We’re often asked what Wagyu beef is, and what is the difference is between Wagyu and Kobe beef. Both originate in Japan and are widely considered around the world to be the “caviar” of beef. Characterized by pervasive marbling, they offer a rich flavor that has a subtle but distinct sweetness and aroma.
What is Wagyu beef?
Wagyu translates to “Japanese cow” and it refers to specific breeds of cattle that come from a traceable and pure bloodline. In contrast to most breeds from other countries, which are typically bred for a range of traits, Wagyu are raised with one goal in mind: superior flavor. That flavor comes from the purity of the genetics of the breed, the length of time the cattle are bred (30 months, vs. 22 months for most other types of cattle) and the lifestyle of the cattle, which is sedentary due to the lack of open pastures in Japan.
What’s the difference between American Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu?
Domestic Wagyu beef is more widely available than Japanese Wagyu, and it does have a noticeably different flavor and texture than American Angus beef. However, it is not of the same quality and purity as true Japanese Wagyu. Technically, the American variety is a result of Wagyu cattle that were brought over from Japan and bred with American Angus. At Ted’s Butcherblock, we regularly stock our case with domestic Wagyu beef, but can get Japanese Wagyu beef on request for our customers.
What is Kobe beef?
Kobe beef is a type of Japanese Wagyu beef that is bred in a specific region of Japan. It’s exceptionally delicious and rare, with only approximately 3,000 cattle in Japan bearing the Kobe distinction. Truly a selection for special occasions!
What does the grading signify?
Beef in Japan is graded based on a sophisticated numbering system that traces each piece of beef produced. As part of this system, marbling, firmness, color and overall quality are graded on a scale of 1-5. A5 is the highest possible mark, and most Japanese Wagyu beef is in the A4-A5 range.
Nutrition & Preparation
Although you might assume that all that fat makes Wagyu and Kobe beef unhealthy, you might be surprised to learn that the fat in these breeds is mostly monousaturated fats that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (the “good fats”). Also noteworthy is the fact that Wagyu beef is rarely, if ever, raised with antibiotics.
Because of the higher fat content, it’s important to know that Wagyu beef cooks more quickly than other types of beef. For best flavor and texture, we recommend cooking it to a slightly higher temperature than you typically would — medium-rare or medium is best.
With so much attention to raising and regulating Wagyu cattle in Japan, it’s not surprising that both American and Wagyu and Kobe beef comes at a higher price – we’ve seen it as high as $300+/lb. online! But we’re committed to finding the best prices available and can do much better than this for our customers. For a special occasion – or a special surprise for the true carnivores in your life – it’s an excellent choice for a truly memorable meal.
At Ted’s Butcherblock, we stock our case with American Wagyu beef, but during special holidays we bring in Kobe beef so that our customers have an opportunity to try this special delicacy. For additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (843) 577-0094.