12 Luxurious Meats That Top the Price Charts

Indulging in luxurious foods can be a divine experience for the palate, especially when it involves some of the world’s most expensive meats. Often seen as a status symbol, these meats are prized for their unique flavors, textures, and the meticulous methods of raising and preparing them.

Here’s ten crème de la crème of meats, each offering a distinct culinary journey.

1. Wagyu Beef

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Wagyu beef, originating from Japan, is renowned for its rich marbling and unmatched tenderness. The fat in Wagyu beef melts at a lower temperature, which results in an exceptionally smooth and savory flavor that dissolves in the mouth.

Wagyu cattle are raised with special care, often fed beer, and massaged regularly to ensure the fat is evenly distributed throughout their muscles. This beef can cost up to $200 per pound (ref).

Pairing Suggestions:
To complement the rich, buttery flavor of Wagyu beef, choose a bold red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz that can stand up to the intense marbling. For sides, simple steamed vegetables or a light salad can balance the richness, while a dash of coarse sea salt will enhance the beef’s natural flavors.

2. Jamón Ibérico de Bellota

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Hailing from Spain, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is a type of cured ham produced from black Iberian pigs or a mix of Iberian and Duroc pigs. These pigs roam oak forests along the border between Spain and Portugal and feed almost exclusively on acorns during the montanera (the acorn season).

The high oleic acid content of the acorns leads to a uniquely rich and smooth texture in the meat, which can take up to four years to cure. Prices for this exquisite ham can reach up to $4,500 for an entire leg.

Pairing Suggestions:
The nutty and complex flavors of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota pair wonderfully with a chilled glass of Fino sherry or a light, crisp Spanish Albariño. Serve alongside Manchego cheese, crusty bread, and a fig or quince paste to highlight the ham’s depth of flavor.

3. Matsusaka Beef

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Matsusaka beef, often overshadowed by its more famous cousin Wagyu, comes from the Mie Prefecture of Japan. It is sourced from virgin female Wagyu cows, which are believed to produce softer fat and more evenly distributed marbling.

These cows are also treated to a beer-infused feed and enjoy regular massages, similar to the Wagyu. A steak of Matsusaka beef can cost anywhere from $500 to over $2,500 (ref).

Pairing Suggestions:
With its tender texture and luxurious fat, Matsusaka beef pairs excellently with a medium-bodied red wine, like a Merlot, which complements its rich profile without overpowering it. Accompany this with grilled asparagus or shiitake mushrooms to add earthy notes.

4. Fugu (Pufferfish)

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Fugu, or pufferfish, is a unique and dangerous delicacy commonly served in Japan. The meat of this fish is expensive due to the meticulous preparation involved. Only licensed chefs with years of training can prepare fugu, as its organs contain lethal toxins.

Despite the risks, fugu is celebrated for its delicate, light flavor and unique chewy texture. A full-course meal featuring fugu can cost hundreds of dollars.

Pairing Suggestions:
Fugu’s delicate flavor is best enjoyed with a simple, dry sake or a light-bodied white wine such as Pinot Gris. These beverages complement their subtle sweetness and texture without masking the taste. A side of light, vinegared salads or pickled vegetables will complete this refined dish.

5. Kobe Beef

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Kobe beef is a specific strain of Wagyu beef from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture. It is one of the most highly regulated varieties of Wagyu, with each animal’s lineage meticulously documented.

Famous for its flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture, Kobe beef is a sought-after gourmet item worldwide, fetching prices as high as $300 per pound.

Pairing Suggestions:
Kobe beef, known for its intense marbling and flavor, pairs superbly with full-bodied red wines like Bordeaux or a Japanese red wine, which match its richness. For sides, consider a truffle mashed potato or a simple Japanese-style garlic fried rice, which can enhance the luxuriousness of the meal.

6. Black Truffle Chicken

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While not a meat in itself, black truffles are often used to infuse chickens, particularly in France, creating a luxurious poultry dish known as Poulet aux Truffes Noires. The chickens are typically free-range and fed a diet that includes truffles, which imparts an earthy, rich flavor deeply embedded in the meat.

This dish can be found in high-end restaurants and commands high prices due to the cost of truffles and the extensive rearing process.

Pairing Suggestions:
The earthy flavors of Black Truffle Chicken are perfectly matched with a bold Chardonnay or an aged Burgundy. To further embrace the truffle essence in your meal, accompany it with a creamy polenta or a risotto al tartufo.

7. Berkshire Pork (Kurobuta)

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Berkshire pork, known in Japan as Kurobuta, is considered the “Wagyu of pork” due to its rich flavor, tenderness, and beautiful marbling. Originating from Berkshire, England, this breed is now raised under strict conditions in Japan and the U.S.

The meat from Berkshire pigs has a deep pink hue and a high-fat content that renders down during cooking, providing a moist and flavorful experience. This premium pork can cost up to $20 per pound.

Pairing Suggestions:
A Riesling or a lighter-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir enhances the deep flavors of Kurobuta pork. To complement the meat’s richness, serve with a sweet apple compote or roasted root vegetables.

8. Culatello di Zibello

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Culatello di Zibello is a rare Italian cured meat made from the hindquarters of specially bred pigs. It is seasoned with wine, garlic, and a mix of spices and aged in humid cellars in the Po Valley region for at least 12 months.

This region’s foggy, cold climate enhances the curing process, producing a sweet and delicate flavor that is highly prized. Culatello di Zibello can fetch prices as high as $75 per pound.

Pairing Suggestions:
Enjoy Culatello di Zibello with a glass of Lambrusco, an Italian sparkling red wine that balances the saltiness of the ham. Add a side of melon or figs to bring a refreshing contrast to the dish.

9. Venison from New Zealand Red Deer

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Venison from New Zealand Red Deer is renowned for its rich, gamey flavor, which is less intense than other deer species. The deer are typically pasture-raised and fed on a natural diet, contributing to the lean, clean-tasting meat.

It is not only delicious but also high in iron and low in fat, making it a healthy luxury option. New Zealand Red Deer venison prices vary widely but often reach up to $40 per pound in gourmet markets.

Pairing Suggestions:
Pair the gamey flavor of venison with a robust Zinfandel or a Syrah, which can stand up to its boldness. A berry sauce or a juniper berry spice rub can add a wild accent that complements the meat’s natural flavors.

10. A5 Miyazaki Beef

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A5 Miyazaki beef, another variety of Japanese Wagyu, has gained international acclaim for its exceptional quality and flavor. It comes from Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu and has won numerous awards for its marbling, tenderness, and taste.

Like Kobe beef, A5 Miyazaki beef is graded on a meticulous scale, with A5 being the highest grade available. This luxurious meat can command prices of over $200 per pound.

Pairing Suggestions:
A5 Miyazaki beef, with its exquisite fat content, is best paired with a vintage Champagne or an aged sake, which can cleanse the palate between bites. Keep the sides minimal, like a simple sea salt seasoning or a dab of high-quality wasabi.

11. Ostrich Meat

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Ostrich meat is not only exotic but also one of the healthiest red meats. It is low in cholesterol and fat but high in protein and iron. This meat is lean with a beef-like texture and taste. It is becoming popular in gourmet circles for its environmental benefits, as ostriches require significantly less land, water, and food than cattle.

Depending on the cut and quality, ostrich meat costs around $30 per pound.

Pairing Suggestions:
Ostrich meat’s lean yet rich flavor pairs well with a hearty stout or a Shiraz, which complements its slightly gamey taste. A berry compote or roasted Brussels sprouts can enhance the meal’s flavors.

12. Alaskan King Crab

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While not a traditional meat, Alaskan King Crab is considered a luxurious food item due to its sweet meat and the difficulty of harvesting it from the icy waters of the Bering Sea. These crabs can weigh up to 10 pounds, with legs that provide thick, succulent meat. Alaskan King Crab is typically priced at $60 per pound and is often served in elite seafood restaurants and gourmet settings.

Pairing Suggestions:
The sweet meat of Alaskan King Crab is enhanced by buttery Chardonnay or an aromatic Riesling. Pair it with a simple melted butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon to elevate the natural flavors of the crab.

Each of these meats offers a unique taste experience, representing culinary luxury at its pinnacle. They are sought after by chefs and food enthusiasts worldwide, eager to experience the pinnacle of dining excellence.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.