Wagyu means “Japanese cow”. Not every cow from the Land of the Rising Sun can become a source of expensive marbled meat.
A bit of history. Cattle breeding is by no means a traditional area of agriculture in Japan. We need a lot of pastures, but there are problems with free land in the country. In 1872, the government made a strong-willed decision to lift the almost thousand-year-old ban on meat production.
But there was simply nowhere to graze cows and bulls. Don’t clean up rice fields for livestock. Then the animals began to be fed with food, not grass. The results were impressive. Due to the fact that cows and bulls did not move much, they ate in a special way, their meat became tender, with a characteristic “marble” pattern.
Wagyu and kobe – what’s the difference.
First of all, the difference in price. Kobe costs many times more than wagyu. This is due to the number of cows.
Wagyu beef is made from several animal breeds. These are Japanese black, Japanese brown, Japanese hornless and Japanese shorthorn. Moreover, these cows were exported abroad. Therefore, wagyu can be found in America, Europe and Australia. Steaks will also be expensive, but at least they can be purchased.
Kobe is produced exclusively in Hyugo Prefecture from Tajima cows. Moreover, animals undergo a special casting. They are selected depending on the body’s ability to accumulate fat.
In 1983, a special organization, the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association, was even created. Her job is to protect the reputation of kobe beef. For this, standards have been developed that meat must meet.
Just as cognac can only be called an alcoholic drink that is made in the district of the city of Cognac in the New Aquitaine region of France, so kobe beef can only be produced in the Hugo prefecture. They adhere to the idea that the better an animal lives, the tastier its meat will be.
How cows live
Cows and bulls are slaughtered at the age of 13-16 months. But before that, they have a heavenly life. They are fed selected food. Due to lack of physical activity, animals sometimes lose their appetite. Then beer is added to the diet, or even sake. And in order to improve blood circulation, they are massaged with hard gloves and brushes.
But all efforts are not in vain. After all, 100 grams of such beef costs from 50 euros. In 2006, the American press listed kobe as one of the 9 most expensive and luxurious products in the world.
There is also a special ritual of meat preparation. Kobyu is cooked on the stove directly in front of the customer. There are no tricks. It is only marinated in soy sauce, fried without spices, and then cut into small pieces.
Upon submission, clients are given the pedigree of the animal, with an imprint of its nose.
What is special about Japanese marbled beef?
The comparison of meat with marble is not accidental. Outwardly, wagyu and kobe really resemble this stone: red meat is dotted with strips of fat. According to the Japanese classification, there are 15 gradations of beef quality: from C1 to A5. Kobe must be rated A4 or A5. They are excellent in beef.
Meat is evaluated according to 4 criteria: marbling, color, strength, color and amount of fat.
Thanks to the streaks of fat, the meat cooks faster and literally melts in your mouth. The Japanese claim that their marbled beef can be eaten even without teeth. And beef protects against dementia.