What Grocery Stores Sell Wagyu Beef? Your Guide to Finding This Premium Meat

As the legend of beautifully marbled, lip-smackingly tender Wagyu beef spreads, more consumers are seeking out this luxury ingredient. But sourcing true Japanese Wagyu and its American-bred cousins can be challenging, especially for home cooks. Which grocery stores actually carry authentic Wagyu in their meat departments?

This definitive guide will walk you through exactly where to find Wagyu beef, from mass retailers like Walmart to specialty grocers. You’ll also learn how to identify authentic Wagyu, understand the different grades of quality, and get tips for cooking this premium delicacy. Read on to start enjoying one of the world’s most decadent meats!

Understanding What Real Wagyu Beef Is

Before exploring where to buy it, let’s make sure you know precisely what authentic Wagyu entails:

  • Japanese Black breed – The term “Wagyu” refers specifically to cattle breed descendants of ancient Japanese stock. Other breeds don’t qualify as Wagyu.

  • Genetics – Purebred cattle have a minimum percentage of confirmed Wagyu genetics – typically over 87%. Crossbreds have 50% or more.

  • Marbling – Extraordinary fat marbling is Wagyu’s claim to fame Thin veins of fat lace through the meat for unparalleled richness.

  • Terroir – Wagyu cattle are raised in a defined region of Japan under exacting protocols to develop special flavor.

  • Certification – Legitimate Wagyu will carry official certification from organizations like the American Wagyu Association with registered pedigree.

  • Price – As a luxury good, authentic Wagyu commands a heavy premium over regular beef, typically $40+ per pound. Beware of anything cheap claiming to be Wagyu.

Knowing these criteria helps identify legit Wagyu when shopping. Next let’s explore which retailers actually stock it.

Where to Find Wagyu at Major National Grocery Chains

Tracing the availability of Wagyu at America’s biggest supermarkets reveals limited offerings focused on ground beef and strip steaks:

  • Walmart – Sporadically stocks American Wagyu ground beef at high-end locations. No Japanese Wagyu.

  • Costco – Sells American Wagyu patties along with luxury strip steaks and tenderloins under the Snake River Farms brand. Imports some Japanese Wagyu.

  • Sam’s Club – Owned by Walmart so availability is similarly minimal. May find American Wagyu ground meat or strips seasonally.

  • Kroger – Minimal selection of Wagyu, occasionally ground beef or strips from American producers. Higher end locations like Mariano’s may have.

  • Publix – Doesn’t currently stock any Japanese or American Wagyu beef options.

  • HEB – Specialty and high volume locations sporadically carry American Wagyu ground beef and strips from Creekstone Farms.

As expected, availability remains extremely limited at national chains. To access better selection, specialty grocers are the way to go.

Your Best Bet for Wagyu is at Independent Butcher Shops and Specialty Stores

Discerning beef fans will have to go beyond big box grocers to find more extensive choices of authentic domestic and imported Wagyu:

  • Whole Foods Market – By far the top national chain for Wagyu beef carried regularly. Good selection of Japanese and domestic ribeyes, tenderloins, brisket, and ground beef.

  • Local butcher shops – Independent meat markets, especially those with house aging rooms, are another prime place to find cuts of Wagyu from small producers.

  • Asian markets – Stores specializing in Japanese ingredients may stock a few luxury cuts of imported A5 Wagyu like ribeye and short plate.

  • Fresh Market – This mid-size gourmet chain features exclusive Wagyu packs like ribeye caps and ground wagyu boxes sourced from Miyazaki Prefecture.

  • Meat subscription boxes – Online vendors like Snake River Farms Gold Grade Box ship coveted cuts like Wagyu ribeye steaks and filet mignon right to your door.

  • Restaurant suppliers – Some pro restaurant supply companies now offer Wagyu to consumers online, like Midwest Wagyu Beef direct from Indiana pastures.

Seeking out these independent retailers provides your best opportunity to procure this rare beef. Call ahead to confirm availability and pricing.

Grading Wagyu: Understanding A1-A5 Japanese Beef Rating

Similar to USDA beef grades, Japanese Wagyu is also rated for quality based on the meat’s beautiful marbling. The ratings run from A1 to A5:

  • A1 – Features modest thin veins of fat marbling. Equivalent to USDA Prime grade.

  • A2 – Increased marbling over A1 for added tenderness and juiciness.

  • A3 – Abundant marbling on par with USDA Prime+ certified Angus beef.

  • A4 – Intense marbling creates a luscious texture dubbed “melt-in-your-mouth.”

  • A5 – The pinnacle with highest percentage of fat interspersed in the meat. Incredibly decadent.

Only the top tiers – A4 and A5 Wagyu – are exported from Japan. If you find A5 Wagyu at retail, expect to pay $200+ per pound – making it one of the most expensive meats worldwide.

American Wagyu Offers an Affordable Alternative

Domestic ranchers have imported fullblood Wagyu genetics since the 1990s and developed their own luxurious, highly-marbled breeds. The best include:

  • Snake River Farms – This pioneer has perfected their Black Grade beef with A5-level marbling. Sold at Costco and online.

  • Double 8 Cattle – Their Merit Grade Wagyu rivals Japanese marbling at a lower cost. Available online.

  • Imperial Wagyu – Hand massages and beer integrate beautiful fat. Shop online or in California.

  • First Light Wagyu – Australians mastered infusing Wagyu-style fat with Holstein cattle. Sold online.

For about half the price of Japanese Wagyu, these brands let home cooks enjoy premium quality marbled beef. Seek them out at grocers and online.

How to Identify Authentic Wagyu at the Store

With so many common beef breeds inaccurately marketed as “Wagyu,” be a savvy shopper and check for these indicators of authenticity:

  • Breed stamps – Legitimate Wagyu will be clearly labeled with the exact breed like Japanese Black or American Wagyu.

  • Marbling – You should see ample thin veins of fat visibly marbled throughout raw cuts. If it lacks marbling, it’s not true Wagyu.

  • Certifications – Ensure there’s an official stamp like Japanese Wagyu Association or American Wagyu Association.

  • Farm traceability – Quality brands can trace back to exact farms to confirm ancestry and Wagyu genetics.

  • Tight trim – Wagyu is trimmed closer than regular beef to showcase marbling. Untrimmed fat caps signal regular beef falsely marketed as Wagyu.

When uncertain, ask the store’s butcher or customer service to verify authenticity before purchase.

How to Cook Wagyu Beef to Perfection

Once you secure the good stuff, unleash the full flavor potential of Wagyu using these expert cooking tips:

  • Smaller portions – The richness of Wagyu means smaller 3-4 oz. portions satisfy compared to a giant steak.

  • Quick cook – Flash fry, griddle, or sear briefly to medium rare. Extended cooking diminishes the delicate fat.

  • Simple seasoning – A touch of high-quality salt and pepper is ideal. Let the beef shine.

  • Rest before slicing – Letting the meat relax 5 minutes preserves juices.

  • Add fat – Sear or bake Wagyu in duck fat, olive oil, or butter to layer more decadence.

  • Make tallow – Render extra fat trimmings into cooking tallow for the ultimate Wagyu experience.

  • Reduce waste – Use bones for stock, turn fat into candles or soap. Use every precious scrap!

With care in prep and cooking, Wagyu beef presents a sublime eating adventure well worth the splurge.

Is It Possible to Buy Wagyu Online? Tips for Online Ordering

The growth in ecommerce opens new avenues for home delivery of coveted Wagyu cuts:

  • Check out online butcher shops and meat subscriptions like Crowd Cow that offer curated Wagyu boxes.

  • Place orders direct from ranches like First Light Wagyu Australian beef shipped fresh to your door.

  • Look for flash sales on Wagyu bundles including variety cuts like ground beef, short ribs, skirt steaks.

  • Factor $15-$25 for overnight shipping with frozen gel packs to ensure it arrives properly frozen or chilled.

  • Carefully inspect shipments for any signs of thawing and confirm optimal freshness before consuming.

  • Cook frozen Wagyu within 3-6 months for best quality. Thaw in fridge 1-2 days before cooking.

Online ordering requires meticulous handling but delivers sought-after Wagyu beef without leaving home.

How Much Does Wagyu Beef Actually Cost?

There’s no getting around the fact that real deal Wagyu carries a luxury price tag. Here’s what to budget:

  • Japanese Wagyu – $120 to $300+ per pound depending on cut and grade. A5 Wagyu can run $450 per pound.

  • American Wagyu – $50 to $150 per pound for prime cuts like ribeye, tenderloin, ground beef. More budget friendly.

  • Wagyu brisket/short ribs – Typically $80 to $150 per pound since these tougher cuts highlight Wagyu’s tenderness.

  • Wagyu beef packs – Look for sampler packs from 3-10 pounds with an assortment of steaks, ground, and specialty cuts for more reasonable per pound costs.

  • Japanese Kobe – This premium regional type of Wagyu fetches the highest prices, like $200 for one steak.

For the budget-conscious, smaller portions of American Wagyu allow cooking this luxury beef for under $50 per meal.

Is Wagyu Worth the Money?

For hardcore beef fans, biting into a glistening cut of well-marbled Wagyu is a bucket list experience that warrants the price. Here’s why:

  • The intricate fat marbling delivers incomparable richness and mouthfeel. Like beef foie gras.

  • Flavors are multifaceted – buttery, nutty, savory umami that coat the palate.

  • Wagyu beautifully transitions from tender to toothsome as you chew, ending in a beefy finish.

  • The meat quality inspires creativity in the kitchen to compose special dishes worthy of this star ingredient.

  • Ethical, humane raising practices give peace of mind. Many ranches are environmentally progressive too.

While not an everyday indulgence, splurging on Wagyu turns a steakhouse meal into a extraordinary food memory. That’s priceless for hardcore foodies!

Where to Buy Wagyu: The Bottom Line

What key intel should shoppers take away to seek out this luxury beef?

  • Finding authentic Japanese Wagyu requires visits to specialty grocers or ordering direct online. Availability at big chains is minimal.

  • Domestic American Wagyu offers similar marbling at a more affordable everyday price point. Look for brands like Snake River Farms.

  • Focus purchases on splurge-worthy cuts like ground beef, ribeye, and strip steaks where the fat marbling impact is greatest.

  • Budget $100+ for Japanese Wagyu and around $50-75 for American per pound. Deals can be found online via packs.

While sourcing legitimate Wagyu requires some effort, the memorable eating experience is worth the hunt for hardcore beef devotees and aspiring gourmands. Any meat lover deserves to try Wagyu at least once in their lives!

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Is Aldi Wagyu actually Wagyu?

Aldi’s Wagyu steaks are produced from traditional pure bred Japanese cattle breeds that are born and reared in Scotland as part of the supermarket’s commitment to championing the highest quality Scottish produce.

Does Costco sell real Wagyu?

Authentic Wagyu Japanese A5 Ground Beef, 4 Total Packs, 4 Lbs. Total | Costco.

Why is Walmart Wagyu so cheap?

It’s important to note that the lower price point is due to the fact that Walmart’s Wagyu is not the same grade as traditional Japanese A5 Wagyu.

Where do you get Wagyu meat from?

The highly revered beef comes exclusively from Japan and is sourced from four main cattle breeds – Kuroge (Black), Aakage (Brown), Nihon Tankaku (Shorthorn) and Mukaku (Polled). The only way to consistently produce this exceptional quality meat is to practice the highest, most meticulous forms of cattle raising.

Where to buy wagyu steak online?

Gift boxes are available, making them an easy choice for someone who loves quality steak. Though there are numerous places online to purchase wagyu beef, we found Holy Grail Steak Co. to be the best overall option. Holy Grail offers the widest selection of Japanese and American Wagyu steaks and has a long history of selling authentic Kobe beef.

Who makes Wagyu beef?

Snake River Farms Snake River Farms was one of the first meat companies to produce high-quality Wagyu beef in the US. The owner and his team started crossing Japanese Wagyu with quality breeds, which created American Wagyu cattle. They’ve been continually refining their beef since then, so it offers a lot of marbling and flavor.

Is crowd cow a good place to buy Wagyu beef?

Crowd Cow offers special deals which make it the best bang for your buck. But they also care about how ranchers raise their beef and only pick those that are raising them right. You’ll see that the flavor of the Wagyu beef and its firmness are a step above everything else.

Are Costco Wagyu Steaks a real steak?

The A5 Wagyu steaks secured for our Costco members are the most rare and single most prized beef steaks found globally. In 2018, only 200 metric tons are imported duty free into the United States. With a much smaller percentage of that total weight graded in Japan as A5 quality.

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