World's Rarest 'Olive Wagyu' Beef Coming to the US

A little bite will cost ya’.

By Ethan L. Johns
April 05, 2018

Image: Crowd Cow

Wagyu have earned a reputation for being some of the fattiest, most delicious beef cows in the world. The term, which means “Japanese cow,” has come to be synonymous with luxury, much like foie gras or caviar. But one online meat retailer is about to take wagyu mania to the next level.

Crowd Cow, an online service that offers different cuts of high-quality meat from cows, chickens and pigs, has announced that it will be selling a limited amount of Shodoshima Island olive wagyu—a product that it is calling “the rarest steak on the planet.”

But what makes this beef so much more special than those Kobe cows that get massaged with sake and fed beer in order to keep them free of stress?

First off, there are very few of them that even exist. According to the Daily Meal, there are only 2,200 that roam the island. Only a handful are slaughtered each month.

The wagyu that comes from Shodoshima, in the Kagawa prefecture of Japan, can earn a special designation of Sanuki wagyu, which is reserved for the highest quality meats. Sanuki wagyu must be fed on dried and roasted olive pulp leftover from the olive oil-making process.

Why olives? The region is also home to a notable concentration of olive plantations, which produced a sizeable amount of waste. Drying and roasting the waste material from the olives makes it more palatable to cows, which consume it for the last three months of their lives. Much like Black Iberian pigs with acorns, that flavor is transferred to the meat of Sanuki wagyu, which has heightened concentrations of oleic acid and unsaturated fats.

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Sanuki wagyu has been made available only a handful of times in the United States, and so far only in restaurants. One Seattle steakhouse charged as much as $135 for a 5-ounce portion of the stuff.

Crowd Cow will make a limited supply of the beef available to existing customers (who have made previous purchases) beginning April 16th. If there’s any left, the general public will be able to snap some up the following day.

For all the company’s talk of exclusivity, turns out the meat is so exclusive that it won’t even release the prices ahead of time. So if you’ve got a bulging wallet, hop in line.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns