In fact, most of the beef was exported to Japan up until 2003. Watch this video. Here in the United States, we have a beef grading scale defined by the US Department of Agriculture. Got a question? “To be true kobe beef, it has to be from Kobe. Of all the beef produced in the U.S., only 3% is graded as prime, based on the marbling of the meat. 2 for 1 special, this week only. Because of this, domestic consumption of the Wagyu breed has only increased fairly recently. A couple serious slabs of wagyu beef. Kobe is essentially just a brand of wagyu beef, in the same way that Nike is a brand of shoe. You just don’t have as much of that beefy taste, and then you have that umami flavor that’s hard to describe. Why is wagyu beef considered as a delicacy? Japanese wagyu beef is an unforgettable eating experience. “When I eat too much food it goes to my belly, but when they eat a lot of food and they get fat, that one breed gets it on the inside of the muscle,” Heitzeberg explains. Read on to find out more about the similarities, differences, and nuances between the two. This refers to the highest score possible within the Japanese meat grading system. Read more about the marbling system here. There are four modern breeds of Wagyu in Japan—Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorned. The main three grades are Select, Choice, and Prime. Juicy recipes. Wagyu cattle first came to the U.S. from Japan in 1976, primarily for crossbreeding with other cattle, such as Angus. Wagyu cattle have a distinctive character no other breeds have. Simply put, wagyu means Japanese cow, But the straightforward definition belies a subject riddled with misinformation. Absolutely. Wagyu Cattle Come To The US. You can eat more of it,” he says. What do wagyu cows eat? Wagyu Classifications in the United States. It’s highly skilled, highly regulated and highly practiced,” Heitzeberg explains. A: It is the Japanese word for Japanese cow. Kobe beef is the origin of all Japanese wagyu in Japan. These traits are due to the high percentage of intramuscular fat (IMF), which is what makes Wagyu beef so delicious and special. Plus, get the exclusive Robb Report tote bag FREE. Calves are milk-fed for 3-4 months and kept in the pen under the shed in Japan. Can’t find our warehouse? In order to be considered Fullblood Wagyu, it must not only be 100% pure Wagyu, but must also be genetically certified to not have any crossbreeding in its lineage. Subscribe today & save up to 70%! Tasty deals. Heitzeberg, who admits it wasn’t until he’d spent ample time meeting with Japanese slaughterhouse owners and farmers (his minor in Japanese at the University of Washington helped) that he felt like he truly understood wagyu. All wagyu originates from Japanese breeds of cattle in Japan. Contents [Click for Navigation] show A Brief History of Japanese Beef: Wagyu’s True Origins. A password will be sent to your email address. In Japan, 90% of the Wagyu are of the Black breed. Only four bulls made the journey, and it wasn't until the 1990s that more Wagyu followed. When it comes to buying Japanese wagyu, which is the most baller thing you could ever buy at Costco, Apfelbaum pays close attention to diet. “There are four breeds native to Japan. No other livestock does that.” Think of your average piece of steak. ‘A’ means the highest meat yields, and the number five predominantly means BMS (Beef Marbling Standard). The best of everything is waiting for you! “Everyone is paying to be part of the thing called kobe beef,” Heitzeberg says. For starters, it’s pronounced wah-gyoo, not wah-goo, a mispronunciation that’s common even among American wagyu farms (and that admittedly tripped up even this intrepid reporter), says Heitzeberg. The higher the percentage, the more prevalent the inherent qualites of Wagyu are, such as intense marbling, which gives the beef the tenderness and flavor its famed for. Only four bulls made the journey, and it wasn't until the 1990s that more Wagyu followed. On the other hand, cattle with as little as 50% Wagyu can be called Wagyu. So if you’re in the mood for a steak dinner, and you want a giant steak, you can’t really do that with Japanese wagyu.”. And what's "crossbred"? They are highly marbled, grain-fed for much longer than any other breeds. Hit us up with your questions or special requests. and enjoy Free digital access. This means any other breed, even raised by an award-winning wagyu cattle farmer in the exact same conditions as wagyu, would not produce wagyu beef. Australian grading is two grades lower than the Japanese grading system. Read more on why Japanese Wagyu is so highly sought after here. Most of Australian and the US wagyu beef are those hybrid of hybrid. “While American wagyu has come a long way, there’s a certain protection of the breed in Japan,” Zimmerman says. Quality scores range from 1 to 12, BMS 12 is the highest. Photo: courtesy Shutterstock, There’s a misconception that wagyu is produced in the same way that foie gras is: The cows’ movement is limited and they’re force-fed in order to create fatty, tender meat. Japanese cows live a low-stress life. Select is the most common (most meat is graded as Select), and Choice follows at number 2. “When you have very high-end wagyu, you barely want to cook it. Of those four breeds, one of the breeds is genetically unique,” Heitzeberg says. Why is Wagyu … This part of the rating is really more for the purveyor than for those of us sidling up to a steak dinner. Wagyu beef is an emerging trend with gourmet chefs and consumers around the US, but the little-known story of this prized meat spans continents and hundreds of years. TAKAMORI BEEF: THE STORY OF WAGYU BEEF’S SWEETEST CUT, MEET SHER WAGYU, ONE OF OUR LONGEST SUPPORTERS AND SUPPLIERS OF WAGYU, KOBE BEEF: THE MYTHS, THE FARMERS AND THE MEAT. Japanese cattle-breeders go to great lengths to give their cows a zen-like existence. And wagyu isn’t an umbrella term for just any Japanese cow. Kobe beef, one of the most highly prized meats, is a type of Wagyu from the Tajima breed and it can only be raised in the Hyogo province of Japan. And if you see the words “American kobe” on a menu, take it as a big red flag—American kobe doesn’t exist. RR1 is the private membership club that brings the pages of Robb Report to life. Closed on public holidays. In Japan, only four types of cattle are used: Japanese … “They’re out there foraging on the natural Montana grasses, but you don’t know what else they’re doing.” In other words, a cow left to roam, could also be prone to stressful, cortisol-raising experiences. By paying so much attention the genetics, the beef becomes genetically predisposed to have a higher quality than most steaks, and this tender, well-marbled beef really does taste better than the competition. This is the most common type in the United States, but there are higher grades as well. It’s almost like a sweetness,” Heitzeberg says. To be rated A5, the meat must have a BMS of 8 to 12. We’ve gathered some of the foremost experts in restaurant industry to explain.