If your average filet mignon just isn’t doing it for you anymore, it might be time to test the waters with the most decadent, and priciest, high-end meats out there.
We have for you five prime cuts from across the animal kingdom, ranging from fastidiously prepared oddities to potentially dangerous slices of fish. Some may not be readily available in America, but I never said it was going to be easy, Mr. Rockefeller.
1. Fugu Fish – $135/lb.
This dish nearly claimed Homer Simpson’s life, and the cartoon did NOT exaggerate the apparent danger in eating these slices of blowfish sashimi.
While no statistics are kept, somewhere between 20 to 40 incidents occur yearly with a handful of deaths from eating the puffer fish, which contains high concentrations of the neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin. Chefs must take great care during preparation to avoid serving poisonous cuts of meat or contaminating the edible portions.
If you taste these paper-thin delicacies and live to tell the tale, then you’ll be rewarded with a subtle fish flavor and chewy consistency.
While the sashimi is typically served with a ponzu sauce, many places will also serve skin, organs, or fried cuts from the fish, which are almost flavorful enough to justify the risk.
2. Ōtoro – $24/piece
It would be an understatement to say that Japan loves its sushi. They’re apparently willing to risk their lives for it, and they’ll also shell out a whopping $24 per bite of tuna ōtoro.
Americans should be familiar with the more abundant bluefin tuna cut chūtoro, which has a more steak-like consistency and bold flavor compared to its expensive brother. Ōtoro is the fattier and less abundant cut of meat, leading to a rich flavor that drives the huge price tags.
3. Jamón Ibérico – $140/lb.
The popular tapas or charcuterie centerpiece jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), as its name suggests, hails from the Iberian Peninsula on the south side of Spain. The black Iberian pigs are allowed to roam freely before switching to a diet of grains and acorns.
When the pigs consume more grain, they take on a rich ham flavor akin to prosciutto, more acorns and it will give the meat a unique, nutty flavor that pairs excellently with soft cheeses.
The highest grades are strictly acorn-fed, leading to a higher price tag for this singular palette experience.
4. Kobe Wagyu – $300/lb.
Wagyu (which translates to “Japanese Cow”) is renowned for its marbling, producing some of the richest cuts of steak known to man. Many of these beloved bovine feature regional names, but none is more famous than the high-end Kobe beef.
Whether you’re eating strip, filet, or prime rib, this beef is raised to the highest standards before it reaches your lips. Since exported in limited quantities, most of what’s served in America is a cross-breed of Wagyu and Angus steak, so you’ll most likely have to hop a flight to experience the real deal.
5. Ayam Cemani – $200/animal
The Ayam Cemani breed of chicken is definitely something to cluck about. Much like Ford’s Model T, this Ferrari-of-fowls comes in one color only: a very sleek black. Due to hyperpigmentation, its meat, organs, and bones are black as night, as are the feathers, save for a green shimmer.
The Indonesian bird is coveted in its homeland for the reported healing qualities of eating black meats. Only one person breeds Ayam Cemanis in America, and he charges a stupefying $200 a pop though prices are expected to drop once their population increases.
In the meantime, when you consider that you can buy a dozen standard chicks for around $85, you’re bound to think long and hard before putting this mother clucker in the deep fryer.