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Consumers of Wagyu Beef Get Some Schooling on Wagyu

January 20, 2010

As Wagyu producers it’s a part of our daily ritual to scan the internet for news and mentions of Wagyu beef. To be sure, food writers have been scribbling for years now about Wagyu beef and how American consumers fancy the fine marbling and heftier tab. But we’ve noticed that, lately, consumers are getting a deeper dive into the Wagyu industry than ever before.

Articles like this one are becoming more common, though we like this one for its particularly informative content:

New York strip steak (left) next to a four-ounce cut of Miyazaki beef

From Oakland North comes “Pampered, Massaged and $90 On Your Plate: The True Story of Kobe Beef” which is well worth a read in its entirety.

Some strong points covered are:

• the differences between Kobe beef, Miyazaki beef, and ‘American-Kobe’ beef: “The purest, “true” Kobe beef comes only from the Hyogo prefecture, the Japanese region where the city of Kobe is located. Miyazaki beef comes from the same breed and is produced in the same way, but comes from the Miyazaki prefecture of Japan….American-Kobe, on the other hand, is a cross between Wagyu cattle and Black Angus cattle.”

• why there is such confusion on the matter: “Ozumo [Restaurant] in Oakland serves Miyazaki beef. But on the menu, the beef is listed as “Kobe.” Matsuzaki, Ozumo’s executive chef said, that both Miyazaki and Kobe beef can be called Kobe beef since the style of cattle rearing and beef production started in Kobe and was then adopted in the Miyazaki region.”

• and why, it seems, so many restaurants are jumping on the ‘American-Kobe’ bandwagon: “In the end, American-Kobe beef is still marbled, but not to the degree of authentic Kobe and Miyazaki beef. The result is a steak with a lower fat content, but a less artistic look. That’s close enough for many Japanese restaurant patrons.”

Like we said, the full article is definitely worth a closer read. And because articles like these are so often lauding the high quality (with some exceptions), it’s a feel-good reading regiment. Like in this other piece from a London food blogger that called Kobe beef, the “king of steaks”:

“One particular type of breed that continues to elude my voracious appetitie are what I believe to be the true King of steaks : Kobe beef. Bred in Kobe, Japan, this was the original location of the vaunted Wagyu cattle, before breeding began in elsewhere in America and Australia.”

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