There are four different breeds (or strains) of “wagyu,” which is Japanese for “cow”: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. Over 90% of all Wagyu are of the Japanese Black strain, and only Japanese Black and Japanese Brown are available outside of Japan
What exactly is “Kobe” beef, which is also Wagyu, then? It is beef produced in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture from Tajima strain Fullblood Japanese Black cattle. Specifically, the eponymous Kobe, the capital of the Hyogo Prefecture.
Kobe beef is regarded as the priciest and most sought-after beef in the world, with single servings frequently costing more than $200. Kobe beef starts out costing about $300 per pound in Japan. It can cost $50 per ounce in the US, whereas other Wagyu that isn’t Kobe Wagyu can cost only half as much. Kobe beef is the most heavily marbled beef in the world—and all Wagyu, in general—so why is that?
Given these criteria, genuine Kobe beef is very uncommon. In actuality, only 3,000 Tajima cattle annually are certified as Kobe beef, with Kobe beef accounting for zero percent of total beef production. 06% of beef consumption in Japan, and even less actually exported, due to a lack of Hyogo slaughterhouses actually being USDA-approved
This indicates that many American restaurants that advertise serving Kobe beef don’t actually do so. The reasoning behind that, however, is not necessarily malicious: The meat is still of a high caliber, but it was chosen to be labeled with a name that is more familiar to consumers (“Kobe”) rather than one that isn’t (“Wagyu”).
To learn more about Kobe, the first Wagyu steer at Browsey Acres, read The Story of The Steer.
When compared to other cattle raised in America, almost everything about Wagyu is distinctive, including the way it is bred, raised, graded, harvested, and sold.
A cut of legitimate Kobe beef will cost a diner around $200, and a Kobe burger is around $
What is it about Kobe beef that makes it such a delicacy? For lovers of fine beef, its unmatched flavor, texture, and tenderness make it a special indulgence. Recently, a variety of high-end restaurants have started to offer menu items made from Wagyu, a delicate Japanese beef. Let’s examine the appeal of Wagyu beef versus Kobe beef.
Wagyu Beef Vs Kobe Beef
Wagyu is literally translated “Japanese cow. If your Wagyu steak is rated A4 or A5, it is most likely an authentically Japanese piece of meat, as opposed to domestic or American Wagyu. The Beef Marbling System (BMS) used in Japan ranges from 3 to 12, with 12 being almost entirely white with marbling. Your cut will be more expensive the higher the BMS. Wagyu beef is savory and creamy in flavor. It is low in cholesterol and high in sodium. Additionally, it contains more monounsaturated fats and less saturated fat. The USDA requires that any restaurant claiming to be serving Wagyu must have meat from the registered parent of a purebred (93-99% Japanese blood) or full blood (100% Japanese blood ) Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu. There are varieties of Wagyu that are not Kobe because Wagyu is not a variety of Kobe, such as Bungo, Matsusaka, and Ohmi.
Understanding the distinctions between Kobe and other Wagyu is crucial. It not only enables a discriminating beef connoisseur to more fully appreciate each type and its qualities, but it also enables American consumers to determine whether they are eating genuine Wagyu or Kobe beef. Consumers of beef still find it difficult to tell if a restaurant is telling the truth, despite significant menu revisions made across the nation as a result of being exposed for providing false information.
One way that restaurants work around the Wagyu labeling is by using a hybrid of domestically-raised Wagyu breeds and US breeds and trying to pass it off as Kobe. One such kind of hybrid beef is often called “Wangus” because of the crossbreeding of Wagyu and Aberdeen Angus. That is not to say that Full-blooded Wagyu is impossible to get, but there is a difference and they are rarer than the hybrid variety. But by becoming better informed, one can learn to tell real Kobe and other Wagyu from Wangus and other crossbred iterations.
The Origin of Wagyu Beef
According to the American Wagyu Association, the Wagyu genetic strain may have first appeared as far back as 35,000 years ago. It was during the late 1800s when several breeds of Japanese cattle were crossbred with breeds of imported European cattle. Four of these breeds dominate today’s Japanese beef trade: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. While there are domestically-bred Wagyu in the US (Wagyu breeds that have long since been crossbred with US breeds), there are no Japanese Polled or Japanese Shorthorns being bred outside of Japan. If a US ranch were to try claiming to have Japanese Polled or Shorthorn in their hybrid Wagyu, chances are the claim is not legitimate. Wagyu beef retains its immense value because of the long-standing tradition of high-regulation and mandatory testing for genetics. And to make Wagyu all the more valuable, in 1997, Japan had placed a ban on exporting Wagyu cattle. Wagyu was declared a national treasure of Japan. Japanese black cattle are known for their marbling, and Japanese brown cattle are known for being leaner with a light, mild taste. Japanese Shorthorn, rich in glutamic acid, is praised for its savory flavor. Finally, Japanese polled cattle have a richer, meatier taste. 90% of Wagyu beef is from strains of black cattle. There are three major black strains that have contributed to black cattle having the majority: Tajiri/Tajima, Fujiyoshi (Shimane), and Kedaka (Tottori). The rest of the cattle population is of the brown/red strains Kochi and Kumamoto. Great care is taken in feeding them flavorful food such as forage, grasses, rice straw, corn, soybeans, wheat bran, beer, and even sake. The marbling in black cattle means that meat will melt at a lower temperature. The higher the marbling, the more buttery the flavor. Wagyu beef is also high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. It was not until 1975 that the US received their first imported Wagyu cattle: two Japanese Black bulls and two Japanese Red bulls. In 1993, three Japanese Black females were then imported. Before the ban on Wagyu cattle being exported in 1997, the US had less than 200 full-blooded Wagyu cattle. In the United States, since 1990, the American Wagyu Association was founded to help register Wagyu cattle and provide information for those in the industry and those who wanted to learn more about it. The association also strives to promote the Wagyu industry as there are generally more health benefits to Wagyu than traditional American beef. According to the American Wagyu Association, it is estimated that there are about 30,000 Wagyu-influenced cattle (crossbred). And of that number, less than 5,000 of them can be considered Full-blood Wagyu (100% genetically Wagyu, no crossbreeding). Both in the crossbred and the Full-blood Wagyu, the beef quality is known to be better than traditional Angus. While around 3% of Angus receives a Prime Grade, about 90% of beef that is influenced by Wagyu (crossbred) gets a Prime Grade. Even better, when looking at a Full-blood Wagyu, it can have as much as five times the marbling as traditional US Prime beef.
To Be a Kobe
Kobe beef is considered to be the most marbled beef in the world. In order to be considered Kobe, it must meet a certain number of requirements. Kobe must come from a steer or virgin cow. The cattle must also be 100% pure Tajima black strain Wagyu, and its every known ancestor must also pass muster. It has to have been born in Tajima-Gyu within Hyogo Prefecture, a fertile region of Japan on Honshu Island. The volcanic soil is rich in vitamins. The region is also close to the ocean, allowing fish bones and minerals to enrich the soil. Kobe beef must be fed on a farm within Hyogo Prefecture, and the meat must be processed within Hyogo Prefecture. Kobe beef needs to have a marbling rate of 6 or higher on a 12-point scale. It also has to have a meat quality rating of 12 or higher on a 5-point scale. The overall weight of the animal should not exceed 470 kg. The reason for Kobe beef claims to be taken seriously, and to be skeptical of US restaurant claims of serving Kobe, is because of how rare Kobe beef actually is outside of Japan. To give some perspective, the Hyogo government maintains its Kobe beef stock with the semen of just 12 bulls that they keep in a special facility. And then, after slaughtering the cattle and grading the meat, only half of the Tajima cattle even make it to qualify as Kobe. This is how the taste, flavor, and texture of Kobe beef is maintained so consistently, and is thus so exceptional. By the average rate that beef is consumed, the amount of Kobe beef exported to the US is roughly 77 Americans. With only 33 restaurants in the US serving Kobe beef, one should keep them in mind when going in search of the coveted beef. To ensure that it is proper Kobe beef, consult the list of 33 restaurants and make sure that you are going to one of them. A lot of them are based in the West, but there are some restaurants in Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and New York that serve genuine Kobe beef. Consult the official Kobe-Niku site every year to see if there are any updates to your national Kobe listings.
Kobe beef and Wagyu beef are both excellent choices when comparing the two types of beef. Both will provide you with a melt-in-your-mouth, delightful dining experience. When looking for that Wagyu experience, it’s crucial to be a discerning customer. When looking for eateries that serve authentic Kobe beef, keep in mind to consult the Kobe-Niku website. When looking for any other Wagyu, keep in mind the potential differences in marbling between a crossbred Wagyu and a Full-blood Wagyu. Additionally, be aware of the regions of Japan that produce Wagyu if you’re looking for regional labeling on imported Wagyu so that you can contrast it with the regions that restaurants claim it to be from. And only boneless cuts of imported beef from Japan are permitted. Even the hybrids differ noticeably from the Full-blooded in certain ways. Look for that juicy, melts-in-your-mouth succulence that would come with a 100% Full-blood Wagyu But even the Wagyu-influenced beef is excellent and much healthier than the competition’s traditional beef. You will receive an incredible treat that only Wagyu beef can provide in either case. For more information, contact us today.
Why Wagyu Beef Is So Expensive | So Expensive
How much does a pound of Kobe beef cost?
Kobe beef is regarded as the priciest and most sought-after beef in the world, with single servings frequently costing more than $200. Kobe beef starts out costing about $300 per pound in Japan. It can cost $50 per ounce in the US, whereas other Wagyu that isn’t Kobe Wagyu can cost only half as much.
Is Kobe more expensive than Wagyu?
Because it is more difficult to find than Wagyu, Kobe is usually more expensive meat. Wagyu beef comes from Japanese Wagyu cattle, whereas Kobe beef is only produced in one region of Japan. Japanese Kobe beef is classified as such by only 3,000 cattle annually, which contributes to its high cost.
How much is Kobe beef per ounce?
Kobe generally costs $20 to $50 per ounce, depending on the restaurant or retailer. A 2-ounce cut of the delicacy from a reputable online retailer will probably cost you $100 (or a little more).
Is Wagyu or Kobe better?
Because Kobe beef is the epitome of what makes Wagyu better, it is regarded as the beef with the most marble in the world. When slaughtered, cattle must adhere to strict standards in order to be labeled Kobe. Because of these strict requirements, only 3,000 head of cattle can be considered genuine Kobe cattle each year.