A Guide to Japanese Beef

by Courtney Thompson

When people think of high-quality beef, Wagyu beef usually comes to mind. But what is Wagyu beef and why is it so well-regarded all across the world? Well, the quality of Japanese beef lies in the meticulous breeding and farming process. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into producing some of the finest cuts of beef in the world and Japan has mastered this practice. This guide to Japanese beef will explain how Japan creates such tender and delicious beef, as well as the differences between the main types of Japanese beef.

Japanese Wagyu Beef

What is Wagyu Beef?

Wagyu simply means “Japanese cow,” so the term Wagyu beef actually refers to any beef that comes from one of four different breeds of purebred Japanese cattle. There are a few specific types of Wagyu beef that come from different regions in Japan and have varied qualities. Two of the most popular types of Wagyu beef are Kobe beef and Matsusaka beef. Many people have heard of Kobe beef, but what is Kobe beef and what makes it so special? Well, creating good beef starts in the pasture, and the way that the cows are raised is integral in the end result of the beef.

How Wagyu Cattle are Raised

In order to create the best beef, Wagyu cattle are genetically tested and bred to ensure that only the best cattle are used. Japanese farmers raise these specially selected cows in pastures, where they receive fresh air and have a varied diet of different grasses and hay. Once the cattle have matured, they are transferred to a feedlot, which focuses on fattening them up. Throughout the process of raising Wagyu cattle, there is a special emphasis on properly caring for the animals and keeping their environment stress-free. Raising the cattle in this way is what results in the tender, juicy Wagyu beef people love. There are also stories about Japanese farmers massaging their cows to distribute the fat more evenly and even feeding them beer, but these steps are not always part of the Wagyu farming process.

What is "A5 Wagyu beef?"

You may have heard the term “A5 Wagyu beef” before, but what exactly does that mean? The quality of beef is determined by its yield grade (A-C) and its quality grade (1-5). The yield grade tells you how much high-quality meat the individual cow has and the quality grade tells you what the quality of the meat is, including factors like marbling, texture, color, and other criteria. As you may have guessed, A and 5 are the highest grades in each category, meaning that A5 Wagyu beef is of the highest possible quality.

Kobe Beef Curry

Trying Wagyu Beef at Home

Wagyu beef is a delicacy that many people hope to try, and thanks to Bokksu, this is possible even for those on a budget! The Hyogo Prefecture is known for its famous Kobe beef, and believe it or not, you can buy Kobe Beef Curry on Bokksu! Kobe beef is known for its beautiful marbling and it pairs perfectly with this rich curry sauce. For only $10 (or even less, if you’re a Bokksu member), this is a great way to try Kobe beef without breaking the bank!

The Miyazaki Prefecture is also renowned for its Wagyu beef, and this Miyazaki Beef Curry is another fantastic option to try! Served in a delicious curry sauce, this dish is perfect over rice and can be ready in as little as 2 minutes! Matsusaka Beef Curry is another great Wagyu option. With a tender melt-in-your-mouth texture, you’ll see why the city is famous for its beef. Yufuin City is also known for its love of beef and this Oita Yufuin Beef Curry certainly proves why! This tender beef paired with curry makes for a mouth-watering meal—you might want to buy more than one packet!

Other great Wagyu options to try include this Saga Kuroge Wagyu Beef Curry, which is perfectly marbled and exactly what you associate with Wagyu beef, and this Okinawa Ishigaki Wagyu Beef Curry, which is considered the most tender form of Wagyu and is truly something to be savored! If you’re looking for something decadent but on the healthier side, try this Hayamagyu Curry, which features Hayamagyu thigh meat to give you all of the juicy beef flavor with less of the fat, or this Yokosuka Navy Curry: 100 Calories, which is a delicious and savory meal with less calories.

Nothing compares to a tender, flavorful cut of Wagyu beef, so if you’re a food lover, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss!

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