If you directly translate the term Wagyu Cattle you will find that it basically means Japanese Cow. Even though only two of the Wagyu traditionally bred by Japan are available outside of Japan, there are actually four breeds of Wagyu Cattle. The two that are available in the US are easier to breed and they have the best meat quality, they can also be used in breeding with stock from the Holstein and Angus. Those cross-breeds are known to have better meat quality than the ones not bred with Wagyu. Below we will talks about the four types of Japanese cows which is now known as Wa-Gyu.
Japanese Black Variety of Wagyu Cattle
This cow was basically the muscle on the farm when it was originally bred before the year 1900. This Japanese Black Wagyu Cattle was made officially native to Wagyu in Japan around the year 1944. This beef was elevated in quality during the breeding known as the Meiji Era, which was when they crossed it with breeds from other countries. Most of the beef that is considered true Wagyu Cattle is raised and made fat from this breed of cow. The marble quality is what you look for in Wagyu and this beef has thick layers of fat running around the edges and pushes through it in fine detail. This beef has a buttery texture and should disintegrate in the mouth. The age that they harvest the meat form the cows is about 28-30 months. The average quality grade is somewhere around BMS 5.6.
Japanese Brown Variety Also Known as Akage Washu
The dirt translation of this cows name is Red Cow, this cattle known as the Japanese Brown is mostly bred and farmed in Kumamoto and Kochi areas which are called Prefectures. In these areas, the Wagyu Cattle you will find frequently is the Kumamoto and there are assumedly over a half million of these in Japan currently. The more rare of the lineage is the Kochi and we could assume there are not even a few thousand of these in the world today.
You can tell the difference between these breeds by the markings on the foot and nose. The Kumamoto have been cross bred with the Korean Red cow which has actually helped to improve the overall quality of this cows meat. The Korean Red breed was once the main mode of work input on the farms in Japan, these cattle would be used to do most of the work as well as being used for their meat. So perhaps the extra effort this cow put in around the farm attributed to its lower fat content. This meat is one of the favorites and doesn’t have the fattiness of the other Wagyu Cattle. This cow is harvested at about 25 months in age which is why it has a healthy mild taste with a pleasant quality. The rating of Japanese Grade on this marble beef is BMS 3.2
Japanese Shorthorn Breed of Wagyu Cattle
This breed of cattle is not anywhere except Japan. From the Tohoku Region and was at some point chosen to cross breeds with another locally wild and raised Nanbu Wagyu Cattle. This breed and the meat quality was perfected and refined several times over again which finally earned it the local validation as Japanese Wagyu in the year 1957. With less of fatty taste and muscular richness and slightly acidic quality, this Wagyu Cattle is commonly said to have a unique taste.
Wukaku Washu Wagyu Cattle
This Japanese Cow was bred from the combination of Scotch Angus and the local Japanese Black Wagyu. But sometime after it was refined as a breed and in 1944 was a certificate holder in Wagyu Cattle. Its commonly thought of as a very red and lean with a very structured original palette. Loaded with aminos it retains a chewy beefy-ness and intense quality of meat flavors. This is the least bred of all the Japanese Wagyu and there are less than a thousand on Japanese farms today.