Wagyu beef, you ask yourself when you see it describing a steak on the menu. Understandably, this word is popping up more and more these days. As well as other confusing descriptiors like “Kobe”, “Angus” and the like. As if trying to keep grades and steak types straight wasn’t work enough.
Don’t worry, we have your back! Just like any fillet Mignon is a steak, any true Kobe is Wagyu. Though, not the other way around. It is important to keep in mind that real Wagyu is actually a breed of beef. Other common examples include Highlander, Jersey, and Charolais.
How Wagyu Beef Came to Be
So, as we said Wagyu is the breed but it has come to refer to four specific breeds. Further, each of these breeds has varieties which makes it a bit confusing. Wagyu actually just means “Japanese cow”.
This came about because the Japanese went through very strict breeding standards to create the wondrous beef we have all come to love. Often, these cattle are further classified by the region they are from. An example is “Kobe” which has strict labeling standards in Japan. Often “Kobe” beef in the US is not true Kobe at all and is merely labeled as such to cheat consumers.
The Japanese cattle were bred for excellent marbling. The breed itself is known for being robust and healthy.
What Makes Wagyu Beef so Special?
It is all about the marbling and lower melting temperature of the fat itself. This give the beef its signature tenderness and is why connoisseurs pay top dollar. It is important to verify that any beef you buy on the name be verifiable to the breed. Otherwise, you may just be getting tricked out of your hard earned money.
Even worse, you may curate a poor opinion of the sublime meat in question. The breed is so amazing that Japan classified it as a national treasure and its exportation is prohibited. However, breeders in the US, Australia, and elsewhere have gotten their hands on this breed and are now supplying the world with this supremely tasty treat!