Even if you’re a bona fide steak connoisseur, odds are you haven’t heard of Sanuki olive wagyu. And that’s because it’s only existed since 2006, and is basically the rarest type of beef on earth, with only about 2,200 heads of cattle currently in existence. This special breed of wagyu is difficult to track down even in its native Japan, but one high-end online butcher shop will soon be selling a (very) small amount to the public.
Sanuki olive wagyu comes from a handful of small farms in and around a small island in Kagawa, Japan’s smallest prefecture, an area that was historically called Sanuki. These prized cattle are fed caramelized olive pulp, a byproduct of local olive oil production, and combined with wagyu’s legendarily coddled and relaxed lifestyle it results in beef that’s incredibly marbled; the high level of oleic acid in the olive pulp also means that there’s a higher percentage of healthy, anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat in olive wagyu than in any other type of beef on earth. It also packs a bigger umami punch than even the famed Kobe beef.
Last fall, the founder of CrowdCow, an online butcher shop, traveled to Kagawa to meet with Masaki Ishii, the farmer who spent three years developing the olive-drying process leading to the creation of olive wagyu in 2006; while there, he earned the goodwill of enough farmers to allow him to import the steak and make it available in the US.
If all this sounds right up your alley (and presumably, if money is no object), you can enter for a chance to purchase this rarefied beef for yourself through CrowdCow’s website. Sign up and make any purchase before April 16, and you’ll be among the first to be allowed to purchase the waygu at 9 a.m. PST on that day. If there’s any meat left, it will go on sale to the public the following day.
May the odds be ever in your favor! And if you don’t luck out this time, you might end up seeing it on the menu at one of America’s most expensive steakhouses.