Wagyu beef is becoming increasingly popular across the globe. More and more people are looking for this prestigious type of beef, due to its exceptional taste and flavor.
Wagyu has become one of the most premium meats available on the market, known for its intricate pattern of marbling, and very high price tag.
So what makes Wagyu beef so special? Well, Wagyu beef originated in Japan, as ‘wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow or cattle.
Wagyu cows were initially used for agricultural means in Japan, and were picked and utilized for their physical strength and endurance.
These cows were chosen due to their excess of intramuscular fat cells, which provided extra energy sources, making them excellent for farm work.
There are four breeds of Wagyu cows in Japan, the Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn.
These types of cows are seen as living treasure, and the Japanese government understands the value of this product, and therefore Wagyu beef is highly regulated, sought after and wanted.
These types of cows have excess fat cells that provide the marbling of fat found on Wagyu beef, which makes it much more tasty and tender than other cuts of beef, and Wagyu is considered more beneficial and healthier for humans to consume.
In addition, Wagyu is higher in a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid, and has 30% more of this than other types of beef.
Foods with this conjugated linoleic acid are known to have fewer negative health risks, and so eating Wagyu is not only delicious, but also not as bad for you as other meats.
Which part of the cow is Wagyu beef?
There is no specific part of a cow that is considered Wagyu, as Wagyu is the term given to Japanese cows raised in a way that provides that perfect marbling and tasty flavor.
These cows are regulated and raised as Wagyu cows, rather than Wagyu being a specific cut of the animal.
Cows are considered Wagyu when they are raised initially by a breeder, and sold to a fattening farm, where they are fed a mixture of fibre and high energy ingredients such as rice, wheat and hay until the cow is around 50% fat.
This is why Wagyu beef is graded on how much meat can be yielded from the cow, and how much marbling it has. Therefore, only Wagyu meat can be sold that is graded A3-A5 and is of the highest quality.
A5 is sometimes hard to come by, but there are some excellent sources like crowdcow. If you want to try Wagyu, I highly recommend them!
If a cow is Wagyu, then it will have been bred, raised, fed and cared for in a way that its meat will make delicious and perfectly marbled beef. Therefore, there is no specific part of the cow that is considered Wagyu, as the cow itself is a Wagyu cow.
How do you identify Wagyu beef?
Wagyu beef can go for a pretty price, and so you will want to ensure that the Wagyu beef you are purchasing or eating is of the highest quality, and is definitely authentic, genuine Wagyu. To know this, you will need to know how to identify real Wagyu beef.
Wagyu beef originated in Japan, yet since its popularity has grown, these types of cows have been traded and cross bred with other cows around the world. This means that there are now many various types of Wagyu beef available on the market.
Original, authentic Japanese Wagyu beef is produced with very high standards, precautions and measures that makes this beef so good.
For instance, each variety of Wagyu cow is raised and slaughtered in a specific area of Japan, and is inspected at least three times, and assigned a meat grade of quality.
Wagyu beef is graded by its marbling, color, yield, firmness, fat standards and texture, and only when all standards are met will the Wagyu beef be given the highest grade available, which is A5.
Furthermore, each authentic Japanese Wagyu cow is given an ID number, and so it can be traced from your plate all the way back to the farm in which it was born.
In addition, Wagyu cows must be fed a specific feeding formula, and are left to graze for about twice as long as normal cattle, enjoying a stress free, peaceful life before they are slaughtered.
It is for these reasons that genuine Wagyu is so unique, and is fully certified. You will notice real Wagyu due to its distinctive marbling pattern, expensive price, along with its certification and traceability.
If you cannot trace the Wagyu back to the farm it was made, then it is most likely not real Wagyu beef.
A common misconception is, that there is no authentic, full-blood wagyu in America. This is wrong. There are farms that have put considerable effort into sourcing Wagyu in the past, and they are one of the reasons why Wagyu rose to such fame. Tebben Farms in the US, for example, maintain registration an all their producing Wagyu cattle.
You can shop Tebben, and other authentic Wagyu farms via CrowdCow.
What does Wagyu mean in English?
Wagyu is the term given to the type of cow that wagyu beef comes from. Wagyu refers to the origin of this type of meat, which is Japan, and so wagyu just means Japanese cow or cattle.
However, Wagyu has since gone on to spread across the globe, and now has a myriad of other names and titles, such as Mishima beef, Kobe beef, and many more.
One of the rarest types of Japanese beef is called Kobe beef. Kobe beef is one of the most valued types of Wagyu beef as this is derived from one of 12 most prized Wagyu bulls in a specific facility in Hyogo.
Kobe beef is graded so highly that the amount of authentic Kobe beef produced and exported from Japan in one year amounts to less than a medium sized cattle ranch in the United States!
In order to be genuine Kobe beef, it must come from the Tajima-gyu breed of Japanese cattle, which are made in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan, where Kobe is.
This type of beef is a delicacy that is only sold if it meets strict requirements and quality control measures.