All Kobe beef is classified as Wagyu, but not all Wagyu beef is Kobe beef. To understand the difference, you need to first understand first what Wagyu beef is.
He word “Wagyu” literally translates to “Japanese cow” in English. So, Wagyu refers to certain breeds of cattle that are bred in Japan or in other countries using Japanese style methods. These cattle are pampered, given plenty of room to move about, and are fed a particular diet. The result is exceptionally tender cuts of beef with extra marbling. The fat of Wagyu beef has a lower melting point than other types of beef, giving Wagyu beef a rich, buttery flavor.
Breeds of Wagyu Beef
The following are the only true breeds that make up Wagyu beef:
- Japanese Black – This beef is prized for its intensive marbling
- Japanese Brown – A leaner, healthier breed, known for its light, mild taste.
- Japanese Shorthorn – This breed is rich in inosinic and glutamic acid that give beef a very savory flavor
- Japanese Polled – Similar to Brown and Shorthorn, these cattle are known for a gamier texture and a rich, meaty taste.
Kobe beef is comprised of a very particular strain of Japanese Black Cattle called Tajima-Gyu, that is raised to strict standards in the prefecture of Hyogo, whose capital city is Kobe, hence the name. Genuine Kobe beef can ONLY come from Hyogo. In addition, Kobe beef has to meet certain standards:
- It has to come from a virgin cow or steer born and raised in Hyogo.
- The beef must be processed in Hyogo.
- The beef has to have a marbling rate of 6 or higher on a 12 point scale.
- The meat quality rating has to be 4 or higher on a 5 point scale.
- The cow or steer has to have an overall weight of less than 470 kg (1040 pounds).
Because of these standards, there are only about 200-300 farms that can raise Kobe beef, compared to thousands around the world that produce Wagyu beef, and they only produce between 3,00 and 4,000 head of cattle per year.
So then, all Kobe beef is Wagyu beef, but not all Wagyu beef is Kobe. Kobe can only come from a certain region of Japan, and only from a certain breed of cattle. Wagyu beef is produced in farms in other countries and comes from 4 particular breeds of cattle.
Where to Find Wagyu Beef
Triple T Ranch is a small family owned Wagyu beef producer located in southern Alabama. All of our cattle are registered through the American Wagyu Association, ensuring their authenticity and quality. We raise our cattle without added hormones, antibiotics, or animal by products so as to provide our customers with the juiciest, most tender cuts of meat. Our cattle are well cared for, and we use only proven husbandry practices to ensure the health and prosperity of our herd. If you’d like more information about our Wagyu beef, contact us through our website or give us a call at 251-333-2800.