What is the Most Expensive Beef in the World?

For beef connoisseurs and carnivores, fine dining often means sampling the most succulent and flavorful cuts of beef. From beautifully marbled steaks to prime roasts, there are certain beef offerings that command eye-watering prices due to their unmatched quality and prestige. But what exactly is the most expensive beef in the world?

Here is an overview of the priciest and most coveted beef cuts that set the gold standard for superior taste and tenderness.

Japanese Kobe Beef

The #1 spot for the world’s most expensive beef goes to genuine Japanese Kobe beef. Hailing from the Hyogo prefecture in Japan and derived from rare Tajima-gyu cattle, this beef is renowned for its extensive marbling, buttery texture, and complex umami flavor.

To qualify as authentic Kobe beef, the cattle must meet a strict set of protocols:

  • Born and raised in Hyogo prefecture
  • Must be a purebred Tajima-gyu breed of cattle
  • Fed a specialized diet including beer and receiving daily massages
  • Meat processed and slaughtered within the Hyogo prefecture
  • Graded for quality with a Beef Marbling Score (BMS) of 6 or higher on a 12 point scale

With such meticulous standards to fulfill, only about 3,000 heads of cattle annually can be certified as authentic Kobe beef. At premium steak houses in Japan, a single 5-ounce portion can cost $150 or more. Internationally, the price is marked up even higher to $200-300 making it the world’s costliest beef.

Japanese Wagyu Beef

While Kobe beef reigns supreme, other varieties of Japanese Wagyu beef also rank among the most expensive. In particular, premium cuts of Wagyu raised to rigorous standards in Japan can cost $100-$200 per pound.

Like Kobe, Japanese Wagyu is cherished for its extensive marbling. The ample ribbons of fat create a buttery, velvety texture and intense beefy flavor when cooked. Cuts from the rib and loin areas tend to display the most marbling.

Miyazaki Wagyu Beef

From the Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan hails luxurious Miyazaki Wagyu beef. With its snow-white fat marbling, it rivals Kobe and other Wagyu for taste and tenderness. It comes from 100% purebred Tajima-gyu cattle raised under exacting protocols. A5 graded Miyazaki Wagyu can cost over $100 per pound.

Matsusaka Wagyu Beef

Another venerated region for Wagyu beef production is Matsusaka in Japan’s Mie prefecture. The local Matsusaka cattle are descendants from the original breed of Wagyu and produce excellently marbled beef. A5 Matsusaka Wagyu ranked just behind Kobe beef for depth of flavor in a 2012 Wagyu olympics taste test. Expect to pay at least $100 per pound.

Omi Beef

Hailing from Shiga prefecture in Japan, Omi beef has a marbled texture likened to white jade. The fat melts at a lower temperature than other Wagyu allowing the meat to seem almost raw even when cooked. Omi cattle are fed a diet of rice straw, corn, barley, soybean meal, and wheat bran. Premium cuts can cost upwards of $100 per pound.

Hokkaido Wagyu Beef

The northern island of Hokkaido is an important Wagyu beef production area due to its climate. The cold winters promote fat marbling in the cattle. Hokkaido Wagyu is available as A5 grade meaning the highest level of marbling, which creates incredibly tender and flavorful beef.

American Wagyu Beef

While the Japanese varietals remain the gold standard, premium quality Wagyu-influenced beef is now raised in the United States. American Wagyu is typically crossbred from Japanese Black cattle and then raised with special care and feeding. The best cuts exhibit beautiful marbling although not quite as extensive as full-blooded Japanese Wagyu. Expect to pay $50-100 per pound for American Wagyu beef depending on the grade.

Snake River Farms Wagyu

Based in Idaho, Snake River Farms is one of the most reputable U.S. producers of American-style Kobe Beef from Wagyu cattle. Their black grade cattle are fed for over 500 days on a balanced diet for excellent marbling. Their highest grade “Akaushi” tenderloin cuts can sell for $125 per pound.

Imperial Wagyu Beef

From ranches in Texas, Imperial Wagyu produces Akaushi-influenced American Wagyu noted for its buttery marbling. Their Vintage line features prime cuts aged for 21-36 months for enhanced flavor at $99 per pound.

Lone Mountain Wagyu Beef

Sourced from 100% fullblood Wagyu cattle raised in New Mexico, Lone Mountain’s premium selections like Silver Grade Ribeye cost around $100 per pound. The cattle are pasture-raised for their first year then finished on grain for ideal marbling.

Vintage Côte de Boeuf Rib Steak

France produces exceptional beef, including the prized Côte de Boeuf rib steak from ancient Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle. Top pedigreed cattle may be designated as “Vintage”, with cuts aged up to 15 years. An extremely rare Vintage Côte de Boeuf steak can fetch over $3,000 at auction.

Piedmontese Beef

From the Piedmont region of Italy, rare Piedmontese beef comes from an ancient breed of cattle almost free of myostatin, so the meat is extra tender. The flavor has been described as more delicate than Wagyu with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Filet mignon cuts can cost over $100 per pound.

Chianina Beef

The famous Italian Chianina cow produces flavorful beef with a texture likened to Kobe or Wagyu due to its fine intramuscular fat. Raised in Tuscany and Umbria, it is one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. Chianina beef commands prices starting around $25 per pound.

U.S. Prime Filet Mignon

Domestically in the U.S., one benchmark for the most expensive beef cuts is Prime-graded filet mignon. As the most tender muscle, filet mignon is a luxury even from non-Wagyu cattle. Expect to pay at least $40-50 per pound for Prime-graded filet at retail.

U.S Tomahawk Ribeye

Another extravagant cut of Prime U.S. beef is the Tomahawk Ribeye, distinguished by its long bone resembling a tomahawk axe. The showstopping Tomahawk ranks among the costliest cuts at high-end steakhouses, selling for hundreds of dollars for larger hunks. The imposing bone adds visual flair.

Why Wagyu Beef Is So Expensive | So Expensive


What is the most expensive beef in the world?

It had never been sold outside of Japan — until now. Grown exclusively in the Mie Prefecture in Japan, Matsusaka cattle are raised so their fat achieves the lowest melting point possible.

What’s 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.

Is Kobe beef or wagyu more expensive?

Due to the strict regulations and high demand, both beef can be quite expensive: The price of Kobe beef per pound can range from around $200 to $500; while the price of Wagyu beef per pound can range from around $50 to $150.

Which type of beef is more expensive?

Kobe beef is considered the most expensive and sought after beef in the world, with single portions often selling for more than $200. In Japan, the cost of Kobe beef starts at about $300 per pound. In the States, it can be $50 per ounce—whereas other non-Kobe Wagyu can be half of that cost. Why is that?

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