If you’ve gotten over the same old routine it might be time to test the waters with some of the high-end meats listed below. You’ll find the top cuts from across the animal kingdom, ranging from fastidiously prepared oddities to potential dangerous slices of fish. Some might not even be readily available in America, but I never said it was going to be easy, Mr. Rockefeller.
How much: $135/lb.
This dish nearly claimed Homer Simpson’s life, and the cartoon did NOT exaggerate the danger apparent in eating these blowfish sashimi slices. Approximately 20 to 40 people die every year from eating the puffer fish, which contains high concentrations of neurotoxins. 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 you’ll be rewarded with a subtly fishy flavor and a chewy consistency. Many places will also serve skin, organs, or fried cuts of the blowfish which are almost flavorful enough to justify the risk.
How Much: $24/piece.
It would be an understatement to say that Japan really loves its freaking 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 are probably more familiar with the more abundant bluefin tuna cut chūtoro, which has more of a 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.
How much: $140/lb.
The popular tapas or charcuterie center piece Jamon Iberico, as its name suggests, hails from the Iberian peninsula or south side of Spain. The black Iberian pig (“Jamon” = “Ham”… get it?) are allowed to roam freely before being switched to a diet of grains and acorns. If more grain is used in the feed, the pig will take on a rich ham flavor akin to prosciutto. More acorns on the other hand, 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.
How much: $300/lb.
Wagyu (which literally translates to “Japanese cow”) is renowned for its marbling, producing some of the richest cuts of steak know to man. Many of these beloved bovine feature regional names, but none is more famous than the high end Kobe beef, which is simply a cut above. Whether you’re eating strip, filet, or prime rib, this beef is raised to the highest standards before it reaches your lips. Since it’s exported in limited quantities most of what’s served in America is a crossbreed of Wagyu and Angus steak, so you’ll most likely have to hop a plane to experience the real deal.
How Much: $2,500/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’s charging a stupefying $2,500 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.