What is the Best Beef in the World? A Look at the Top Beef Producing Countries

Beef is one of the most popular meats consumed around the world. From juicy burgers to melt-in-your-mouth steaks, beef is a versatile ingredient used in cuisines globally. But not all beef is created equal – the quality can vary greatly depending on where the cattle is raised and how it is processed.

So what country produces the best beef in the world? While subjective, beef experts and connoisseurs often cite Japanese Wagyu and Kobe beef as the highest quality and most flavorful beef available today. However, many other countries including Argentina, Australia, and the United States also produce incredibly high-quality beef.

Here is an overview of some of the top beef producing countries and what makes their beef stand out:


Japan is renowned for its luxurious Wagyu and Kobe beef, considered by many to be the best beef in the world. There are a few key factors that set Japanese beef apart:

  • Wagyu Cattle Breed: Wagyu cattle are bred specifically to produce heavily marbled beef. Their meat contains a high percentage of unsaturated fat, which gives it a rich, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

  • Special Diet: Wagyu cattle are fed a special diet high in grains and beer. This extra care results in enhanced marbling.

  • Massages: Some farmers gently massage their Wagyu cattle to alleviate muscle cramps from cramped spaces, which further enhances marbling.

  • Kobe Beef: This refers to Wagyu cattle raised to strict standards in Kobe, Japan. Authentic Kobe must receive an A5 grade, the highest possible rating for marbling. Kobe is renowned as the most exquisitely marbled beef in the world.

Due to the small production volume and meticulous care required to produce authentic Japanese Wagyu and Kobe, it is generally the most expensive beef in the world, often costing more than $200 per pound.


Argentina is renowned for its natural, grass-fed beef, which results in deep, robust flavors. Here’s what makes Argentine beef special:

  • Grass-fed: Cattle in Argentina are raised on expansive grasslands, grazing freely on a natural diet of grass and hay. This results in lean, flavorful meat.

  • Hormone-free: Argentine cattle are never given synthetic hormones, allowing natural growth.

  • Free-range: Cattle enjoy plenty of open space for grazing and exercise.

  • Heritage Breeds: Argentina utilizes heritage breeds like Angus and Hereford selected for flavor.

With its vast grass-fed plains and heritage cattle breeds, Argentina produces beef acclaimed for its juicy, bold flavors. It’s leaner than heavily marbled Japanese beef but offers a real beefy punch in every bite.

United States

As one of the world’s largest beef producers, the United States produces plenty of delicious, high-quality beef appreciated for its tenderness and reliability. Notable factors about U.S. beef include:

  • Corn-fed: Most cattle in the U.S. are grain-fed with corn, soy, and other grains for consistent marbling.

  • USDA Grading system: Beef is graded by the USDA for quality, with Prime representing the top level.

  • Large cattle farms: The U.S. has massive cattle farms and beef production facilities like Cargill that allow for large scale production.

  • Grain-finished: Most cattle in the U.S. are “finished” with grain for the last 90-160 days to enhance marbling.

With its advanced cattle management and USDA grading system, the United States offers very consistent, high-quality grain-fed beef. U.S. beef is widely available worldwide in an array of cuts.


Australia is one of the top beef exporters in the world. Key qualities of its beef include:

  • Grass-fed: Much of Australia’s beef is 100% grass-fed, resulting in a lean yet flavorful meat. However, some cattle are grain-finished.

  • Big cattle stations: Australia has massive cattle stations that allow large-scale beef production.

  • Hormone regulations: Australia has banned the use of hormones in cattle since 1978.

With expansive grasslands for grazing and advanced nationwide cattle farming practices, Australia produces large quantities of delicious grass-fed beef.


Spain has a long tradition of expert beef production, especially for its prized free-range bulls. Characteristics of Spanish beef include:

  • Bullfighting legacy: Spain has a history of raising strong bulls for bullfighting, resulting in high-quality meat.

  • Free-range: Many cattle enjoy large roaming pastures and open spaces.

  • Protected Designation of Origin: Certain Spanish beef like Carne de Ávila receives a protected status, indicating its special origin.

With its legacy of raising robust free-range cattle, Spain produces distinctively flavorful beef. Some regional varieties like Carne de Ávila even carry a protected designation to maintain quality standards.

Other Notable Beef Producers

While Japan, Argentina, the U.S., Australia, and Spain take top spots for beef production, many other countries also produce prized beef:

  • Uruguay: This South American country is one of the world’s leading beef exporters, known for premium grass-fed beef.

  • Brazil: As the world’s largest beef exporter, Brazil produces enormous quantities of affordable beef.

  • France: France excels at producing specialized luxury beef products like Kobe-style Wagyu.

  • Ireland: Ireland’s cool climate and abundant grass make for perfect cattle grazing. Both grass-fed and grain-finished beef thrive here.

  • Canada: With advanced cattle management and spacious grazing lands, Canada produces high-quality beef, especially in Alberta.

  • New Zealand: New Zealand’s free-range, grass-fed cattle yield delicious beef and are an important export.

What Makes Beef the “Best”?

There are several factors that contribute to exceptional beef:

  • Marbling – The delicate streaks and flecks of fat integrated within the meat’s muscle. Extensive marbling results in juicy, buttery-tender beef.

  • Breed – Heritage and legacy breeds selected over time for flavor, marbling, and texture. For example, Japanese Black Wagyu cattle.

  • Diet – What the cattle are fed influences flavor and fat content. Grass vs grain produces different results.

  • Butchery – The way the beef is cut impacts tenderness and portion sizes. Complex cuts like ribeye require expertise.

  • Aging – Aging beef for weeks or months breaks down fibers to make meat incredibly tender. Dry aging and wet aging are common techniques.

  • Care – Individual care for each animal, including massage and exercise, can enhance marbling and flavor.

  • Free-range – Allowing cattle to roam freely grazing on open pastures supports natural growth.

  • Hormone/antibiotic-free – Not using hormones or antibiotics allows natural development and health.

  • Local rearing – Geographic and climactic factors impact flavors. Such as Kobe beef from the Hyogo prefecture of Japan.

  • Hand-selection – Experts individually inspect each cut, rejecting any that don’t meet quality standards.

Buying the Best Beef

Truly exceptional beef can be difficult to find and quite expensive. Here are a few tips for sourcing the best quality beef:

  • For Japanese Wagyu or Kobe, look for authentic Japanese certifications. Beware of “Wagyu-style” beef which doesn’t offer the same quality.

  • Seek out local butchers and meat markets that source beef from reputable farms and can verify information like grass-fed status.

  • For U.S. beef, Prime grade beef offers the highest quality and marbling. Choice is the next step down. Select has less marbling.

  • At high-end steak restaurants, the staff should be knowledgeable about beef sourcing and quality details. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

  • When possible, buy whole cuts rather than pre-portioned steaks. This allows you to inspect marbling and color.

  • With online steak delivery, look for companies that clearly state origins and grade. Make sure transport conditions are optimal.

  • For Wagyu beef, be prepared to spend at least $100 to $200 per pound or more for authentic, top-level cuts. Premium beef comes at a price.

How to Cook the Best Beef

Cooking premium beef requires care to showcase the meat’s exceptional flavors and textures without overcooking. Here are some tips:

  • Start with the best quality thick steak you can find – at least 1 to 1 1/2 inches. This allows for better searing and evenly cooked meat.

  • Allow meat to come to room temperature before cooking so it cooks more evenly. Don’t ice cold meat straight to the grill.

  • Use a meat thermometer and monitor temperature. Don’t overcook! For medium-rare aim for 125°F to 135°F internal temp.

  • Let meat “rest” 5-10 minutes before cutting so juices distribute evenly within the steak. Don’t cut into meat right off the grill.

  • Simple dry rubs and salt enhances beef flavor without overwhelming it. Avoid complicated marinades.

  • Opt for quick, hot cooking methods like grilling, broiling, pan searing, and reverse searing to develop a flavorful crust while keeping the inside tender and juicy.

  • Don’t overlook the value of high heat and proper searing. Maillard reactions develop deep, complex flavors.

  • Pair premium beef with equally special sides and fixings. Think twice baked potatoes, grilled asparagus, or fresh herb butter.

With outstanding beef, simplicity rules. Let the meat take center stage by salt-seasoning and quick hot cooking on the grill or in cast iron. Resist overcomplicating the beef’s natural flavors with heavy sauces or too many spices. A perfect piece of Wagyu, Kobe, or other high-end steak prepared properly makes for an extraordinary eating experience worth savoring.

The Best Beef in the World

Determining the single “best” beef in the world is an impossible task, as premium beef comes in many styles from various regions. For heavily marbled, buttery beef, Japan takes the crown with its Wagyu and Kobe beef. For robust, intensely beefy flavor, Argentina’s grass-fed cattle yield delicious cuts. Classic grain-fed U.S. Prime steaks satisfy with tender consistency. And Spain’s free-range bulls provide uniquely flavored beef packed with personality.

Whatever your preference – juicy, fatty, or robust – there is exceptional beef being produced in many corners of the world. Through breeding, feeding, and farming, dedicated producers create steak experiences worth traveling across the globe to savor.

Frequency of Entities:

Japan: 14
Kobe beef: 10
Wagyu: 15
Argentina: 7
United States: 6
Australia: 5
Spain: 5
Uruguay: 1
Brazil: 1
France: 1
Ireland: 1
Canada: 1
New Zealand: 1
Prime: 2
Choice: 1

These 10 Countries Have The BEST BEEF


Who has the best beef in the world?

Japan is an Asian economic powerhouse and a country renowned for its high-quality beef. In 2021, Japan exported 4,388 tons of beef worth $491 million, making it the most valuable per kilogram. Some of the most well-known beef varieties in the world are from Japan, including the Kobe and Wagyu beef families.

Which is better Kobe or Wagyu?

Marbling. While all wagyu beef is known for its beautiful marbling, Kobe beef is truly the top of the line when it comes to fat marbling in a steak. In terms of Kobe vs. wagyu, Kobe beef will contain slightly more marbling throughout the beef that results in an overall richer flavor.

What is the highest quality of beef?

Prime beef is the highest grade a piece of beef can receive. If the USDA awards a prime quality grading, that means that the beef has abundant marbling, with 8-13% fat, and is from a young, well-fed cow. Only about 2-5% of beef sold in the foodservice industry receives this grading.

What is the highest grade of beef in the world?

A-5 100% Japanese Wagyu beef whole tenderloin of approximately 9 lbs (includes side muscle and trim). A-5 is the best grade of beef available in the world. This beef has an astonishing marbling score of 12, which is the highest possible score for marbling.

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