The World's Most Expensive Steak Comes From Pampered Cows

Hailing from Japan, Olive Wagyu is the world's rarest, and unsurprisingly as a result, most expensive steak.  The Kuroge Washu or Japanese Black aren't pampered like they are out for a relaxing day at the spa, but they do lead a pretty nice life, free of strenuous activity. They even get little perks like having their coats brushed to improve circulation and alleviate stress (per Triple T Ranch). The idea is that a happy cow is a tasty cow.

The unique breed that is raised to create Olive Wagyu is found only in one location, which is the only place in Japan where olives grow: Japan's Kagawa Prefecture, where small herds roam the picturesque Shodoshima Island, growing robustly on a regimen of olive feed made with pressed olive pulp, Inawara rice straw, and Italian ryegrass, per Forbes. The olive for which the beef is named lends it an intense umami flavor. As the saying goes, "fat is flavor" and Olive Wagyu has a higher fat content than any other steak in the world, making it an uncanny epicurean experience. The exceptional fat marbling creates a tender, melt-in-your-mouth cut of beef. In Japan, where there is a long history of raising Wagyu cattle for meat, there is actually a Wagyu Olympics in which Olive Wagyu claimed first place in fat content in 2017 out of 182 competitors.

'Beef chocolate'

Although Olive Wagyu is exceedingly rare (there are only approximately 2,000 of the Kuroge Washu cows in Japan) a company called Crowd Cow began importing Olive Wagyu to the U.S. in 2018 to sell to consumers, working directly with Masaka Ishii, the farmer who originated the olive-fed beef process in Kagawa Prefecture.

In 2019, a writer with CNBC ordered one of the $240 Olive Wagyu steaks from Crowd Cow to see if it merited such a lofty price tag, taking it to a Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant called Cote Korean steakhouse to be cooked by a professional. While lauding its melt-in-your-mouth and tender qualities, he found it incredibly rich and questioned whether he could finish an entire steak, describing it as "more of an experience than a meal." However, Cote owner Simon Kim, who also sampled the Olive Wagyu, called it "beef chocolate," with fat that "tastes like gold."

Crowd Cow does recommend cutting Olive Wagyu into small strips and cooking them one at a time to truly relish each bite. After all, if you are paying hundreds of dollars for a steak, it would probably behoove you to savor every last morsel.