If you’ve ever had Wagyu beef, from the wagyu shop either raw or processed, users realize it’s a great treat. Wagyu is delightfully loaded with fatty, delicate yet full of flavor it takes decades of history, millennia of livestock farming, and a slew of regulations and restrictions to maintain it that way. Considering this, the subject is riddled with ambiguity, thanks in part to unethical operators looking to hike the cost of something like the meat you’re consuming.
Amidst its ostentatious image, the name Wagyu implies “Japanese cow,” but just not all meat from Japan is Wagyu. It must be from one of 4 varieties to meet the criteria: black, brown (sometimes known as red), shorthorn, or polled (or hornless). Black meat is unquestionably the most prevalent, while red cow flesh is sometimes seen. Wagyu meat is distinguished by its well-marbled texture, which means that the oil is uniformly and abundantly dispersed. The fats also melt just below skin temperature, resulting in a truly molten state steak.
Not all beef is suitable for consumption.
Japan maintains strict criteria for Wagyu both during and following harvesting—remember, only particular kinds of meat qualify. The flesh is graded on a one-every-five scale based on richness, color, as well as other variables, with 5 being the best quality. The international Wagyu beef available in the United States is usually a four or a five, therefore explains why it’s usually pretty pricey at least $80 for a 4-ounce chunk.
Wagyu is not just found in Japan.
Wagyu cattle are raised by ranchers all over the globe, including in Australia and America. In the United States, beef from livestock can be branded as Wagyu if it contains less than 50 percent of the overall Wagyu. They are frequently mixed with Angus livestock to improve their adaptability to local circumstances. (These crossovers are often referred to as Wangus!) This beef is less tender than Japanese cuts, but it’s nevertheless sumptuous meat and a local Wagyu is often approximately half the cost of a purchased one.
Kobe is a Wagyu breed.
Kobe beef is an especially treasured form of Wagyu, but there are very specific regulations on just what beef satisfies, thanks to a special regulating board. To begin, it must come from Hyogo Province in Japan, while also having to meet certain mass, color, and quality requirements, therefore not too many livestock from that area fit.