Kobe beef is known as the best beef in the world. In Japan things are different. Asking locals about the best beef in Japan, they may probably answer: Matsusaka Beef (wagyu) –
Matsusaka beef (wagyu) is the meat of Japanese Black wagyu reared under strict conditions in the Matsusaka city and the Matsusaka are of Mie prefecture in Japan. Moreover, Matsusaka beef (wagyu) only refers to the nulliparous cows. It’s because their meat is the softest and most marbled one.
The 7-8 months old cows of excellent pedigree are gathered from across the country and their feed begins. Their feed includes beer, massage with Shochu (Japanese sake). Although a normal wagyu is fed during 2 years, Matsusaka beef’s feed can take up to 3 years.
The "meat piece of art" is born because of this type of feeding in the environment, blessed with top-quality natural resources. In order to protect the quality, there is an individual care system for each cow.
On Jan. 22, 2015, a Japanese delegation from Mie Prefecture (of which Matsusaka is a main city) introduced their superlative brand of beef to the United States for the very first time
At current production standards it seems the genuine product will be difficult to come by to the United States; just 10,000 cows are certified Matsusaka beef each year, and the Special Grade beef is just the top 3.5 percent of those 10,000.
Why Japanese Wagyu is highly marbling and qualified compared to American Wagyu and Australian Wagyu?
Individuals have different theories, but most importantly, Japanese farmers devote themselves to raising their cattle and adore them.
They even call their cattle with names. The farmers do not randomly pick up the names of calves. The calves are named after their father, mother cattle or the cattle sheds. There even is a rule for naming. The bulls should be given the names with Chinese characters, and the cows should be given the name without Chinese characters.
The calves are called by their own names and enjoy the four seasons in Japan, and eventually turned to be the world famous “WAGYU”.
Now, not only Japanese and people in the food industry but also many American people know what “WAGYU” means. “WAGYU” refers to all Japanese beef cattle, where 'Wa' means Japanese and 'gyu' means cow. Although the word “WAGYU” is common now, many people are not aware of the difference among kinds of beef including Japanese Wagyu, American Wagyu and Australian Wagyu.
Each Wagyu has their own characteristics though the “Japanese Wagyu” that K&K International has directly imported from Japan especially celebrates for its melt-in-your-mouth texture, heavy marbling and rich, buttery flavor.
The other day, we, K&K International, hosted the American Wagyu BBQ party.
The increase in popularity of tender and well marbled beef in the United States has led to the creation of American Wagyu. There are many farms in the US now that either raise 100% fullblood Wagyu beef or hybrid crossbreed between Japanese Wagyu cattle and European cattles such as Angus or Holstein.
Compared to the tenderness of the Japanese Wagyu, the American Wagyu has more meaty texture and bolder flavor. BBQ is the best way to cook the American Wagyu to bring up all the flavor and chewy texture.
The combinations of such deliver soft, tender and buttery flavor of the Japanese Wagyu can not be unparalleled, however, the American Wagyu is also delicious and popular in the United States. When you chew, the flavorful juice comes out from the meat! Yummy!
I would say Matsusaka Ushi (Wagyu) is more sophisticated Wagyu than any other Wagyu.
Matsusaka Ushi came from Heifers, virgin cows,that were fattened for at least 900 days, were fed beer to stimulate their appetites, massaged and groomed regularly
・Can we eat Matsusaka Ushi (wagyu ) here in the U.S.?
At current production standards it seems the genuine product will be difficult to come by; just 10,000 cows are certified Matsusaka Ushi (Wagyu) each year, and the Special Grade beef we tasted is just the top 3.5 percent of those 10,000. If you want to be absolutely assured that what you’re eating is authentic, just ask the restaurant to see the certificate of authenticity. All Matsusaka Ushi (Wagyu) is traceable, thanks to an intricate identification and tracking system, so if the restaurant has truly procured the pricey beef, they should be able to produce the certificate. It never hurts to be certain you get what you paid for, because when it comes to Matsusaka Ushi (Wagyu), there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.
I am certain that many of you do not concern about the gender or age of your Wagyu order at any fancy restaurants! Most of Wagyu is either “COW” or “Steers” but Matsusaka Beef (Wagyu). Matsusaka Beef (Wagyu) is only Heifers.
・By the way, do you know how to determine the cattle?
Here are a bit of terminologies and the features of cattle.
- Bulls -
Terminology: Mature male bovine that is at least 2 years old used for breeding purposes
Feature: Larger than other cattle. They have large, muscular shoulders, necks and hindquarters.
- Steers -
Terminology: Castrated male bovine
Feature: Not as muscular as a bull. It’s shoulders won’t be as large or muscular.
- Cows -
Terminology: Mature female bovine that has had at least one calf
Feature: Have larger hips and thicker middles.
- Heifers -
Terminology: Young female cattle that have not yet borne calves.
Feature: Similar in appearance to cows, but lack the mature characteristics of cows such as prominent hips and thick middles
- Calves -
Terminology: Both baby male and female cattle
Feature: A year or two old.
・Why are Cows or Steers selected?
Cows have more fatty and fine-textured meat fiber and marbling. Compared to cows, Bulls are more muscular and firmer just like human-being…
Another obvious reason that cows are picked up is that cows have more unsaturated fatty acid, and the melting point is as low as 37 degree so it will instantly give you the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.
・Still Bulls could be eaten?
Bulls are not ideal for eating so that cattle farmers castrate male bovine.
・Is the Cow better than the Steer?
The taste is nearly the same. In fact, in terms of benefits to cattle farmers, Steers are better than Cows as farmers could cut more meat from Steers as they are bigger than Cows.
・Dairy Cattle could be Beef Cattle?
Dairy cattle, generally of the species Bos taurus, are domesticated animals bred to produce large quantities of milk so that they are not suitable for eating, however, some old dairy cattle are often slaughtered as they would no longer produce milk.
Introducong a Sukiyaki restaurant in Yonezawa
Yonezawa Beef Dining Bekoya is a restaurant that specializes in Yonezawa wagyu and is located in a reconstructed old Japanese-style house in front of Yonezawa Station. The menu features steak, sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, and char-grilled beef that you cook yourself. Each space is different depending on the style of food, so you can tell the staff which style you’d like on arrival.
- Yonezawa Beef Dining Bekoya -
Address : 3-2-34 Higashi, Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata-ken
Telephone : 0238-24-2788
Hours of operation :
Lunch – 11:15 am to 2:30 pm (open to 2:00 pm on weekends and holidays)
Dinner – 5:00 to 9:30 pm
There are several ways to cook Yonezawa wagyu, however, steak is particularly popular. It is grilled right before your eyes in teppan-yaki style, so you can watch the chef’s refined techniques while enjoying delicious Yonezawa wagyu.
What is Teppanyaki?
Teppanyaki is actually a melding of two words that describes the technique or style of preparing Japanese cuisine. The word “teppan” means “iron griddle” and the Japanese word “yaki” translates to broiled, pan-fried, or grilled. Teppanyaki refers to Japanese dishes that are typically prepared using a large, flat iron griddle that typically is heated by propane gas. The chef will have all utensils and ingredients lined on the borders of the grill and will cook several dishes in front of diners with stunning flair and speed.