Fun Facts About Japanese Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is one of the most sought-after and luxurious cuts of meat available. It's known for its high-quality marbling, tender texture, and intense flavor. It's been gaining lots of attention in recent years, so today we're here to share some fun facts about this amazing cut of meat.
When unique breeds of Wagyu cattle are raised, they are carefully fed a special diet and raised in low-stress environments. This leads to meat that is so intensely marbled and flavorful, it's hard to find its equal. The unique marbling of Wagyu beef is why it's so tender and juicy, making it the perfect choice for any special occasion.
Here's some more fun facts about Wagyu beef that make it such a sought-after delicacy.
Fun Facts About Authentic Japanese Wagyu Beef
While eating Wagyu beef is one of the most rewarding culinary experiences you can have, a little food for thought helps too! I bet you didn't know most of these fun facts about the most expensive steak money can buy.
Real Wagyu Beef Comes Exclusively From Japan
Real, authentic Wagyu can only come from Japan and that's part of what makes it so special. This special type of beef is prized for its intense marbling, which gives it a unique flavor and texture. The beef is also known for its high-fat content, which adds a richness and juiciness that you just can't find in other beef. Plus, the cattle are raised in a very specific way, which makes the meat even more unique. All these factors combine to make Wagyu beef a truly unique and special experience.
Wagyu Actually Means "Japanese Cow"
Wagyu literally means "Japanese cow". It's a mouthful to say for native English speakers, but it's pretty easy to write - just slap a couple of Japanese characters together and you've got yourself a Wagyu! The characters are 和牛, which are read as "wah-gyu". So the next time you're out and about and you see the word Wagyu, you'll know exactly how to write and pronounce it!
Meat Used to be Banned in Japan
Before the 1860s in Japan, there was a total meat ban due to a deep-rooted Buddhist culture that believed consuming animals was morally wrong. Emperor Meiji eventually lifted the ban in order to normalize meat consumption and begin the cultivation of beef. He wanted to modernize Japan, and he knew that expanding the agricultural industry was key to doing this.
Wagyu Cattle Are Raised like Kings of Cattle
Wagyu cattle are known as the kings of cattle because they are raised with the utmost care and respect. Not only are they fed the best quality food and kept in the most luxurious of conditions, but they are also given the best medical care and are even occasionally massaged to ensure their meat is tender and full of flavor. As far as cows go, Japanese Wagyu cattle are truly given the royal treatment and it shows in the quality of their meat!
Not All Wagyu Beef Is Kobe Beef, But All Kobe Beef is Wagyu Beef
Kobe beef comes from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle raised in Kobe, Japan, while Wagyu beef can come from any one of four Japanese breeds of cattle raised in various prefectures in Japan, including Kobe.
Wagyu Cows Get to Live Longer
Wagyu cows live quite a luxurious life! Not only do they get to munch on the finest food, but they also get to enjoy a longer life than other cattle. These special cows aren't slaughtered until around 30 months, whereas their American cousins usually bite the bullet at 15-20 months.
The Best Grade Is A5
One part of the complex creation of Japanese Wagyu beef is the extremely strict grading system. Under this system, the highest mark given to any official piece of Wagyu is A5. This means it has the highest meat yield, the most marbling, and the best color and texture. So keep a look out when shopping, anything less isn't the cream of the crop!
If you’re looking to find some of the most premium Japanese A5 Wagyu in the US, look no further than WagyuMan. We get it straight from Japan, butcher it in our shops, and ship it out all over the US!
There Are Imitation Wagyu Products
As with any luxury product, there is imitation Wagyu beef sold in the USA. The cows are typically produced with a blend of Wagyu genetics, like Angus or Hereford, and are usually marketed as "American-style Wagyu beef." While it's more affordable, the taste is never quite as exquisite as authentic Japanese Wagyu.
Every Wagyu Cow's Lineage Is Carefully Traced
Every single Wagyu cow is carefully traced back to at least their grandparent's bloodlines, to ensure they retain the same high-quality that Wagyu beef is known for. Every cow also gets a nose print at birth and has a unique 10-digit Cattle ID number. Talk about a family tree!
Wagyu Beef Wasn't Available in the US until the 1970s
When it comes to beef, there's no denying that Wagyu is king. But up until 1976, this delicacy was only available in Japan! Luckily, since then, the US has been able to enjoy this luxurious treat - and it's been a hit ever since.
Wagyu Beef Has Its Own Olympics
Japanese people care so much about their special Wagyu beef they even hold the Wagyu Olympics every five years! Contestants compete in two categories, meat quality and breed improvement.