Understanding the Differences Between Natural Angus and American Wagyu Beef

Apr 10, 2020 | 

As consumers, we have a variety of beef options to choose from, not only in the supermarket, but at some of our favorite restaurants, as well.

You may frequently see terms like “Natural Angus Beef” or “American Wagyu” on store labels or by that juicy beef item you’re eyeing on the menu. We’re going to break down just what those terms mean, so you can impress your friends with all your beef knowledge.

First things first, it’s important to understand that “Angus” and “Wagyu” are breeds of cattle. The Angus breed originated from Scotland and was brought to the U.S. in the 1870s. They have a rich heritage and are now the most popular breed in the country. Wagyu cattle originated in Japan and were first brought to the U.S. in 1975. “American Wagyu” beef is the result of cross-breeding Japanese Wagyu with high-quality continental breeds of cattle. They also must be born and raised within the U.S.

Different breeds produce different types of meat

Each breed of cattle offers a unique set of attributes that contribute to an equally unique eating experience sure to please your taste buds.

Natural Angus

The Angus breed is known for producing meat that is tender, juicy, flavorful and exceptional in marbling. A more commonly known breed, Angus cattle are graded on the USDA grading scale and the majority receive a designation of Prime or Choice.

How does “Natural” fit in? Natural simply means that the beef cannot have artificial ingredients and must be minimally processed. Many producers exceed the USDA’s definition by raising cattle without the use of antibiotics or added growth hormones. Angus beef offers a consistent and unprecedented flavor for an eating experience you’ll want to put on repeat.

angus beef steak

Photo Cred: National Beef

American Wagyu

Often referred to as a delicacy, production methods of Wagyu result in tiny flakes of marbling throughout all retail cuts creating a juicy, delicate beef flavor with a velvety texture. Due to its intense marbling, Wagyu beef is graded on the Japanese BMS (Beef Marbling Standards) because the USDA grading scale does not offer a designation to adequately capture marbling score. Most American Wagyu beef also carries the “Natural” label as it’s raised without the use of added growth hormones. Ultimately, American Wagyu offers a unique eating experience steeped in intense flavor and tenderness.

Wagyu strip loin steak

Health benefits of beef

There are a few misconceptions that beef is not as healthy for you as some other protein sources. In reality, just one 3-oz serving of beef is packed with nutrients like B12, Zinc and Niacin that are good for you. In fact, that 3-oz serving provides half of the Daily Value of the protein we need. Beef provides us the nutrients we need to fuel our bodies with essential nutrients to power our every day.

Get Cooking!

Whether you prefer natural Angus beef or American Wagyu beef, you’ll find a variety of recipes that optimize the beef’s flavor and texture. Try these recipes with natural Angus beef or Imperial American Wagyu to experience the premium flavors for yourself.