. But unlike traditional wagyu, which is raised only within Japan, Australian wagyu comes from cows that have been raised on the continent of Australia. 

Most Australian Wagyu cows can have their lineage traced back to Japan, although some have been mixed with other breeds of Australian cows to produce a more cost-effective product. 

Australian wagyu cows are fed a special diet of grain and hay. They tend to be leaner than Japanese wagyu cows, but the resulting meat still has high levels of marbling, which are highly sought after by meat critics around the globe. 

Because Australian Wagyu is a type of cow, those wanting to try the delicious meat have their choice of cuts, from delectable Filet Mignon portions to robust Australian Wagyu Ribeye cuts. We carry a wide selection of Australian Beef and even some of the lesser known cuts like Purebred Australian Prime Rib Wagyu

Is Australian Wagyu Actually Wagyu?

Technically, no. In Japanese, the word “wagyu” literally means cow, and it is reserved for cows only of Japanese breed which are fed a special diet for 600 days prior to butchering. 

While these are the exact cows that were brought to Australia in the 1990s, they are fed a diet that is different from Japanese cattle standards, which is why they are given the name of Australian Wagyu.

The result is a meat that is very similar to Japanese Wagyu, but that isn’t quite the same. Australian Wagyu was created for a slightly different market, however, so it still sells well within the country. 

That being said, if you are looking to impress a Japanese businessman, ensure you buy an actual Japanese Wagyu steak, as Australian Wagyu won’t taste quite the same. 

What Does Australian Wagyu Taste Like?

Australian Wagyu has a delicious beefy and rich taste, though it isn’t quite as rich as Japanese Wagyu. This means that those who find full Japanese wagyu too rich may find they prefer Australian wagyu as you get a similar taste with slightly less fat flavoring. 

Types of Australian Wagyu Steak

There are many different types of Australian wagyu steak, which we will cover below.

F1 Australian Wagyu

F1 Australian Wagyu is the most famous type because it is made similar to American Wagyu. F1 meat comes from a cow, which is half Japanese wagyu and half Australian cattle. While this meat won’t be quite as rich as Wagyu, it will be much more affordable. 

Purebred Wagyu

Purebred Australian wagyu is meat that comes from a cow that is 93.75% Japanese wagyu or more. This means that the cow is mostly Japanese Wagyu but may have one great-grandparent who is not. 

Because purebred Wagyu is still not full Japanese Wagyu, it is more expensive than F1 but still comes at a slightly lower price than full-blood Australian Wagyu. For those who want a more authentic Wagyu experience, Purebred will get you all the flavor and marbling you need for that rich, beefy taste associated with Japanese Wagyu. 

Fullblood Australian Wagyu

The top tier of Australian Wagyu types is full blood Australian Wagyu, which comes from cows that have 100% traceable Wagyu genetics that lead back to Japan. This is the most expensive Australian Wagyu, though it still has slightly less marbling than Japanese Wagyu, which is raised in Japan due to diet differences. 

Either way, it is considered the best of the best of Australian Wagyu and is well worth the high sticker price! 

How Australian Wagyu is Graded

Australian Wagyu doesn’t use the Japanese A5 grading system that you may be familiar with. Instead, they use a system called BMS, which stands for “beef marbling score.”

On this scale, there are 9 possible rankings, with BMS1 having the lowest level of marbling and BMS9+ having the highest level. BMS9+ is the grade comparable with Japanese A5 wagyu; however, any score of BMS5+ is considered excellent Australian Wagyu beef. 

What is the Difference Between Australian Wagyu and American Wagyu?

Australian wagyu and American Wagyu are similar types of meat, as both are bred from a Japanese wagyu cow. American Wagyu, however, is less close to the original Japanese wagyu as almost every American Wagyu cow has at least a partial Angus beef breed parent.

While Australian Wagyu cows are more likely to be closely related to full Japanese wagyu beef (especially if you purchase full-blood Australian wagyu) than American Wagyu, it’s important to note that neither country raises their wagyu using the same strict diet standards as Japan. Therefore, there will be slight differences in the meat and marbling whether you choose Australian or American Wagyu.

This means that no matter which you choose, Japanese wagyu is still better, though we recommend trying Australian wagyu if you have the opportunity to do so, as it is slightly better in quality than American Wagyu beef. 

Why is Australian Wagyu So Expensive?

Australian wagyu comes from cows that are at least partially Japanese, especially if you purchase full-blood Australian Wagyu, which is guaranteed to come from two 100% Japanese cows. 

These cows are frequently born in Japan before being transported to Australia for additional raising and breeding—all of which is an expensive process. Not only that, but the care to keep Australian wagyu cows healthy and continue to breed them is no small task. 

In fact, if you see Australian Wagyu at a discount, you should be suspicious because quality meat will always carry high price tags. 

Is Australian Wagyu Worth the Price?

Australian Wagyu is an excellent meat choice if you don’t have the money to purchase Japanese Wagyu and want something a little closer to the real thing than American Wagyu. Australian wagyu still contains a high level of marbling and will have a delicious and beefy taste that you (and any guests you have over) will enjoy! 

We recommend buying the highest grade of Australian Wagyu possible and grabbing the BMS9+ label when you can to ensure you have the best Australian Wagyu experience. 

Where Can You Buy Australian Wagyu?

Australian Wagyu is available at some specialty butchers in the country of Australia, but if you are shopping from American soil you’ll need to order online. We recommend looking at online butcher shops like Kolikof Caviar and Gourmet as they have a large selection of high-quality Australian Wagyu beef. 

Whether you are looking for a tasty Australian Wagyu Strip Steak, or maybe an Australian Wagyu Tomahawk to share with friends and family, Kolikof has you covered.