The most expensive cuts of meat are always the most tender and often the most flavorful portion of the entire animal. High fat content, minimal exercise, intentional breeding and special diet are all factors in producing the tenderest meat. The tender meat is enhanced through aging, marinating and optimal cooking methods. Prices vary depending on region and restaurant, but you can expect to pay upwards of $200 for the choicest cut in an excellent restaurant.
Filet mignon, or tenderloin, is cut from the loin of the cow and is considered the tenderest, although not the most flavorful, cut of steak. The tenderloin is generally the smallest cut of steak and can be found on the porterhouse steak near the bone. American butchers usually refer to the entire tenderloin as filet mignon, but the French use the term only for the small end of the tenderloin, which is the most succulent and expensive part of the loin. The tenderloin is found on the upper portion of a cow’s side, just in front of the rear hips.
Wagyu beef, commonly called Kobe beef, is the most expensive beef in the world. Wagyu comes from cows that are genetically inclined to possess highly marbled beef, a main factor in the tenderness of beef. Wagyu cows are fed a special diet that increases their naturally high fat content and breeders may even massage the cows while keeping them sedentary to avoid burning off the fat through exercise. The cost of a Kobe steak at a restaurant can be as much as $250 for a 5 to 8 oz. steak.
The first cut of a rib roast consists of end ribs 9 through 12. This beef cut is also known as prime rib and is the most expensive because it is also the most tender and flavorful roast. Prime rib is often slow roasted, and slices from the same prime rib roast can range from rare in the middle of the roast to well done at the ends.
Pork loin and ribs are considered as one primal cut, but the tenderloin is the tenderest, most flavorful and most expensive cut of pork. Hogs are intentionally bred to develop long loins, as this is the most valuable part of the pig. The tenderloin is located under the ribs on the rear end of the loin. Pork tenderloin is larger than beef tenderloin and is typically sautéed as smaller medallion cuts or roasted and braised whole.