Wagyu 101

The Science of Wagyu Beef: What Makes the Meat so Marbled?

By Nicholas Fiorentino


When it comes to beef marble scores, there is no question that Wagyu reigns king. This Japanese steak is known for its incredibly marbled meat, which is said to be the most tender and flavorful in the world, making it an absolute favorite for Chefs & steak enthusiasts worldwide. In this article we'll explore the science of Wagyu beef. 

There are three key factors that contribute to Wagyu beef's signature marbling: Diet, Genetics, and Farming.


The Diet Wagyu Cattle are Fed

First of all, Wagyu cattle are fed a diet that is richer in fat than the average cow. This high-fat diet helps to promote intramuscular fat, which results in the characteristic marbling that we see in Wagyu beef. 

Wagyu Beef Genetics

In addition, the four breeds of Wagyu naturally have a higher percentage of body fat than other breeds of cattle. This is due to the fact that Wagyu cattle originate from cold climates, where having a higher percentage of body fat helps to insulate them from the cold weather. Furthermore, their fat displays intramuscularly, whereas other types of cattle tend to have their fat deposits sit on top of the muscles.

Wagyu Cattle Farming

Finally, the way that Wagyu beef is farmed also contributes to its marbling. In Japan, Wagyu cattle are often massaged and fed sake and beer, which helps to break down the muscle tissue and promote marbling. In addition, the cattle are given hay and straw, which also helps to tenderize the meat. 

Final Note

All of these factors combine to create the melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor that makes Wagyu beef so sought after by steak lovers around the world. So next time you're enjoying a delicious Wagyu steak, take a moment to appreciate all of the science that went into making it so incredibly marbled!


Wagyu beef is revered around the world for its buttery taste and fine marbling. In order to find the highest quality Wagyu available, you’ll need to work with a trusted butcher that knows and understands the ins and outs of Wagyu. The Meatery is dedicated to supplying our customers with only the highest grades of AmericanAustralian, and Japanese Wagyu. Pick from our favorite cuts, or to learn more about our diverse offerings, visit us online or in-person at our San Diego Meatery locations.

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