One of the most luxurious and rare types of beef is authentic Japanese Wagyu. Besides the taste, what makes this type of beef so special? Check out these fun facts about Wagyu beef to discover why it's such a sensation in the food world.
1. Wagyu Literally Means "Japanese Cow"
The term for this type of beef is about as literal as it gets. "Wa" translates to Japanese, while "gyu" means cow or cattle.
2. Wagyu Cattle Lineage Is Carefully Traced
Genuine Japanese Wagyu beef can only come from a certain breed, such as Japanese Black (Kuroge) cattle. Regulations are incredibly strict to ensure the quality of the beef is consistently excellent. In fact, there is a secure grading and tracking system used to monitor Wagyu cattle. Each cow is identified with a nose print and a unique 10-digit Cattle ID number that can be used to research date of birth, lineage, farm and other important details.
3. Wagyu Cattle Are Raised in a Comfortable Environment
Maintaining high levels of quality in Wagyu beef starts with the way the cattle are raised. In Japan, this involves a special high-energy diet given over a prolonged feeding time of 600 days or more. They are strategically kept in a low-stress environment with room to graze, and feedlots usually only have 10 to 100 cattle.
4. All Kobe Is Wagyu, But Not All Wagyu Is Kobe
A common misconception is that Kobe beef and Wagyu beef are the same thing. In fact, Kobe beef is just one type of Wagyu beef that comes from a specific breed of cattle raised in Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. The name comes from Hyogo's capital city: Kobe.
5. The Best Grade Is A5
Japanese Wagyu beef has to pass a strict grading system. The highest possible grade is A5 Wagyu beef, which means it has the best yield (ratio of meat per carcass), marbling, color and texture.
6. Wagyu Beef Is Healthier Than Commercial Beef
Compared to domestic beef, Wagyu features more monounsaturated ("good") fats and more essential amino acids. Though it should be eaten in moderation, it does offer some notable health benefits.
7. There Are Imitation Wagyu Products
There are plenty who apply the term "Wagyu beef" to their product even though it's not the real thing. This can happen when buying beef directly as well as in certain restaurants. At The Wagyu Shop™, all of our Japanese Wagyu beef is authentic and includes a Certificate of Authenticity.
8. Wagyu Beef is Cooked Differently
Wagyu beef's intricate fat marbling requires a different method of cooking. In order to preserve the tenderness and buttery flavors, the beef is best cooked over high heat, usually for less than a minute per side.
9. Wagyu Beef Wasn't Available in the US until the 1970s
Americans first got a chance to try Wagyu beef in the 1970s. A few Wagyu cattle were even brought over in 1976, but an export ban later went into place that lasted until 1991.
10. American and Australian Wagyu Beef Options Are Available
Consider branching out from Japanese Wagyu beef to try Australian or American Wagyu beef, which is made by crossbreeding Wagyu cattle with certain types of Angus cattle. These variations offer subtle differences in flavor and texture while preserving some of the qualities that make Japanese Wagyu beef so highly sought after.
Wagyu is truly a rare type of beef like none other. Learn more interesting information about Wagyu at The Wagyu Shop™.