A Unique Taste Worth the Price
In the past few years, Japanese beef has become extremely popular among chefs and diners across the world. Because it has such a juicy, buttery flavor and rich marbling — it’s not difficult to see why everyone loves it.
But what makes Japanese beef so different and special compared to any other beef in the world? Also, why do people say it’s the most exclusive piece of meat you can buy? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
What is Japanese Beef?
Japanese beef, or Wagyu as it’s more commonly known, comes from one of four types of beef cattle.
The four breeds of Japanese Wagyu are:
Out of these four, the most popular is the Japanese Black Strain. Breeders that work with Wagyu cattle take incredible care and feed them with only fresh vegetables like barley, corn, wheat bran, and soybeans.
Now, since the cattle have longer periods of fattening and are well taken care of, their meat has incredible levels of marbling. What’s more, the meat is full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Kobe beef is a variety of Wagyu, and it is the most expensive and illustrious beef in the world. For a steak to have the Kobe label, it needs to pass seven different standards. In fact, only 3,000 heads of cattle qualify and get the Kobe certification annually.
Japanese Beef in the USA
Since no other country except for Japan can get the elusive Kobe label, what you’ll find in the US is a bit different. Breeders in the US have created Kobe-style beef, which is a mix of Wagyu and Angus cattle.
Right now, there are only about 150 ranches in the entire country that breed and produce Kobe-style beef.
But there are a couple of cases where restaurants import the cattle or beef directly from Japan. The imported beef is called Wagyu domestic and has one of the highest USDA Prime ratings a steak could have.
What to Look for When Buying Japanese Beef
When buying Japanese beef online or in a market, you can never be really sure that what you’re buying is 100% authentic. So, in order to determine that what you’re buying is the real deal, you need to do your research.
First, get familiar with the Kobe and Kobe-style standards. Also, check where the cattle came from and what type it is.
Another important factor is the level of marbling and what the BMS rating is. For reference, the rating should be 6–12.
Where to Buy Japanese Beef
Even though you’ll be able to find Japanese beef in some larger supermarkets in the US, it’s usually not high-quality. When looking to buy Japanese beef, the most important thing is to turn to a trusted seller.
You should look for someone who has been in the business for a longer time and has experience breeding different types of cattle. Also, since Japanese beef can pretty expensive, always check the price. Of course, try to stay in your budget and make sure not to overpay for a product.