Unraveling the Secret of Wagyu: A Wagyu Translation

As the world falls in love with the exquisite taste of wagyu beef, understanding what wagyu truly means is just as fascinating.

Decoding the Wagyu Beef

Wagyu beef is praised globally due to its high fat percentage, leading to the signature marbling in the meat. Wagyu, a collective name for four strains of Japanese cattle, literally translates to 'Japanese cow'.

Known for their physical endurance, these animals were initially used as draft animals. This led to greater intermuscular fat cells, leading to that picturesque marbling we associate with wagyu stakes. The mono unsaturated fat within the intramuscular fat of Wagyu cattle is a major reason behind their distinct taste.

Native Japanese Cattle and Wagyu Origins

The four different strains - Japanese black (kuroge washu), Japanese brown (japanese brown), Japanese shorthorn (nihon tankaku washu), Japanese polled (japanese polled), and their hybrids are what are usually considered wagyu. They all have distinct and desirable characteristics. Most Wagyu beef you find on the market is typically sourced from Japanese black, a breed known for its predisposition for marbling.

Before the Meiji Restoration, meat consumption in Japan was quite lower. The Japanese government encouraged cattle farming and meat production in early twentieth century seeing meat consumption increase. The imported stock from various European breeds and cross-breeding with native Japanese cattle led to several Japanese breeds.

The Allure of Wagyu Beef

The selection favored animals with more intra muscular fat cells in the early twentieth century, a feature genetically predisposed in Wagyu. The higher fat percentage, especially the increased mono-unsaturated fat content, gave rise to a tender, fine-grained meat. Consumers lauded the fattier cattle for their tenderness and their rich, buttery flavor. This is what sets Wagyu apart from other breeds.

Wagyu Beef and the International Market

From the Japanese archipelago, Wagyu cattle made its way to other countries including America. The American Wagyu Association remains committed to promoting the Wagyu breed. Despite the increase in Wagyu cattle and beef production in the country, the American Wagyu still falls a bit behind in terms of meat quality when compared with their Japanese counterparts.

There is an indefinable delight that comes with every bite of Wagyu beef. When you order Wagyu beef at restaurants, remember the centuries of breeding and care that went into producing the tender, juicy steak on your plate.

Wagyu beef's history and ancestry make the journey from the farms of Japan to your plate a journey of culinary wonder. It is truly more than just an extraordinary delicacy, it is a testament to the commitment to quality and traditional breeding practices that have made Wagyu the revered breed it is today.

The Wagyu Grading System

The Japanese government has put into place a meticulous grading system for Wagyu beef. It takes into account various factors including the infamous marbling score, color of the meat, brightness of the fat, texture, and firmness. The marbling of the meat is rated on a scale from 1 to 12, with 12 being the highest and rarest grade.

All Wagyu cattle that have received a rating above seven can be classified as A-grade meat - a quality trait that is relatively harder to find in other breeds of cows. This meat will provide a higher fat percentage than any traditional beef and can be identified via its signature appearance of having more fat than flesh.

Interestingly enough, the Japanese breeds of Wagyu have a higher saturated fat ratio and thus have a lower melting point than meat from other breeds. This trait contributes to the enhanced, buttery mouthfeel, and the unparalleled taste of Wagyu beef.

Wagyu Breeding and Raising Practices

So, what goes into creating this marvelously marbled meat that the world can't get enough of? Well, that credit goes to the painstaking breeding practices that are unique to each strain of the Wagyu cattle.

Wagyu breed is made up of a rare selection of breeds. The hereditary traits of these breeds combined with specific rearing techniques contribute to the distinctive flavor of Wagyu beef. Japanese farmers indulge these cattle in a stress-free environment, providing them with premium feed for the production of superior quality meat.

In Japan, it is common practice for farmers to raise their herd indoors, ensuring their prized cattle are shielded from harsh weather conditions. This controlled environment helps in maintaining the meat quality. They are also often hand-massaged to alleviate muscle tension, which leads to even meat and fat distribution.

Wagyu Beyond Borders

Despite the Japanese government declaring Wagyu as a national treasure and restricting the export of Japanese cows, Wagyu cattle have found their way to other countries, breed apart from Japan like Australia and the United States.

Imported Japanese Wagyu were cross-bred on these foreign soils which resulted in a range of different Wagyu types overseas. Australia, for instance, has the largest Wagyu herd outside Japan where they focus both on full-blooded and crossbred Wagyu cattle.

The imported stock is no less in quality and adds an interesting variety to the Wagyu beef found and produced worldwide. Whether it's the American Wagyu coming from the cross-breeding with Angus cows or the pure Australian Wagyu, each one translates the unique characteristics of the original Japanese Wagyu by maintaining the superior marbling features and tender, juicy flavors of its meat.

I hope by now you have a deeper understanding of the story and passion behind every slice of Wagyu beef you savor.

The Wagyu Distinction

There's a clear distinction when comparing Wagyu beef to beef from other cattle breeds. While the higher fat percentage and marbling of Wagyu undoubtedly contribute to its savory and palatable taste, the conscientious rearing, feeding, and breeding practices also play a significant role in establishing its delectable flavor profiles and tender textures.

You may be surprised to find out that in Japan, the term Wagyu is not only used to classify a particular grade or kind of beef but can be a more comprehensive term used to include various breeds of Japanese cattle. It's the culmination of centuries of selective breeding to achieve a certain standard of beef that is known today as Wagyu.

Understanding this Wagyu translation and history gives us a deep appreciation for the level of effort, care, and dedication that’s put into every piece of Wagyu steak we eat at restaurants, or even in our homes.

Cherishing our Wagyu Moments

As we savor our bite of Wagyu beef, armed with the knowledge of its rich history and the meticulous care that goes into its production, dining transforms from a mere gustatory activity to a moment of profound appreciation. Appreciation for the Japanese tradition that made this culinary marvel possible, and for the experience of indulging in one of the world's finest beef.

So whether you are spending a delightful evening at a high-end restaurant, cooking a Wagyu steak at home, or merely reading about this unique breed of cattle, we hope that you enjoyed this cultural and culinary Wagyu translation. Taking the journey to discover the world behind your dinner plate has hopefully led you to appreciate that Wagyu is more than just a cut of beef, but is also a testament to cultural heritage, careful breeding practices, and the unwavering pursuit of exceptional quality.

Now that you've glimpsed into the world of Wagyu, each bite you take brings not only a delectable flavor but also a sense of respect for the rich history that makes your Wagyu meal possible. Be it Kobe beef or a steak from a native Wagyu breed, we hope you realize that you're not merely consuming an ordinary slice of red meat, but you're savoring a piece of history, and indeed, a work of art.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Top Products