Wagyu Beef Grades

Often hailed as the finest beef in the world! Heavy marbling, luscious juiciness, melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and incredibly well-balanced flavours that are both delicate and robust.

Wagyu cattle are significantly different from the traditional breeds of British and European cattle. They are medium-sized, hardy cattle with great temperament and unique meat quality attributes. Wagyu beef is popular around the world because of its superior eating quality compared with other breeds. Not only does wagyu beef have higher levels of intramuscular fat, or marbling, but the meat texture is finer, resulting in a more flavoursome eating experience that melts in your mouth!

Wagyu Grades

There are three things to understand when it comes to marbling scores:

Yield Rating A-C (Japanese Wagyu)

The yield rating is a percentage figure that objectively describes the cutability of the animal or the amount of the animal that can be harvested from a particular area of the carcass. In particular, this score is determined by carefully measuring between the 6th and 7th rib, on the ribeye and the score is either A, B or C.  A has the highest yield, at 72% or more. B is 69-71%, and this is the most common yield. C is under 69%. From a consumer’s standpoint, the yield score isn’t much of a concern. While a rating of A, B or C makes us instinctively think A is better than C, The C grade means that before the meat got to our plate, more of the external fat had to be trimmed away, the ribeye was small, or there was less of that particular cut of meat to harvest from.

Quality Rating 1-5 (Japanese Wagyu)

Quality grades describe the meat’s marbling, colour, brightness, firmness and texture. It also describes the fat quality, colour and lustre. This score is assigned as a value of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest quality and 5 being the highest. A lot of detailed analysis goes into this score.

Beef Marbling Standard (BMS) 1-12 (All Wagyu)

There is definitely some interplay and overlap with the quality score, as marbling is a factor one must consider when assigning a quality score of 1-5, but the BMS score is much a more specific look at the intramuscular fat. Here is the relationship between quality and BMS:

Quality 1 = BMS 1 (below average)
Quality 2 = BMS 2 (average)
Quality 3 = BMS 3-4 (good)
Quality 4 = BMS 5-7 (very good)
Quality 5 = BMS 8-12 (exceptional)

As you can see, a score of 5 covers a wide range when it comes to the BMS scale. BMS 8 is very different from BMS 12, yet they are both a 5 for quality.

Quality takes meat colour, fat colour, texture and other variables into account. BMS is purely about the marbling.