What Cut is Wagyu Beef? A Guide to the Most Popular Wagyu Cuts

Wagyu beef comes from a special breed of cattle that originated in Japan. The word “wagyu” literally means “Japanese cow”. Wagyu cattle are renowned for their intense marbling, which gives the beef exceptional flavor and tenderness.

While wagyu can refer to four Japanese breeds – Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled – it is the Japanese Black that is most prized for its rich marbling. Within Japanese Black wagyu, there are further subdivisions of regional wagyu brands such as Kobe and Matsusaka.

Wagyu cattle are raised around the world today, but the cuts remain highly prized for their quality and taste. If you want to explore cooking wagyu beef at home, it helps to understand the most popular cuts available.

Wagyu Steak Cuts

The following are some of the top wagyu steak cuts to look for:

Filet Mignon

  • Cut from the tenderloin
  • Extremely tender and lean
  • Mild, sweet flavor
  • Highly marbled in wagyu


  • Cut from the rib section
  • Well-marbled with fat cap
  • Robust “beefy” flavor
  • Most intensely marbled wagyu cut

Strip Steak / New York Strip

  • Cut from the short loin
  • Balanced marbling and leanness
  • Full flavor, moderately tender
  • Delicate marbling in wagyu


  • Cut from rear of cow
  • Leaner with good flavor
  • Less marbling than other cuts
  • Wagyu enhances flavor

Flat Iron Steak

  • Cut from shoulder (chuck)
  • Tender with good marbling
  • Intense flavor due to wagyu marbling

Skirt Steak

  • Cut from diaphragm muscle
  • Thin cut with long fibers
  • Marinating improves tenderness
  • Wagyu marbling adds soft texture

Hanger Steak

  • Cut from lower belly
  • Full-bodied flavor
  • Needs membrane removed before cooking
  • Best grilled or broiled

Other Notable Wagyu Cuts

Beyond steaks, wagyu cattle also produce other excellent cuts like:


  • Cut from lower chest
  • High marbling and fat cap
  • Moist with beefy flavor when smoked low and slow

Short Ribs

  • Cut from rib area
  • Marbled with high collagen content
  • Extremely rich flavor when braised

Flank Steak

  • Cut from belly muscle
  • Fibrous yet flavorful
  • Marinating helps tenderize
  • Wagyu marbling prevents dryness

Chuck Roast

  • Cut from shoulder region
  • Well-used muscles so high collagen
  • Requires braising to break down tissue
  • Wagyu fat bastes meat during cooking


  • Small triangular cut from sirloin prized for grilling

Top Round

  • Cut from back leg
  • Lean yet tender
  • Versatile for roasts or steaks


  • Cut from tailbone
  • Collagenous so requires slow braising
  • Gelatinous and richly flavored broth

How to Cook Wagyu Beef Cuts

With premium wagyu beef, the cut will dictate the ideal cooking method:

  • Grilling – Best for tender cuts like strip, ribeye, filet, flat iron, and skirt steaks. Cook over high heat.

  • Pan-searing – Great for cooking steaks like filet mignon, hanger steak, or ribeye in a cast iron skillet. Use high heat.

  • Broiling – Cooks tender steaks like sirloin rapidly under direct overhead high heat.

  • Roasting – Allows larger cuts like tri-tip, chuck roast, and prime rib to cook evenly in the oven.

  • Braising – Slowly cooks tough cuts like brisket, short ribs, and oxtail in flavorful liquid.

  • Smoking – Infuses cuts like brisket with smoky flavor cooked low and slow.

  • Slicing thin – Makes larger cuts like top round more tender when cut thinly across the grain.

No matter what cut of wagyu you select, proper cooking is key to experiencing the famously rich marbling and buttery texture. Follow these tips to highlight the exceptional flavor in these special beef cuts.

Where to Buy Wagyu Beef Cuts

Due to the intensive breeding and care of wagyu cattle, authentic Japanese wagyu is quite expensive, with some cuts costing over $100 per pound. However, there are more affordable options to enjoy these premium beef cuts:

  • American Wagyu – Fullblood wagyu raised in the U.S. with heavy marbling at a fraction of the price of Japanese wagyu.

  • Wagyu Crossbreeds – Wagyu bred with Angus or other cattle to increase marbling while reducing costs.

  • Australian Wagyu – Raised in Australia under strict regulations to produce beautifully marbled beef.

  • A5 Graded Beef – The highest grade of marbling but not necessarily Japanese wagyu.

  • Wagyu Fatty Cuts – Opt for naturally well-marbled cuts like ribeye over leaner cuts.

Look for wagyu beef online from reputable ranches and butchers. Quality grading certifications like BMS help guarantee marbling. With so many wagyu cuts to choose from, you can explore new flavors and textures at various price points.

The next time you want to indulge in a special steak, consider cooking up a wagyu filet mignon, ribeye, or strip steak. Or for a heartier meal, braise wagyu short ribs or smoke a wagyu brisket. With its extensive marbling and buttery texture, wagyu beef takes any cut to the next level of succulent flavor.

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