How to Get an Olive Wagyu Brisket, Quite Possibly the Rarest Brisket on Earth

Imported by Crowd Cow, the briskets are now available in America for the first time

Japanese Olive Wagyu Brisket Is Imported by Crowd Cow.
Japanese Olive Wagyu brisket Is imported by Crowd Cow. (Crowd Cow)
By Evan Bleier / September 13, 2019 10:07 am

Even if it is seared to perfection, Olive Wagyu is still one of the world’s rarest meats.

Produced from a herd of just 2,000 cows that call a handful of farms on Shodoshima — a small island in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture — home, Olive Wagyu takes its name from the special diet the Kuroge-washu cattle it’s derived from subsist on. (The same breed also produces Kobe beef.)

Unlike other Wagyu cattle, the cows on Shodoshima eat a diet which includes upcycled pulp taken from the spent olives used to produce olive oil. After being toasted to make it less acrid and bitter, the olive pulp is added into a diet that also includes Inawara rice straw and Italian ryegrass. That addition changes the composition of the fat in the already high-quality beef, making it even more delicious and tender.

The marbled fat is award-winning: Olive Wagyu bested 182 other entries from beef producers across Japan and won the Best Fat Quality category at the 2017 Wagyu Olympics. And in addition to flavor, the increased level of heart-healthy oleic acid — which exists in both olive oil and beef fat — found in the meat makes it healthier than other varieties of Wagyu.

Since only a few of Kagawa Prefecture’s Kuroge-washu cattle are harvested each month, premium cuts of Olive Wagyu like filet mignons and ribeyes are exceedingly difficult to find in Japan — much less the United States. And other cuts, like the Packer brisket, have been impossible to get in the U.S. — until now.

Japanese Olive Wagyu Brisket Is Imported by Crowd Cow.
Japanese Olive Wagyu brisket Is imported by Crowd Cow. (Crowd Cow)

For the first time ever, Seattle-based Crowd Cow has gotten clearance to import a limited number of Olive Wagyu Packer briskets into the States.

“These are really rare and special briskets,” Crowd Cow co-founder Joe Heitzeberg tells InsideHook. “We’re taking the quintessential crème de la crème in terms of cuts for barbecue mastery and smoking and we’re marrying it with the rarest beef in the world. Having these Olive Wagyu briskets is just mind-blowing in terms of the marbling and fat they have. There is really no such thing as marbled brisket other than this product.”

According to Crowd Cow, the company has shown off the marbled brisket to some of the top pitmasters in the U.S. and they haven’t believed what they’ve seen.

“Olive Wagyu brisket is insane … It’s like eating the richest, smokiest imaginable brisket fat in suspension with meat holding it together,” said Steven Raichlen, BBQ expert and James Beard award-winning author of The Barbecue Bible.

Broken in half from their original size, the Half Packer briskets Crowd Cow is selling are cut longitudinally so, unlike most briskets available via resale, contain both the point (the fatty part of the brisket) and the flat (a leaner cut which is also known as the “first cut”).

“You cannot find a full Packer Brisket cut that way here in the United States,” Heitzeberg says. “It’s the best of both worlds.”Weighing in at 15 pounds untrimmed, the Olive Wagyu briskets are now available at the starting price of $42 per pound and can be purchased via an exclusive 24-hour presale here. Crowd Cow has fewer than 50 of ’em, so don’t drag your hooves if you want to get one.

Once you get yours, here’s how to trim it like a pro.