Have you heard about both Kobe beef and Wagyu beef but are confused about the differences between the two types of meat? Maybe you're just trying to get your hands on some of the best beef in the world but don't know where to start when it comes to choosing. In this article we're going to break down the differences between the two types of beef. We'll also explain what you need to know about Wagyu beef and Kobe beef, as well as go over some questions we run into a lot with our audience.
What is Kobe Beef?
Kobe beef is comprised of a strain of cattle called Tajima-Gyu. This type of cattle is raised to strict standards in the Hyogo Prefecture. These standards are met through regulations set by the region of Hyogo. To be labelled Kobe it has to meet each of these standards:
Because of the standards outlined above through Japanese regulations in the region of Hyogo, only 3000 head of cattle qualify as Kobe cattle each year. This is an extraordinarily low number when compared to other types of cattle in Japan and around the world.
What is Wagyu Beef?
Wagyu means Japanese cattle and refers to cattle that is either bred in Japan or is bred with the Japanese style in mind. There are four stains of cattle that populate the beef trade in Japan. These four strains of Wagyu cattle include Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Shorthorn. While each of these strains offer a slightly different taste, it's the Japanese Black strain that comprises of most of the Wagyu beef within Japan and around the world.
What makes Japanese Wagyu stand out is the beef marbling that creates a melt in your mouth experience when eating the meat. You get a richer, buttery flavor with Wagyu cattle because they metabolize fat internally within their muscle which results in unmatched levels of marbling. The fat is also high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, giving you a healthier red meat option.
It should be noted that not all cattle in Japan are Wagyu cattle. In fact, only the four stains we outlined above can be considered Wagyu. There are other cattle breeds beside these four in Japan and they wouldn't be Wagyu.
What are The Differences Between Wagyu and Kobe Beef?
As you've already begun to learn in this article, there are some differences between Japanese Wagyu vs. Kobe beef. To help break this down further for you, we'll go over the origination of the different types of Japanese beef, the flavor differences between Kobe beef and Wagyu beef, and talk about the cost differences between the two options. Japanese cattle (Wagyu) can be overwhelming if you don't know where to start, which is why you should check out the frequently asked questions section further down the article if you need more information. However, for now let's sort out some of the most important differences between these two types of Japanese beef.
Wagyu, as you're aware, refers to one of four specific strains that are bred in Japan or have been bred following the Japanese style. This style includes particular practices such as selection, feeding and care that benefit the resulting taste of the beef. Kobe beef is Japanese Wagyu cattle that is raised and processed within Hyogo and has met the seven standards we outlined earlier in this article.
Japan has recently started exporting its Wagyu cattle to other countries in the world, resulting in "Domestic Wagyu". These countries include the United States and Australia. The cattle are raised within the Japanese style of breeding which results in the highest-quality steaks you can find. American Wagyu, for example, sees around 90% of authentic Wagyu rated as USDA Prime. This rating is the highest award beef can receive.
Unlike Wagyu beef, it can be very difficult to find Kobe beef outside of Japan. This is because there is no domestic option for this type of beef. Wagyu beef can be raised in America or other countries because the breeder simply needs to follow the Japanese style properly. Kobe beef has to be raised within Hyogo in Japan, which means the meat can be exported out of the country but it can't be bred in other areas of the world.
Wagyu beef has a buttery flavor that melts in your mouth because of the amount of marbling within the meat. It's also a richer flavor when compared to traditional cuts of beef and has almost a sweetness to the taste. The meat itself has a very tender texture which can be compared to lightly cooked fish.
Kobe beef has all of the same flavors as Wagyu beef but taken to the next level due to the increased amount of marbling. Kobe beef basically melts away in your mouth as you eat it. Some people recommend using different types of salt to further bring out the flavor. You can also get Kobe beef with Soy Sauce in Japan.
If you're getting Wagyu beef from a steakhouse you'd be looking at approximately $24 per ounce. This price can be compared to Filet Mignon which is only $6.50 per ounce. That's a difference of $17.50 an ounce for Wagyu beef. To buy Kobe beef in Japan you'd have to spend $170 per pound (31,500 yen).
Of course, these prices will vary heavily on where you get the meat and the grade of the beef. Also, you'll pay much more in a restaurant while running the risk of not getting authentic Wagyu or Kobe meat. This is especially true if you're ordering from outside of Japan where false advertising continues to run rampant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have a better handle on the debate between Wagyu beef vs. Kobe beef, lets dive into some of the questions we run into from our audience. If we've missed one of your questions feel free to leave a comment below. We'll do our best to dive in and give you the answer you're looking for or point you in the right direction.
Why is Kobe beef banned in the US?
It's important to note that Kobe beef isn't banned in the United States but rather the cows themselves that can't be exported outside of Hyogo. While you can get Kobe beef in the States you should note that there are only a handful of restaurants in the country that actually sell certified Kobe beef. Wagyu beef is more common but you should make sure you know what you're getting before you actually order the beef from the menu.
What is Kobe style Wagyu beef?
Kobe is the highest-quality of Wagyu beef you can get in Japan. There are strict guidelines that a breeder has to follow if they want their Kobe beef to be labeled as such. The result of these procedures is a type of Japanese beef that is internationally recognized and sought after.
Is Wagyu healthier than normal beef?
Due to its higher levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, Wagyu beef is healthier than the normal beef that you'll more commonly find in restaurants and at deli counters. Wagyu beef also has around 300% more monounsaturated fat than normal beef thanks to the high amount of marbling in the meat. In fact, Wagyu beef has the lowest levels of cholesterol when compared to any meat and contains oleic acid.
Can you get real Wagyu beef in America?
While you can get Wagyu beef in America it's often not Purebred Wagyu Japanese beef. The reason for this difference is that the USDA defines Wagyu as begin at least 46.875% pure Japanese blood. This basically means one cow has to be at least 93.75% Japanese blood while the other doesn't need to meet this same requirement. In fact, most Wagyu cows in America are used for breeding rather than eating so owners can meet this requirement.
When you're looking for Wagyu meat you need to be aware of the difference between the more commonly found American version versus the full-blood alternative. At Choice Beef, the Wagyu on our farm are 100% pure-blooded (AWA certified). Unlike American versions, which are a result of crossbreeding with Angus cattle, our pure-blood Wagyu cattle produces a higher quality meat that is melt in your mouth tender.
Japanese beef is becoming more popular as people learn about this high-quality type of beef. You can't go wrong if you're looking for Kobe beef from Japan or want to get your hands on Wagyu meat. Both of these types of Japan beef provide an unforgettable experience that will make it hard going back to traditional beef options. Just make sure you do your research before putting your money down to ensure you're getting what you pay for from the restaurant or butcher.
Are you interested in learning how to serve the perfect Wagyu beef burger but don't know where to start? In this guide we'll go over everything you need to know about this type of beef. From the differences between Wagyu and ground beef, to the best way to cook the meat, this article has you covered to help you create the best tasting hamburger you've ever made.
How is Wagyu Beef Different from Other Types of Beef?
Wagyu beef is known for its higher degrees of marbling which result in a buttery texture and unmatched flavor. This type of beef is also more tender and juicy than traditional beef you'll find at your local supermarket. The term Wagyu (pronounced wah-gyoo) when referring to luxury meat means a specific breed of Japanese cow that metabolizes fat internally within its muscle. This unique genetic makeup allows for a lot more marbling of fat inside the muscle tissue which creates the rich cut of meat you get only from this type of beef.
Cattle-breeders who raise these cows in Japan do everything they can to create a stress-free environment for the animals so they can produce the highest-quality meat possible. When cows are under stress they create cortisol which has a detrimental effect on the meat. Some of the ways that these cattle-breeders reduce the stress for the cows include controlling noise levels, constantly supplying fresh water, and providing the cows with open-air farms where they are carefully monitored.
What is the Difference Between American vs Full-Blood Wagyu?
When you're looking for Wagyu meat for your burgers you need to be aware of the difference between the more commonly found American version versus the full-blood alternative. At Choice Beef, the Wagyu on our farm are 100% pure-blooded (AWA certified). Unlike American versions, which are a result of crossbreeding with Angus cattle, our pure-blood Wagyu cattle produces a higher quality meat that is melt in your mouth tender.
Is Wagyu Good for Burgers?
Wagyu beef is most well-known for its roasts and steaks but that doesn't mean you can't use the meat to create a buttery and rich burger. When you use this type of meat to make burgers you're getting a much more tender and flavorful burger compared to a traditional hamburger.
When it comes to this type of meat you should always check the rating system so you know the quality you're getting to make the hamburgers. The rating system (also called the grading scale or system) differs slightly depending on the country the meat comes from and the organization overseeing the rating it gets. Some of the factors that dictate the grade of the meat include its quality, appearance, and flavor.
What is the Best Way to Cook Wagyu?
There are some steps you should take when you're getting ready to cook this type of burger to make sure you get the best results each time you work with this meat. To start with, you should always bring your meat to room temperature so that the meat can cook faster and more evenly.
Also, depending on how you like to prepare your burger, you should also include salt and pepper for seasoning. Next, make sure you use a meat thermometer to check when the burger is ready to come off the grill or stove. As with any meat, you should make sure you give the burger time to rest so it can finish cooking. The other benefit to resting the meat is that it gives it time to redistribute the juices evenly which gives you a more tender experience.
How to Cook a Wagyu BurgerThe nice part about cooking this type of beef burger is that a lot of the steps are similar to what you would do with ground beef. To start, you should make sure you have all the ingredients on hand such as the bun, any vegetables you want to add to the burger, and the required seasoning such as salt and pepper.
Now that you have what you need, here are the steps to cooking the best ground burger:
While your meat is resting you should take the time to prepare your bun and get everything else in place such as the lettuce, tomatoes, as well as anything else you like to place on your hamburger. If you want a cheeseburger, simply add the cheese slices after you flip the meat but before you cover it for the 6 to 8 minutes.
Are Wagyu Beef Burgers Worth It?Making a hamburger with this type of meat is worth it because you can taste the difference in the quality of meat. While some people may say that using this type of premium meat as a hamburger is a waste when compared to a steak or roast cut, this simply isn't true. You aren't sacrificing the flavor by using this meat to make a hamburger but are instead enjoying it in a different way.
We would like to note that at this time we don't carry hamburger meat at Choice Beef. What we recommend if you purchase some of our Flat Iron steaks and grind the meat from those into a delicious ground beef for your hamburgers.
For more information about this type of beef, check out our other recent articles. We work hard to get you the latest tips and facts about this type of meat so you know how to properly buy, prepare and serve this exquisite beef.
A Wagyu beef brisket is a high-quality cut of beef that has the extra marbling from the Wagyu cow which works to counteract some of the drying out problems that are typically seen when cooking brisket. Spending the extra money on a marbled Wagyu brisket is worth it for those special occasions when you're gathering with loved ones. Just remember that a high-quality brisket isn't the same as cooking corned beef for dinner as it requires extra time and attention to get right.
To help you understand some of the ins and outs of Wagyu briskets, we've put together this complete guide so you have all of the information you need to make the most out of your brisket. In this article we'll go over what to look for in a Wagyu brisket, what the grading system means, how to properly cook a Wagyu brisket, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about this type of meat.
What Should I Look for in a Wagyu Brisket?
The term Wagyu refers to one of four types of Japanese cattle breeds that produce an above-average level of marbling of its meat. It's because of this marbling that the meat is so sought after because it creates a melt in your mouth texture that can't be matched by traditional beef brisket like corned beef.
If you're ordering a Wagyu brisket outside of Japan, you're typically getting domestic or American Wagyu meat. American Wagyu beef is the result of purebred Wagyu crossed with traditional cattle breeds. This crossbreeding creates a beef that has the higher amount of marbling with more of a common beef flavor when compared to pure Wagyu. You should also remember that if someone is trying to sell you Kobe brisket outside of Japan you should shop somewhere else as this type of beef isn't available outside of that country.
If you're looking for Wagyu brisket you should consider a cut of meat with a Beef Marbling Score (BMS) of 9 and above as this will give you a brisket that is a step up from your usual USDA Prime brisket. Continue reading to learn more about how certifications grade brisket and what it means for your dining experience.
What is the Highest Grade of Wagyu Beef?
When you're on the hunt for Wagyu brisket there are some considerations you should take before you make your purchase. One of the most important factors is the grading system used to indicate the quality of the brisket. The USDA Prime brisket has a certification grading system that examines two factors; the age of carcass when slaughtered and the intramuscular fat content. In contrast to this is Wagyu beef which is graded using the Japanese beef grading system. To grade brisket the system looks at the following three factors for its certification results:
If you're buying Wagyu brisket online, you should read the details about the Wagyu beef to make sure you know which grade you're getting. For example, the Snake River Farms brisket has a lower tier grade brisket called Black Label as well as an upper tier called Gold Label. There are other suppliers you can use online to find Wagyu beef brisket as well. Some of these include Holy Grail Steak Co., D’Artagnan, Chicago Steak Company, Wasatch Wagyu, and The Wagyu Shop. Just remember to read up on these companies before making your purchase so you know exactly what you're getting.
How Do You Cook Wagyu Brisket?
As you know if you've bought it before, the Wagyu brisket price tag isn't cheap. This means when it comes to cooking Wagyu brisket you want to make sure you know what you're doing so you don't waste one of the more expensive cuts of beef you can get this side of a Kobe brisket in Japan.
Cooking Wagyu brisket is a lot like cooking a high quality beef brisket such as a Prime brisket. If you live in America, you're going to be cooking an American Wagyu beef brisket which is one of the best cuts of meat you can get in the country. Just make sure you check with the supplier to ensure that it is actually Wagyu beef and isn't just being labelled as such as a way for them to make more money off the beef brisket.
Some tools you should have on hand include a sharp knife for trimming the Wagyu beef brisket, a beef brisket injection, a nice dry rub, and a reliable timer. Also, before you start cooking your Wagyu brisket you should trim anything over 1/4" of fat.
A couple days before you plan on cooking your brisket you should heavily salt it and store it in the fridge, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. This will help tenderize and season the brisket.
The cooking temperature for American Wagyu briskets should be around 325 F to ensure a low, even cooking. Once the brisket is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for around 15 minutes so the juices have a chance to redistribute and the brisket can finish cooking.
Brisket Cooking Method
One thing to keep in mind when cooking American Wagyu beef brisket is that it takes longer to cook than a traditional beef brisket. So if you're used to cooking a brisket that weighs 12 lbs for a certain amount of time, you'll need to extend that cooking time to account for the extra marbled Wagyu brisket meat. This extra cooking time allows for the fat to render properly with some professionals reporting a finished internal temperature as high as 213 F.
If you're planning out a special dinner party or event, you need to allow for this extra time so the Wagyu beef brisket isn't under-cooked and ruined as a result. A toothpick or temperature probe is going to be the best way for you to know if the beef brisket is finished cooking and ready to be served.
Why is My Brisket Still Tough?
Have you ever spent a lot of time and energy on a brisket only to discover its still tough when you went to serve the meal? The main reason that a brisket is still tough after you've taken it out of the oven is because it needed more time to cook and tenderize. The cooking time helps the brisket break down the connective tissue, resulting in a more tender brisket.
To avoid this problem in the future, you should take your time when cooking the brisket and make sure its cooked all the way through before removing it from the oven. The same rule applied if you have the brisket on a smoker or barbecue. You should also invest in a good thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the brisket is where it needs to be before you remove it to rest.
At What Events Should I Serve Wagyu Brisket?
As you'll know if you've done your research, Wagyu brisket is an expensive investment that might be best served at special events with intimate gatherings. We wouldn't recommend you serve this type of brisket at a large event like a wedding as the cost would be astronomical. However, for smaller formal dinners and events it can make for a show stopping meal.
Some events you could serve a Wagyu brisket at includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, birthdays, anniversaries, and formal dinner parties. Just make sure you plan ahead so you have time to properly cook the brisket along with everything else you're planning on serving for dinner.
There really is nothing like the flavor of a well-prepared Wagyu beef brisket. The advanced marbling creates a melt in your mouth experience that can't be matched by any other brisket on the market. You just have to make sure you're following the proper cooking instructions to ensure you don't under or over-cook the brisket. If you take your time and follow the steps above, you'll end up with a delicious brisket that will be the talk of the dinner table.
You should also remember that when you're looking for Wagyu meat you need to be aware of the difference between the more commonly found American version versus the full-blood alternative. At Choice Beef, the Wagyu on our farm are 100% pure-blooded (AWA certified). Unlike American versions, which are a result of crossbreeding with Angus cattle, our pure-blood Wagyu cattle produces a higher quality meat that is melt in your mouth tender.