From left to right, A5, A4, A3 cuts of Olive Wagyu
Every country operates under different practices for grading their beef and identifying the best of the best. I've explained a little bit about the USDA grading practices as they relate to marbling but with Olive Wagyu right around the corner, I want to dive into Japanese grading standards and explore just how magnificent these cuts really are—especially since we now offer A3, A4, and A5 Olive Wagyu!
Raised on Shodoshima Island, Olive Wagyu is the pinnacle of craft beef luxury. There are only 2200 Olive Wagyu cattle in the world, all raised on coastal Kagawa, which makes this the world's rarest beef. So how do you choose between the three incredible grades available?
About Japanese Grading
The in-depth grading process is managed by the Japanese Meat Grading Association based on yield and quality. You can probably guess that the best yields have more great cuts than others. Grade A is the best yield, following by grades B and C. Before I get too into it, you should know that USDA Prime is roughly the equivalent of A2 or A3 in the Japanese grading system. That means A5 Japanese Wagyu is literally off the USDA charts.
The Japanese system includes BMS marbling score and it takes at least three years to become a certified rater in Japan. The ratings serve as the foundation at every auction house in the country.
The quality score depends on a multi-step assessment process where a score of 5 or "very good" is the highest possible. These scores indicate a high amount of intramuscular fat (the marbling!), firm cuts with finely-textured marbling, and an excellent luster and sheen. Generally, deeply red meat with brighter marbling scores higher on those points. In this assessment process, the lowest score is used, so you just know that beef graded A5 is literally the best of the best.
Olive Wagyu Grading - A3, A4, A5
A5 is the highest grade possible and the most luxurious beef you can buy. Exquisite marbling, extreme tenderness, packed with robust flavors. A5 Olive Wagyu is the world's rarest steak. To be honest with you, this isn't a typical "steak." It's a delicacy that makes the most extravagant eating experience.
The incredibly marbled A4 has more of a "steak-chew" than A5, though A4 is still a luxury bite which makes it a wonderful special occasion treat. Richly marbled with a soft, tender texture, A4 is right up there with extra-decadent A5 cuts.
A3 Olive Wagyu has a closer mouth-feel to US steaks, but still melts in your mouth with rich umami flavors. Because it has less marbling than A4 or A5 (though still a lot!), you can eat more of it without feeling stuffed to the gills.
Getting to know our cuts
Our Olive Wagyu steaks are cut in the style and tradition of Japanese steakhouses, which means Rib Steaks will be cut approximately ¾” thick, as will Strip/Sirloin steaks; and Tenderloin steaks will be 1½” - 2” thick. As you’re probably thinking, this is thinner than a traditional American steak. Japanese cuisine has a different tradition and we want to be true to that.
Your Olive Wagyu will arrive frozen and can easily be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. We highly recommend cutting it into thin strips and searing on a stainless steel pan (not over open flame). Watch our cooking videos and consider these Wagyu recipes to get a sense for how to prepare your beef. If you're feeling really adventurous, we recommend a few out of the box techniques shared by Steak Holders on Instagram!