Where to Buy Hanwoo Beef in the USA: A Guide to Finding This Premium Korean Wagyu

Hanwoo beef from Korea is gaining worldwide recognition for its exquisite marbling, tenderness, and rich flavor. This premium beef from special Korean cattle is often called “Korean wagyu” for its similarities to famous Japanese wagyu. As Hanwoo beef becomes more popular internationally, American consumers are wondering where they can buy it in the United States.

What Exactly is Hanwoo Beef?

Hanwoo refers to a breed of cattle native to Korea and raised specifically for beef production. Hanwoo cattle are prized for their genetic predisposition to intensely marbled beef with fine texture and taste. They are considered a national treasure in Korea.

Like Japanese wagyu, Hanwoo cattle are massaged and fed a specialized diet including beer. This produces beautiful fat marbling that bastes the meat from within and gives it a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness when cooked. The complex flavor is subtly sweet with notes of grass and nuts.

Hanwoo Beef Cuts

The most coveted cuts of Hanwoo beef include:

  • Striploin – This tender cut is ideal for grilling as steaks.

  • Ribeye – The ribbon of fat through the eye of the ribeye keeps it exceptionally juicy.

  • Sirloin – Less expensive but still nicely marbled for flavor.

  • Short ribs – Slow cooking makes these fall-off-the-bone tender.

  • Oyster blade – A heavily worked muscle that benefits from marinating.

  • Brisket – Responds well to slow roasting or barbecue.

  • Flank steak – Best sliced thin across the grain for Korean barbecue.

Where to Buy Hanwoo Beef in the USA

Thanks to growing demand, options for buying Hanwoo beef in America are expanding. Here are some of the best places to buy it:

Online Direct from Korea

  • Holy Grail Steak – The leading online seller of Grade 1++ Hanwoo beef with excellent steaks. Ships from Korea worldwide.

  • Korea Beef Store – Specializes in Hanwoo gift boxes sent straight from Korea. Pricey but top quality.

  • Kim’s C Market – Korean grocery delivery that stocks hard-to-find Hanwoo cuts.

Korean Grocery Stores

Check the meat department at Korean markets in your city like:

  • H Mart – This Korean grocery chain offers butcher shops in some locations.

  • Assi Plaza – With outlets around the country, they may carry frozen Hanwoo.

  • Zion Market – Some locations have freshly wrapped Hanwoo beef cuts.

Online Specialty Meat Shops

Several online butchers specializing in global Wagyu carry Hanwoo beef:

  • Crowd Cow – Works directly with South Korean farms to import Hanwoo beef.

  • Holy Grail Steak Co – In addition to direct Korean sales, they supply Hanwoo to restaurants.

  • Steak Aged – Carries prime grade boneless short rib and oyster blade cuts.

  • Meat N Bone – Specializes in Japanese wagyu but also offers premium Hanwoo beef.

High-End Restaurants

Some upscale Korean barbecue restaurants and steakhouses in big cities have started serving Hanwoo beef on their menus, including:

  • Cote in New York City
  • Son of a Butcher in Los Angeles
  • Jung’s Bistro in Atlanta
  • San Mat in Dallas

Call ahead to see if they have any available for retail purchase. Quantities are often limited.

Buy in Person on a Trip to Korea

For the ultimate experience, visit Korea and buy your Hanwoo beef fresh from a local butcher or traditional market. The quality is unmatched.

Popular markets include:

  • Gwangjang Market in Seoul
  • Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul
  • Seomun Market in Daegu

How Much Does Hanwoo Beef Cost?

Due to limited supply and high demand, Hanwoo beef commands a premium price, especially for the top grades. In the US, expect to pay:

  • $40-$60 per pound for sirloin or brisket
  • $70-$120+ per pound for striploin or ribeye

For prime steaks, the price can rival or even surpass Japanese wagyu. Hanwoo short ribs are usually the most economical cut.

Is the Splurge Worth It?

Like wagyu, Hanwoo beef is a luxury ingredient best saved for special occasions. The incredibly rich, tender meat makes for an unforgettable steak or barbecue experience. For hardcore meat lovers or Korean cuisine fans, the hefty price tag can be well worth it to try this exquisite delicacy.

However, more casual consumers or those on a budget will find cheaper cuts like USDA Prime satisfactory. Approach Hanwoo beef as you would a fine wine or cognac – a rare treat to indulge in.

How to Cook Hanwoo Beef

When cooking this premium beef at home, keep these tips in mind:

  • Cook over high heat for a good sear.

  • Don’t overcook beyond medium rare to preserve tenderness.

  • Salt before cooking, not after.

  • Let rest 5 minutes before slicing for juiciness.

  • Go easy on sauces and seasonings to let the flavor shine.

  • For stews, opt for bone-in cuts with plenty of collagen.

  • Wrap thin slices around lettuce, rice, and ssamjang for KBBQ.

Treat Hanwoo beef as you would any ultra high-end steak and it will reward you in delicious fashion!

Which Grade Should I Buy?

There are four grading levels for Hanwoo beef based on the meat quality and marbling, with 1++ being the highest premium grade.

  • Grade 1++ – Best of the best. Abundant marbling and tenderness. For special occasions.

  • Grade 1+ – Excellence marbling, flavor, and juiciness. Connoisseur choice.

  • Grade 1 – Above average marbling with premium flavor. Top shelf.

  • Grade 2 – Moderate quality with less marbling. More economical.

For the ultimate experience, go for Grade 1++ cuts like ribeye or striploin. But Grade 1 and 2 Hanwoo still offer superb quality and value, especially for stew meat.

Is American Wagyu Similar?

Domestic wagyu from cattle bred in the US captures some of the rich marbling of Japanese or Korean beef. However, most experts agree that real wagyu raised in Japan or Hanwoo from Korea offer a more refined, complex flavor overall. The original breeds simply can’t be replicated.

That said, American wagyu is often far cheaper than imported options. For the budget conscious, it’s a solid alternative to enjoy excellent quality beef.

Can I Buy Hanwoo Beef Online?

Thanks to specialty online butchers importing directly from Korea, buying genuine Hanwoo beef online is now possible. Reputable dealers like Holy Grail Steak ensure the beef is properly aged, graded, and packaged to arrive fresh.

However, inspect the cuts upon delivery and check for:

  • Bright red color
  • Good marbling
  • Bright white fat
  • Firm texture

If anything seems off or expired, contact the seller immediately for a refund. Buying sight unseen does carry some risk with perishable premium meat.

Is Hanwoo Beef Healthy?

While very high in saturated fat, studies show that not all saturated fat behaves the same way in our bodies. The type found in beef appears less likely to raise bad cholesterol than other kinds.

Eating moderate amounts as part of a veggie-rich diet may be fine for healthy individuals. But those with heart disease or high cholesterol should minimize intake of fatty red meats.

Also keep portions small, as the high calorie density can quickly add up!

Enjoy the Unique Experience of Hanwoo Beef

Part of the appeal of Hanwoo beef lies in the bragging rights of tasting this exclusive delicacy. While expensive and hard to source, it provides a unique eating adventure for adventurous foodies. Following these tips will help you locate and enjoy this premium Korean Wagyu right here in the States. Savor the moment when you take your first juicy, marbled bite!

I went to Korea to find HANWOO, is WAGYU old news?


Is Hanwoo beef available in the US?

Because Hanwoo is available only in Korea, it is a common practice for Koreans living in the U.S. to send Hanwoo as a gift to their loved ones in Korea.

Can you buy Hanwoo beef outside of Korea?

Hanwoo beef is considered the most luxurious of its offerings, but although renowned in South Korea it is less known outside the country as so little of it is sold abroad. Following an outbreak of foot and mouth a decade ago, it has been forbidden to export meat from South Korea except to Hong Kong.

How expensive is Hanwoo beef?

For domestic Hanwoo and Wagyu A2 loin of equivalent quality wholesale prices were US $26.05 per kg and US $23.83 per kg. In large supermarket chains, Seoulconsumers are paying on average of US $31 per pound for sliced chuck roll while Japanese shoppers can buy equivalent product for $21 per pound.

Is Hanwoo more expensive than Wagyu?

In South Korea, locally bred Hanwoo is the meat of choice – and it’s priced accordingly. It’s more expensive than Wagyu of comparable quality, but not as expensive as Kobe (bred in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture), and it’s double the price of a comparable cut of US or Australian beef.

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