Snake River Wagyu: A Premium Beef Experience


If you’ve been considering indulging in the exquisite flavors of American Wagyu beef but are unsure whether it’s worth the investment, this article is for you. Join me as I share my honest opinion of Snake River Farms’ offerings and whether I would order them again. As someone who has savored the finest steaks across the globe, I understand the desire for quality beef without the hefty price tag. Let’s explore the world of Snake River Wagyu and see if it lives up to the hype.

Note – At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, we believe in providing unbiased reviews. We purchased our Snake River Farms Wagyu ribeyes independently and received no special perks or discounts.

What is American Wagyu beef?

Snake River Farms proudly dubs themselves as “The Pioneers of American Wagyu.” But what exactly sets American Wagyu beef apart? To understand this, let’s first delve into Japanese Wagyu.

“Wagyu” refers to Japanese cattle, translating to “Japanese cow.” While there are three major Japanese Wagyu brands, “Kobe” is the most familiar. Interestingly, all three brands are often referred to as “Kobe” beef, similar to how many refer to any tissue as “Kleenex,” regardless of the brand.

However, it’s important to note that Wagyu beef and Kobe beef are not the same. Kobe beef is a brand of Wagyu beef, but not all Wagyu beef is Kobe. The three major Japanese brands are Kobe Beef, Matsusaka Ushi Beef, and Ohmi Beef, each originating from different regions in Japan.

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What makes Japanese Wagyu exceptional is its intense marbling, or intramuscular fat. This high fat concentration results in unparalleled tenderness, with typically thin, small portions weighing only 3-4 ounces. So how does American Wagyu compare?

According to the Snake River Farms website, in the 1980s, the company successfully crossbred purebred Japanese Wagyu cattle with high-quality American cattle, creating a new breed known as American Wagyu. This breed possesses the superior marbling similar to Japanese Wagyu, combined with the robust beef flavor for which American cattle are renowned.

Even celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck attests to the excellence of American Wagyu, stating:

“Snake River Farms’ American Wagyu is the best beef in the world.”

And if it’s good enough for Wolfgang, it’s certainly worth a try!

Snake River Farms Black Grade vs. Gold Grade – What sets them apart?

When choosing your American Wagyu, you have two options: the Snake River Farms Black Grade or the Gold Grade, akin to selecting different USDA grades of beef. Both grades are determined using the Japanese Beef Marbling Score (BMS) on a scale of 1 to 12. Here’s a comparison:

Black Grade

Snake River Farms’ Black Grade steaks score 6 or above on the Japanese BMS scale, surpassing even the finest USDA Prime beef. A Black Grade ribeye, weighing an average of 15 ounces and cut 1.5 inches thick, costs around $75.

Gold Grade

The Gold Grade beef represents the pinnacle of American Wagyu, boasting a Japanese Beef Marbling Score (BMS) between 9 and 12. A 1.5-inch thick cut of Gold Grade American Wagyu ribeye will set you back about $99.

Black vs. Gold – Which should you choose?

Ultimately, the choice is yours. However, if you’re investing in premium beef, why not go all the way and opt for the top-grade? While Gold Grade ribeyes may cost 25% more than the Black Grade, it’s still more affordable than a single steak dinner at a high-end restaurant, which can easily exceed $350 for two people. By choosing the Gold Grade, you’ll experience the epitome of American Wagyu and savor its unrivaled quality.

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For my own taste test, I ordered both a Black Grade ribeye and a Gold Grade ribeye. While both were exceptional, the Gold Grade proved slightly more tender in my opinion. However, had I not compared the two side by side, I likely wouldn’t have noticed any difference.

Snake River Farms American Wagyu Ribeyes

Initial Impression – Packaging, Delivery, and More

The prospect of having American Wagyu beef delivered to your doorstep may seem daunting due to shipping costs. However, as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Rest assured, Snake River Farms’ service is top-notch.

Our order from Snake River Farms arrived frozen and on time. Each item was individually vacuum-sealed and meticulously packed in a reusable insulated bag adorned with the Snake River Farms logo. The package arrived in two insulated boxes, complete with dry ice. The glossy black boxes exuded a sense of luxury, unlike typical cardboard containers.

In addition to the exceptional packaging, our order featured a high-quality personalized gift letter and a cooking tips brochure, making it perfect for gifting.

How I Prepared the Snake River Farms American Wagyu Ribeyes

Given the premium nature of these steaks, I didn’t want to experiment. Instead, I stuck to my tried-and-true seasoning and cooking method. Some argue that high-quality beef requires nothing more than salt and pepper, but I opted for my homemade steak seasoning, which never fails to impress.

After liberally seasoning the steaks, I set up my Weber charcoal grill as a smoker and employed the reverse sear technique. For those unfamiliar, reverse searing involves smoking the meat at a low temperature before finishing it off with a high-temperature sear. This method allows for precise control over the steak’s doneness, maximizing both flavor and the perfect crust while minimizing the risk of overcooking.

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At a grill temperature of approximately 250 degrees, the steak cooks more slowly, providing ample time to achieve the desired doneness. This approach ensures tender, flavorful results, even for the most discerning palates.

Snake River Farms Meat Offerings

The Taste: A Symphony of Flavors

Now, let’s delve into the most crucial aspect of any Snake River Farms Wagyu review—the taste. As I sliced into the Wagyu ribeyes, I immediately noticed the intricate lines of marbling coursing through the beef. As someone who firmly believes that “fat equals flavor,” this was an enticing sight.

And let me tell you, these ribeyes delivered in terms of flavor. The enhanced marbling found in American Wagyu creates an unparalleled tenderness, juiciness, and overall deliciousness. Even after allowing my steaks to rest for a full ten minutes, the cutting board was awash with succulent juices.

The meat itself boasted a buttery yet robust taste, leaving me increasingly impressed with each succulent bite. If you’re a connoisseur of fine steaks and don’t mind paying for quality, I wholeheartedly recommend trying these American Wagyu ribeyes.

Where Can You Buy Snake River Farms Meat?

If you’re fortunate enough to reside in an area with grocery stores carrying Snake River Farms meat, you can skip the shipping costs. However, if this isn’t an option, fear not. You can conveniently purchase a range of quality meat products on the Snake River Farms website.

Final Thoughts – The Epitome of Exceptional Beef

Snake River Farms Wagyu represents the epitome of premium beef. While the price may seem steep, the unparalleled quality justifies the investment. Having dined on a $100 ribeye at a fancy steakhouse in Chicago, I can confidently say that the Snake River Farms American Wagyu ribeye I cooked on my Weber charcoal grill surpassed it.

From the prompt delivery and exquisite packaging to the remarkable marbling and taste, Snake River Farms meats are a cut above the rest. While they may not be an everyday indulgence due to their higher price point, they make perfect gifts for special occasions—be it Father’s Day, Christmas, or a romantic anniversary celebration at home.

Take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey with Snake River Farms Wagyu today!

Check out Snake River Farms meat offerings here!

And if you’re curious to witness the mesmerizing cooking process of Snake River Farms Wagyu ribeyes, head over to my YouTube channel for a visual feast.