what makes wagyu beef different

It is special because its high marbling or thin lines of fat are distributed uniformly throughout the flesh. Thanks to the unique characteristics of the four Japanese cattle breeds, Wagyu offers a very hearty and luxurious dining experience. Four types of Wagyu cows exist, the vast majority being Japanese Black cows.

Everyone who’s had the pleasure of eating a delicious morsel of steak has heard of Wagyu beef. After all, it is the champagne of meat, and many people consider it an absolute luxury to eat it. But many people don’t seem to understand what truly makes a Wagyu steak special, nor why we see so many variants that may or may not be the “real thing.” But don’t fret, that’s what we’re here for!

What kinds of Wagyu breeds are there?

The term Wagyu beef can mean beef from any of four specific breeds of cattle when they’re raised in Japan:

Japanese black is the dominant breed available, with over 90% of Japanese cattle belonging to this strain.

What is Wagyu beef?

Wagyu beef is any of four different kinds of Japanese cattle raised specifically in Japan. The name itself — Wagyu — literally means Japanese cattle. The “wa” means Japan and the “gyu” stands for cow or cattle. And while it might be easy to think any beef from Japan is automatically called Wagyu, the reality is a bit more complicated (for good reason!). Only four strains of cattle are allowed to be called Wagyu, among many other requirements. The beef must also come from a cow that was born and bred in Japan, and is provable in the cattle traceability system setup to maintain the quality of the beef.

Authentic Wagyu beef is among the most sought-after and luxurious meats in the world. What makes it so special is its copious marbling, which creates a luxurious, buttery tenderness unlike any steak from cattle raised in America. The highly revered beef comes exclusively from Japan and is sourced from four main cattle breeds – Kuroge (Black), Aakage (Brown), Nihon Tankaku (Shorthorn) and Mukaku (Polled).

Most Wagyu farmers provide their cows with three meals a day made up of high-energy ingredients, including hay, grain and wheat. Often, this feed is imported from other countries, which contributes to the high cost of Wagyu cultivation. They are generally weighed once a month and are expected to gain around 2.5 pounds per day.

Wagyu cows are raised by specialty breeders until they are between seven and 10 months old, when they are sold to a farmer along with a birth certificate certifying their pure bloodline. These animals cost farmers as much as $30,000 each, which is as much as 10 times more than the typical American Angus! In other words, Wagyu are veritable cash cows! Proper care and a good diet ensure that each investment turns a profit in a few years.

After auction, the cows are taken to feeding farms where theyre given names and allowed to roam and graze in a stress-free environment. Wagyu farmers take great pride in providing a humane life for their cows, and they are given plenty of room in their pens and outside on the pasture to graze. They often share a pen with only four or five other cows, whereas mass operations tend to keep dozens of cows in a single pen.

Though its much more expensive and time-consuming than other methods, the way these cattle are raised is crucial to the production of the beautifully fatty, deliciously tender Wagyu beef that made them famous.

It is special because its high marbling or thin lines of fat are distributed uniformly throughout the flesh. Thanks to the unique characteristics of the four Japanese cattle breeds, Wagyu offers a very hearty and luxurious dining experience. Four types of Wagyu cows exist, the vast majority being Japanese Black cows.

FAQ

What is so special about Wagyu beef?

Authentic Wagyu beef is among the most sought-after and luxurious meats in the world. What makes it so special is its copious marbling, which creates a luxurious, buttery tenderness unlike any steak from cattle raised in America.

Can any cow become Wagyu?

To be eligible for a wagyu designation in Japan, a purebred cow must be genetically tied to one of the following four Japanese born breeds: Akage Washu (Japanese Brown), Kuroge Washu (Japanese Black), Mukaku Washu (Japanese Polled), or Nihon Tankaku Washu (Japanese Shorthorn).

How Wagyu cows are raised?

High demand. Careful breeding: the process of breeding Wagyu cattle is highly controlled and selective, focusing on producing animals with the desired level of marbling. Feeding and raising practices: this type of cattle is raised on a strict grain diet and is often massaged and given beer to encourage marbling.

What is the difference between Wagyu and regular beef?

Marbling: The Wagyu Difference Wagyu fat melts at a lower temperature than any other cattle’s, resulting in a rich, buttery flavor unseen in other strains of beef. This fat is also unsaturated and high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, meaning not only is Wagyu marbling more delicious, it’s also more healthy.

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